Last updated: 12:56 PM ET, Thu May 07 2015

United Airlines Attempts to Have In-Flight Wi-Fi Class Action Suit Dismissed

Airlines & Airports | United Airlines | Patrick Clarke | May 07, 2015

United Airlines Attempts to Have In-Flight Wi-Fi Class Action Suit Dismissed

United Airlines Inc. filed a motion late last week in an effort to have a recent class action lawsuit brought against the major U.S. airline earlier this year dismissed.

According to Karina Basso of, United claims the suit — which alleges the company tricks travelers into "buying in-flight DirecTV and Wi-Fi services that are inoperable during international flights" — is based on a false premise.

United defended itself by pointing out that it makes it clear to passengers that the services are only available within the continental U.S., according to the motion filed on May 1.

"Those [Wi-Fi service] offers, which control over Plaintiff’s inconsistent allegations, demonstrate that Plaintiff’s claims are fatally deficient and must be dismissed. Specifically, United tells its on-board passengers before they confirm their purchase that 'Live DIRECTV programming is not available while the aircraft is outside of the continental United States' and that 'Wi-Fi service is available over the continental U.S.' Plaintiff cannot avoid dismissal of her claims by failing to attach or quote in full these dispositive documents," states the motion, which was filed in New Jersey federal court. 

United also believes its protected by the Airline Deregulation Act, legislation that bans state law claims over a particular airline's rates, routes, and other services.

The class action suit was originally brought against United back in March when Plaintiff Cary M. David said she paid for a DirecTV service during a flight from Puerto Rico to New Jersey only to have access for roughly 10 minutes. 

The suit alleges the following, per Basso

"United sells these services to passengers on the flights and fails to disclose that the services will not work as advertised when the aircraft is outside the continental United States or is over water. It is not until they have crossed U.S. borders or are over water, with no service, that customers learn that their DirecTV and/or Wi-Fi service will not work for all or part of the flight."

David alleges the company attempts to purposefully deceive international fliers and is looking for an injunction that would prevent United from engaging in the alleged wrongdoing on top of compensatory and treble damages.

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