It’s not often you hear of someone who is not a lawyer representing themselves in a federal court. It’s even less often that you hear of someone who has done so more than a dozen times. And won.

Gabor Lukacs has been taking airlines to court and filing regulatory complaints with the Canadian Transportation Agency for the last nine years. He’s filed twenty-six successful regulatory complains and has more or less paved the way for many other airline passengers to do the same.

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Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Air Passenger Rights (Canada) Facebook Group

Episode Transcript: Interview with Gabor Lukacs

This is episode #4 of the Govern Yourself Accordingly podcast, the podcast for engaged citizens and public leaders who want to shape the future through politics with their integrity intact.

[Airport Sounds in background]

[Sandra reading messages from Air Passenger Rights Facebook group, voices are overlapping]

My Grandparents are travelling from Hamilton to Halifax (WestJet) this holiday season, they booked their flights back in the summer. They have just received emails stating that their Itineraries have been changed and their return flights are being pushed back by a full day. This now means that they have to extend their hotel stay by an additional night. Is WestJet in any way responsible for this additional cost?
Hi Gabor My sister in law was booked to fly Air Canada from Casablanca to Montreal to Halifax …  Air Canada cancelled the flight from Casablanca to Montreal and after a big fight booked her on Royal Air Maroc Casablanca to Montreal … is Air Canada responsible for her hotel in Montreal under the Montreal Convention…?
Hi Gabor, you helped me a few weeks back with a follow up of a lost bag claim; well, after a 2 long months wait since the bag was lost, Air Canada finally sent a cheque for only 500 CAD as opposed to …  Should I take it to court?’
Thank you, Gabor for your assistance in helping us get our compensation of 600 EURO each (see 2 cheques below) from Air Canada for the long delay of our flight from Venice to Montreal in July 2017. It’s amazing how many people are benefiting from your advice and the valuable information that you provide. Thanks again.
… I just want to send another very personal thank you to Gabor Lukac for all that he has done for us–I would not have been so savvy about these things if it were not for him. And I am paying it forward by helping other people on my flight access these rights. Thanks, Gabor!’

[The sound of an airplane taking off is heard as the theme music begins]

Mark Coffin: It’s not often you hear of someone who is not a lawyer representing themselves in a federal court, and it’s even less often to hear of someone who has done so more than a dozen times.

Gabor Lukacs, or Gabi, has been taking airlines to court, and filing regulatory complaints with the Canadian Transportation Agency for the last nine years. He’s filed twenty-six successful complaints.

But he’s taking on fewer and fewer cases himself these days, and has made it a priority to help other people understand their own rights as airline passengers.

The voices you heard in the introduction to today’s show were some of the people who Gabor has helped over at the Facebook group he runs for Air Passenger Rights Canada…

He does all of his work for his own cases, and for the passengers he supports, as a volunteer, although he has been hired by law firms as a consultant with a one-of-a-kind expertise for the law and regulations surrounding passenger rights in Canada.

Gabor Lukacs: the way I define myself is that I’m a mathematician by training and by profession, and I’m also an air passenger rights advocate – as a volunteer and activist.

Mark Coffin: Tell me how you got into this work. What was your first case like?

Gabor Lukacs: It didn’t happen overnight, it was a gradual process. I travel a lot. I have family in Hungary. As an academic, as a mathematician, I also travel quite a bit to conferences. So I was exposed to a lot of problems, and I like to know how things work. When I goo my dentist I would like to know what he’s doing and why. When I fly I also want to understand what are the rules and what are the regulations – what is the whole system that in which I am now participating? So I began to read up on this. One of the first incidents was actually right here in Halifax, when I was supposed to be leaving to a conference but the flight couldn’t take-off. In fact with the air plane couldn’t land because they were renovating the airport and they had to shut down the ILS – the instrumental landing system.

They knew that this would be happening months and months in advance, and the airlines still sold the ticket. I was late to my conference by more than 26 hours. I was very pissed about it, and I took them to small claims court based on the Montreal Convention. To my good luck, the airline didn’t show up in court so I got a default judgement. This gave me a big push to pursue this direction of learning more about my rights.

The next milestone, so to speak, was in Winnipeg. I was faculty at the University of Manitoba and I was to fly out to a one day workshop. United Airlines canceled the flight due to mechanical reasons, yet claim that it was due to weather and refused to rebook me on another flight with another airline, which was departing a bit earlier, just two counters away. I missed the whole conference on account of that, and I was rather angry. So I took them to court.

