The Right Coast

March 24, 2004
Really stupid point
By Tom Smith

Ian Ayers makes a really stupid point, which is rare for him.

He accuses Justice Scalia of buying a "throw-away" round trip ticket, that is a ticket he intended to use only one leg of. Airline pricing is such that this can sometimes be cheaper than buying a one-way ticket.

First, doing so is not illegal in any way I can see. Airlines don't want you to do it. So what. At most, it amounts to some technical breach of the terms of the ticket contract, for which the damages would be zero when the airline fills the seat with somebody else, or when the seat you've already paid for sits empty and somebody puts their coat on it.

As far as any ethical problem, oh please. It does not nearly rise to the level of say, feeding a parking meter against regulations, where your action is arguably selfish.

Furthermore, Ian Ayers probably has no idea with Scalia's intentions were. Plans change. A round trip ticket might have come in handy.

Scalia deserves to be criticized for frolicing with rich and powerful muckity-mucks in an way unseemly for a jurist. But the violation is of good taste, not morality.