Thursday, March 25, 2004

Another thought on the Scalia plane tickets ruckus

After posting this yesterday I realized that there is even less to the story than we are making it out to be. The NYT article says that

Justice Scalia did not say how much he paid for his round-trip ticket, but it seems fair to assume that he bought what is known as a "throw-away ticket" — something the airlines expressly prohibit. US Airways, for example, does not allow the "use of round-trip excursion fares for one-way travel," and reserves the right to refuse to board those who try to use them and to charge them the difference between the round-trip and one-way fare.

But why should we take their word for it? My non-lawyer reading a bunch of policies for discounted fares for round-trip tickets from New Orleans to Washington DC has not turned up any tickets that would "expressly prohibit" using just one leg of the ticket. Why, I must ask, is it then "fair to assume that he bought a 'throw away ticket' - something that airlines expressly prohibit" Even if the NYT contributors found one such ticket, unless the practice was incredibly widespread why should we assume the worst of a Supreme Court Judge and the best of two NYT contributors? In their own words, it would be absolutely not fair to assume that.

Having denubked the contention that Scalia may have acted immorally, if not illegaly - a contention also supported at one point by Juan Non-Volokh here

an individual is morally bound to live up to the terms of such a contract into which they enter voluntarily.

we can only come to one conclusion: in NYT's eyes Scalia is immoral merely for not buying the most expensive ticket he could and trying to save some money for his family.

ps. I am amazed how misleading this op-ed contribution was, even by NYT standards.

pps. I have traveled a good deal on the cheapest flights available, and I have never run into this policy. I am not claiming it does not exist, I am claiming that the presupposition of its existence is unfair and misleading.


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