Mark Coffin: There were probably some implications for your career at this point, since these are places you need to be for work.

Gabor Lukacs: It was very unpleasant. If you go to a conference, especially the beginning of the conference, you have a lot of opportunity to socialize with people to make new connections. That was cut out. In the second case I was completely cut off from a topic that I wanted to learn more about.

Then I realized that you cannot just play Whack-a-mole with the airlines, you need to have something more systemic. And, I had in my old folder, somewhere saved, a newspaper article about a body called the Canadian Transportation Agency, that issued a ruling on a particular issue, and I thought that may be the solution.

So I picked the topic, which I knew was a common problem – liability for baggage. And, Air Canada in those days used to have big signs telling the public that they were not liable for anything, if your bag is scratched, or nicked, or dinged, or anything – they’re not liable for it, which is completely incorrect. The law is clear that they are liable for damage to your baggage.

And I challenged that successfully and in 2009 one nice day in May, the decision came out that the Canadian Transportation Agency agreed with my position on all points. Air Canada had to take down those signs and they had to rewrite their policies.

Mark Coffin: You filed some-26 successful regulatory complaints since and I’m sure there are irons in the fire, you already mentioned there are other cases that are active for you.  At what point – when did you decide to make it a more-than-once-a-while thing?

Gabor Lukacs: It happened gradually again. I saw more and more problems as I learned more and more about how the airlines are treating passengers.

People began to write to me, telling me ‘hey, I have this problem, can you help me.’ First, it happened very rarely. Then it happened more frequently. The more I saw, the more horrified I was at how Canadian passengers were being treated.

So, perhaps the next major milestone was in 2012, 2013, when I officially registered the domain ANd I began to establish an archive for cases where people can see how to write a legal document, [what] such arguments look like, what such proceedings look like.

Mark Coffin: Filing a complaint with the Canadian Transportation Agency is one thing, but you’ve also gone to court. That isn’t something I would feel confident doing. You’re not a lawyer, but you’ve been representing yourself, and the people you’re advocating for. I’m curious about the details of what’s involved in that, but was there a part of you that wondered ‘am I able to do this?’ Was there any self doubt along that path?

Gabor Lukacs: It is always a scary process. The Supreme Court of Canada, two weeks from today, will be a first for me. For the Federal Court of Appeal, I have been several times, and I was scared. I was scared even the first time, [wondering] whether I am able to present the materials in a way that will be admitted for filing. There are some formal requirements: you need to have it bound, and have to have things in a particular order, and you have to have an affidavit and all the documents, so it is work, and it is a challenge.

But there are two aspects to it. One is that in order to let evil prevail, it’s enough if people who are good are also inactive. If everybody who cares says, ‘well, it’s too difficult for me, it’s too complicated. Let somebody else do it,” nothing is going to change. Many years ago, I was a master’s student in Israel. I lived in a student dormitory with six people living in an apartment. When I first moved there, I was told the arrangement was that we all have to take turns to clean the apartment. Every week, somebody else takes a turn. Therefore the apartment was always clean. This is something similar.

If we live in a society, we live our lives in a way that we take turns, not in terms of time but in terms of different tasks. One person may be an expert on food issues, the other person may be an expert on car safety issues. If people are more willing to put their personal time and energy into causes that they – for whatever personal reason – they have developed an expertise in, then we are going to live in a better society. We cannot leave it to the government, even in the best possible government, which I don’t think we have. But even if we had some kind of ideal government, it still needs citizen activism to actually ensure that our rights are protected. It’s not going to happen by itself.

Mark Coffin: There’s a lot of pressure among the activist communities that I’m a part of, to know what it right about everything. What I appreciate about the work you’re doing is, it’s nice to look at what is happening in a particular and on a particular issue, and know that it looks like someone is taking care of it. I’ve got my own issues that I know something about and I try to speak up where I can, but I don’t fly as regularly as you do. Folks that are part of your air passenger rights community are posting on the Facebook group, and it’s clearly an issue where the corporations don’t always have the passenger’s interests at top of mind.

Gabor Lukacs: They never have. The reality is that for an airline, a passenger is a commodity, a number. The current climate is that airlines want to provide as little as possible to passengers without having a major media scandal, without having some major consequences. This is also the reason that I’m so concerned about the current state of the Canadian Transportation Agency. Right now, the rules are not being enforced.

