Passenger Sues Airline For Serving Him Sparkling Wine Instead Of Champagne

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Sure, you may have a preference when it comes to ordering fancy drinks on a flight, but would you be ticked off enough to sue over bubbly that is not actually Champagne?

A man who flew on a Sunwing Airline flight from Quebec to Cuba last year says he was expecting an advertised complimentary “champagne service” as part of his travel package, but that instead of receiving a glass of bubbles from France’s Champagne region, he was served another kind of cheaper sparkling wine, reports The National Post.

He’s now filed a lawsuit seeking class-action certification demanding compensation for the difference in cost of the beverage as well as punitive damages.

This incident — which only happened on one leg of his flight — apparently popped his cork not because he’s snobby, but because he claims Sunwing’s advertising was misleading.

“You have to go beyond the pettiness of the (wine cost) per head,” the man’s lawyer told the National Post. “What’s important is you’re trying to lure consumers by marketing something, and you’re not giving them that something … It’s a dishonest practice.”

A search for Sunwing’s Champagne service does bring up a result for “Champagne Service – Sunwing,” but the landing page only notes “a complimentary glass of sparkling wine” (as long as the flight isn’t within Canada or to the U.S.).

The passenger’s lawyer told the National Post that the airline was still including “champagne” on billboards and in ads at airports until recently.

In a statement to Consumerist, Sungwing says that it used the words “champagne service” and “champagne vacations” as a way to “denote a level of service in reference to the entire hospitality package from the flight through to the destination experience,” and not as a reference to specific beverages it serves.

“Anywhere that we’ve detailed our inflight services, we have accurately described these as including ‘a complimentary welcome glass of sparkling wine’ across relevant marketing materials and even announce them on the aircraft,” Sunwing says, adding that it considers any legal action relating to the marketing of this service to be “frivolous and without merit.”

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