(CN) - Delta's frequent flyer program clearly limits mileage credits to "the distance from origin to final destination," a federal judge ruled, tossing claims that the airline should account for the actual route.
Wynette Kwok, a member of Delta's frequent flyer program Delta SkyMiles, filed the class action in Atlanta, where Delta is based, claiming that she is entitled to the difference between the miles actually flown and the miles Delta awarded her.
Kwok flew from Los Angeles to New York on March 2 of last year, and the distance flown was 2,651 miles, but Delta awarded her 2,475 frequent flyer miles.
Delta again awarded Kwok 2,475 credits when she caught another LA-to-New York flight a week later that totaled 2,802 miles.
In its motion to dismiss, Delta pointed to the rules for its SkyMiles program, which state: "On nonstop and direct flights, mileage credited will be calculated based upon the distance from origin to final destination, regardless of the number of stops.
"On connecting flights that require a change of plane and flight number, mileage credited will be calculated based upon the distance from origin to destination for each segment of the trip. However, use of connecting itineraries in lieu of nonstop and/or direct flights for the accumulation of additional mileage is not permitted."
U.S. District Judge Thomas Thrash Jr. sided with Delta on Friday, finding it was Kwok who had misinterpreted the SkyMiles rules.
"The plaintiff's reading would result in additional miles awarded for many unplanned contingencies," Thrash wrote. "For example, when a plane reaches its destination, it must often circle in a holding pattern. According to the plaintiff, SkyMiles members should receive a windfall of award miles for this maneuver. The same would be true if the plane had to divert around inclement weather or fly around the airport to approach a particular runway...By contrast, the defendant's reading is reasonable. It results in the award of a fixed, predictable number of miles for any given trip.Follow @@cam_langford
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.