There are rules already in place, although the current government wants to pretend that it is going to give the rules to the people now. In reality there are already many rules in place. The Canadian Transportation Agency also already has many tools to enforce the law. What is missing is actual willingness to enforce the law – actual desire to do more than slap the wrists of two airlines that disobey the law, and clearly do so in a blatant disregard of the intent of the law.

When you listen for example, in the Air Transit inquiry, where they stranded Air Transit passengers at the Ottawa airport for many hours. The crew simply was never properly trained about the rules. It reminds me a great deal of the legal system that was prevalent in Hungary and other ‘so-called’ socialist countries. Because when you look at their law books, they had all the laws that you would have – mostly – in a democratic country – you would have all the laws that you would have in civil law system, they don’t have a common law system. But the attitude was, ‘well that’s what the law says.’

The current landscape as I’m seeing it, is that the law seem seems to apply only to passengers. ‘If you are five minutes late for your check-in, well guess what we won’t fly you. You have forfeited your right to travel.’

‘But if we are late five hours, well, maybe we weren’t actually late, or it was due to circumstances beyond our control.’

I’m very skeptical about those kinds of things. Airlines seem to be getting away with this type of behavior with impunity. That is not healthy, not only from a social justice point of view, but even if you’re a die-hard conservative pro-capitalist pro-competition person, it’s not it’s not an ideological matter.

The whole point of a business model and of a capitalist society is that businesses compete in a free market, and not based on who can deceive the public or the authorities more. The race is for competition, it’s who can offer a better service for a lower price, more efficiently.

What we have right now is a business model in the airline industry which is not sustainable. Sooner or later, this will have a price for Canadian society, far bigger than we already see because the airlines are used to not having to become efficient. At one point or another in time, this will be financially devastating.

So, as I say, when your flight is delayed, it doesn’t matter whom you vote for, you are on the same plane whether you voted or NDP or Liberal, or Green, or Conservative. Your plane is delayed.

If you miss an important event, a business meeting, a court hearing, wedding, or a funeral, it affects you equally, regardless of what political views you have.

Mark Coffin: I might fly two to three times a year. In seven to eight years of flying two or three times a year, I’ve only once had a flight delayed. They gave me a $20 meal voucher.

Gabor Lukacs: Twenty-whole dollars! Perhaps you should have bought a house from this fortune! That’s part of the problem already, because when your flight is delayed you are entitled to make reasonable expenses for your meals.

Mark Coffin: To me that seems like a bearable expense. But you, obvioulsy you run the Facebook group and you’re well known enough that people know to come to you with questions now. How often are you hearing from Canadians –

Gabor Lukacs: Very often. Very often. I don’t count how many emails I send or write. Quite often it’s several dozen messages on Facebook, plus emails. That is one of the reasons that I’m looking into how one how we could build more of a group, in terms of more volunteers that I’m actively looking for. It is getting a bit too much for me, especially with teaching a course at Dalhousie, which I greatly enjoy. I’m not getting paid for it in any way, this is a volunteer, pro bono activity.

The main task is to disseminate information to passengers about their rights, because once this knowledge becomes a common knowledge, airlines are far less likely to get away with all sorts of practices that currently are commonplace.

Mark Coffin: With what you’re saying it seems safe to assume that with the vast majority of these violations, the only way there is some sort of penalty or enforcement of the rules, is if a passenger complains, or if a formal complaint is filed. Is that fair to say?

Gabor Lukacs: Unfortunately, yes. This is not how things are supposed to be, but way too much is left, in terms of the burden of enforcement, to the actual passenger. I’m troubled by that too. There are many issues that the regulator must be aware of, yet they are not cracking down on it. That shows their own sympathies and biases, and I’m not happy about it.

So, from a passenger’s perspective, if you are not comfortable taking the airline to court yourself, hiring your lawyer may be very difficult in terms of access to justice. Whatever award you may get at the end may be substantially less than the legal cost you may may end up incurring. Cost awards are either non-existent in Nova Scotia small claims courts, or they are very small, based on the value of the other cases. They tend to be very insignificant compared to the expense that enforcing your rights may cost you.

That is one of the reasons that I strongly advocate for mandatory cost awards in airline matters, where if an airline is found to have broken the rules, they should be required to pay the full cost of passengers. All of a sudden you would have many lawyers – at least young lawyers – who think that the best way to make money at the beginning of their careers is to take as many airline cases as you want, they incur reasonable expenses to pursue the case and make the airline pay for the bill.

