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Northwest, Ex-Sales Rep Battle Over Waiver Codes

Northwest, Ex-Sales Rep Battle Over Waiver Codes

TravelAge West

Originally published at: http://www.travelagewest.com/newsarticle.asp?articleid=343  

Northwest Airlines charged in a lawsuit that Howard Yang, a former account executive, and five San Francisco travel agents conspired to defraud the airline by using waiver codes to evade advance-purchase and minimum-stay requirements.

The airline claims that it suffered at least $900,000 in lost revenue and asks for punitive damages from Yang and the agents, with the amount to be determined at trial.

Northwest filed the suit in San Francisco Superior Court in February; Yang recently filed a cross-complaint denying the airline’s claims and charging the airline with terminating his employment without good cause.

Yang’s attorney, Alexander Anolik, said Yang was "encouraged" by Northwest to issue the waiver codes, which he characterized as a "standard industry practice" to motivate agents to move market share. Yang worked at the carrier from 1981 through April 1998.

Anolik suggested that Northwest is "selectively enforcing advance ticket purchasing requirements," which is why some travel agents are not complying with the carrier’s rules. He added that the same day Yang was hired by Northwest, he was given a series of waiver codes and told to merely go out and "steal the business."

The two San Francisco agencies named in the suit are Incentive Plus International Travel and Five Star Travel Services. The individuals are Edmund Jew, Ellen and Terry Gee, Rukhsana Dossani and Ashfaq Dossani.

A Northwest spokeswoman said the carrier would not comment on the suit.