What I’m describing is a capitalist way to enforce the law, based on private economic initiative, private economic interest of various third parties who will have profit from simply enforcing the law. I think it would be a great idea. It’s very that  that probably, people from the right side of the political map would actually agree with it for quite different reasons-

Mark Coffin: … than those on the left.

Gabor Lukacs: This is a point on which I think there could be a quite strong consensus all over the political map that is actually one of the things that I am also happy about in being with Air Passenger Rights. I do have my own personal and political views, but I am trying to the best of my abilities to make it as nonpartisan as possible. That’s an important point.

On the Facebook group when there are politicized discussions that lead away from the actual narrow issue of air passenger rights, I tend to shut it down. Because I have my views, people have their views, but when we deal with air passenger rights we should try to look at what we can all agree on, and not things that separate us.

Mark Coffin: I should probably mention that neither you nor I are qualified to give legal advice, but what are some things you have learned about what’s important when representing yourself in court and filing these kinds of complaints?

Gabor Lukacs: When I go to court myself I try to be as organized as possible, as brief as possible, concise [with] wordings – not that I always succeed – and be very respectful to the court before which you appear.

In spite of a lot of things that have changed in the legal landscape, there is still some level of prejudice in the back of the minds of – not all, but many – adjudicators and judges when someone who is not a lawyer shows up, especially at a higher level court.

[In] small claims court they are more used to people who are not represented. In Superior Courts you need to assume that the judge has an open mind, but they look at you as a self-represented party, as a kind of liability like, ‘oh this is going to be a tough case, I have an unrepresented party before me, I have to be careful.’

Judges in many cases are also careful because they would like to make sure that you get a fair hearing. Judges are, in that sense, far happier when they have two councils and they can just say the counselor is doing their job, ‘I’m just going to listen, I don’t have to think two steps ahead.’

Mark Coffin: I attended traffic court once as a witness. The judge in that court ended up giving advice to people who were self-representing. Do you get advice from the judges themselves?

Gabor Lukacs: That never happened to me as far as I can recall. Especially in the federal court of appeal, you are expected to know the rules. I don’t go into those courts with the attitude that I should be treated specially because I’m self-represented. That’s not the right attitude.

The mindset that you should go into is that you’re using the very best of your abilities to follow the rules to the letter. Actually, you should even try to follow it more than the other party. Judges will appreciate you knowing the rules very well, possibly better than the opposing counsel and following them to the letter. Even small things in federal court, like bowing when the court bows to you, thanking the court for listening to you after you’re done with your legal submissions. Be courteous, being an advocate, but not being an enemy.

One of the most remarkable and positive experiences I got from a bench, in terms of the human interaction was when in one case the opposing counsel did not have his materials in the court because somehow they didn’t arrive – some problems with his baggage I think. The court was certainly smiling at this, the lawyer for an airline not having his stuff there. But, I remembered that look and the eyes of the judges – this was quite a senior council and when he was referring to the material, I handed him my copy, opened on the right page.  

Mark Coffin: An olive branch of sorts.

Gabor Lukacs: It’s not always possible, sometimes you have a very aggressive lawyer on the other side, that makes it impossible. But when you have a civil lawyer, a civilized person on the other side, and treating them as a human being –  yes we disagree on points B and C, but otherwise we are Canadians, we’re citizens.

After the hearing we can have a good conversation about hockey, or whatever your favorite topic is. That is an important thing to bear in mind. Judges don’t enjoy seeing people who hate each other. Nobody would – it’s not a pleasant sight.

Focus on what is relevant. Focus on presenting things linearly. That’s a common mistake I’m seeing in complaints from passengers. People write letters which are a litany of complaints saying how angry they are, how disappointed they are, how unacceptable it is. I don’t even want to hear that, even me as a passenger rights advocate! I’m on your side, and I don’t need to hear all this litany. Tell me who, when, what.

So one of the first things I often tell people to do when they have a more complex case, is to write a bullet form chronology of the events, date and time, place, what happened? That already helps in the head of the complainant, or the passenger, to create a linear chronology. Same thing with the arguments.

Many of the arguments are complex, but what you need to do, the way you think about it is as if you have a woolen sweater (that’s the reality), and with arguments you need to bring it down to a single thread Because when you present your argument to a judge, you will have to present them as a sequence, one after the other. You have to find an optimal way to present things in a sequence even though their logical structure is a fabric in two or three dimensional.

Mark Coffin: Language doesn’t work that way.

Gabor Lukacs: Language doesn’t work that way, so you have to decide what you say first, and you need to put yourself in the shoes of an outsider. What is going to make sense to them? If you start from the middle, that’s something you may want to do in a Supreme Court of Canada where they have read your brief and they already know very well what the case is about. When you go to a trial court, or small claims court, you are there to actually take the adjudicator through what happened.

One more [piece of advice] is use as few adjectives as possible unless absolutely necessary.

Mark Coffin: Why?

Gabor Lukacs: You want to convey facts and not opinions. If it is relevant that somebody was wearing a red shirt, you will mention a man wearing a red shirt. But if it is not relevant, then don’t say, ‘oh that rude man told me so-and-so.’ What does it add to the case? You are going to just come across as someone who is adversarial, someone who unnecessarily conveys animosity.

One of the things that I recently saw from opposing counsel in a case. The lawyer himself, I found to be very aggressive in his style. But when he was examining witnesses I must concede, he was doing it beautifully. He was doing it with style, with respect. Perhaps one thing I would do next time in such a situation, is not only copy that, but tone back even how he was presenting things.

So, when you have a witness on the stand, you have to be gentle and kind to them. In general, you should put yourself in the mindset of being here to help the court to make the right decision. You are not here to drag the other party through the mud. You are not here to to show that other party is immoral. That belongs to the media, it belongs to perhaps Facebook. But in a court, focus on relevant events. Focus on what the judge absolutely inevitable needs to know about a case to rule on your case.

Things that add color are rarely helpful in most cases in which one is involved. In family law cases people tend to act that way. I would be very hesitant to touch a family law case, even even if I were a lawyer. There are so many emotions involved.

Mark Coffin: There’s a lot more emotion in that than taking a flight to Calgary.

Gabor Lukacs: Even in a flight there can be lots of emotions because a passenger who is denied transportation – and for no good reason – they have every right to be angry. But it’s remaining calm and being factual – it can help the quality of the case.

Mark Coffin: You mentioned Facebook earlier, and at the begging of the show we played some clips that we pulled from members of your Facebook who you helped- where a lot of people are logging on and sharing their stories – sometimes wondering if their rights have been violated, sometimes wondering what they can do about it, and you’re helping them.

Using Facebook as an organizing tool – what has that done for the movement you’re trying to build?

Gabor Lukacs: I began to use Facebook about a year and a half ago, almost two years ago. A friend of mine convinced me that I should I should do that.

Mark Coffin: You weren’t on Facebook before that?

Gabor Lukacs: I got on Facebook marginally, in the context of the of the Sky Greece issues. Canadians were stranded abroad when sky Greece went bankrupt, and I realized that they have a forum that they use – Facebook – for discussion, and if I want to help it might have to be on Facebook. I personally dislike social media, so you will not find anything beyond my official public information on Facebook. I’m finding it very strange that people want to share with strangers how they are in eating in a restaurant, in their private lives. I do quite appreciate my privacy, and that doesn’t mean that I don’t tell my students what I’m doing, but that’s a privilege. They are my students, therefore I may tell them I got only three hours of sleep last night.

Mark Coffin: Because you’re up answering all of the emails for air-passenger rights?

Gabor Lukacs: I would well you possibly. You work on some airline project and then you prepare for your lecture, and the two things together means that I end up getting into bed around 3:00 a.m. By 6:00 a.m. I’m up because I’m teaching at 8:30.

So I realized that Facebook at the same time is a very important tool for communication. I’ve been doing some twittering since 2013 or 2014. That was already a difficult change for me, but I realized that in this day and age, social media has incredible power. Whether I like it or not that’s the way the world works, so I think in retrospect the best two decisions [were] getting on to Twitter and Facebook in terms of changing the issues from just a few legal battles that I personally do, to actually my goal, which is to disseminate the information – to ensure that when something happens people know where to go, know where to find information.

People have to develop a correct sense of entitlement. Not one that ‘I’m entitled because I’m entitled’ which is a problem, but rather I’m entitled to B and C because this is the law. Social media has been very important. Last year when CBC’s national broadcast did a seven-minute profile about my work, that brought change. Because the Facebook group at that point was around 300 members. Then over a couple of weeks it went to 2,000.

Mark Coffin: And how many is it at now?

Gabor Lukacs: Right now we are around 5,200 and still growing.

Mark Coffin: Because you’re on Facebook and Twitter, are you able to apply pressure on the airlines through those channels, or is the primary way that you make change now still through the courts and filing these complaints?

Gabor Lukacs: What I’m doing these days is helping people to assert their rights. I haven’t filed a new complaint for quite a while. I went (earlier this year) to court with a passenger, and I may be doing it for other passengers. I am helping some passengers with complaints to the Human Rights Commission. But my main strategy is to be two steps ahead. So yes, regulatory complaints are on the agenda, although what happens in the Supreme Court of Canada will also be a big question, because the issue is who can file a complaint against an airline? Can you file a complaint even though you’re not being personally affected?

Mark Coffin: And that may change based on this new legislation?

Gabor Lukacs: Not legislation, but The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision may set some framework to define that. I have held back on some complaints simply because I don’t want the agency to toss it out, saying like they did in the large passenger case, because I’m not large enough, I cannot complain.

Mark Coffin: You mean like, physically large, like people who need additional space for their seat?

Gabor Lukacs: Yeah, and then I need to go to the federal court of appeal. The reason we are in the Supreme Court now is because I won the appeal before the federal court of appeals. [It was] a unanimous judgment by three judges. But still, I don’t want to waste my energies on that when there are other angles here. And in terms of what can be achieved now, this issue of passenger rights is a hot topic. The media is responsive to it. So, more often now, a mere prospect of media covering the topic and making an issue out of it may be sufficient for an airline to back off and do whatever is the right thing to do. Not always.

Just recently, I helped a passenger from Newfoundland to file a small claim against Air Canada. The same passenger was turned away by the Canadian Transportation Agency. I was quite happy when he actually got his money through that process.

My conclusion overall is that what I have done in my earlier years of this activism is to have set some ground rules, some precedents that are very hard to just override now, which is good. Now we are at a different stage. My focus somewhat has shifted from changing the rules as written, to compliance with the rules as written.

That seems to be one main biggest problem, that you have airlines that have policies written out – like in the air transit terminal delay case. The policy is right there, after 90 minutes they have to offer people the option to disembark, but they are ignoring it. The crew are not trained, they are completely oblivious to the right of the passengers to disembark, and that is something that has to change. You cannot have a state of affairs where the airline put something in their terms and conditions but the actual airline employees have no idea about that. That is, in and of its own, is something I would love to see penalized.

Mark Coffin: For the airline, because you’re saying that the employees are on your side.

It’s not the responsibility of the employee to know something that the employer didn’t tell them.

This is the reason why I feel so much for employees. They are really in between a rock and a hard place. They are being told by their employer they cannot do A, B and C, while the rules actually say they have to do one of those things. What are you going to do? As an employee you don’t want to lose your job, so you follow what your employer told you. You are not the perpetrator, you are the victim. You are being told by your employer to do something which is – and you may actually see it – is wrong. In some cases the employees will wink at you and say, ‘I know this is wrong but I’m sorry this what I’ve been told.’

Mark Coffin: I’m curious what flying is like for you now. You are well known for the work that you’re doing. Is there a picture of you behind the the check-in desk? Do they know who you are when you get on the plane?  Do you get extra special treatment? Do you get the stink eye?

Gabor Lukacs: I don’t think I get special treatment in any way. A number of people from the crew have come up to me in the past to thank me for the work I do, because even though they’re employees, in their hearts they’re still consumers themselves, and they see how much passengers are wronged.

Recently when I was flying out to Ottawa, and I showed my boarding pass and they asked for my I.D. I cracked a joke and asked her, ‘well don’t you know who I am?’ She said, ‘of course I know who you are, I still need to ask for your ID.’

I told her ‘very good, you are doing your job well.’

The agents, the crew, are generally not my adversary, their employer is. I view airline employees as much victims as air passengers. Airlines in many ways are benefiting from pitting their employees against passengers. When you are a passenger and you see their poor employee who says this is what they’ve been told, you tend to sympathize with the employee. So you may be backing off on your rights, even though your argument or disagreement is with the airline, not with the actual employee representing the airline to you.

Mark Coffin: Thanks for coming on the podcast.

Gabor Lukacs: Thank you very much for having me.


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