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Airline Passenger Rights Activist Kate Hanni Accuses Delta of Hacking Her Email

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Kate HanniKate Hanni, the California woman behind the airline passenger bill of rights movement, is suing Delta Air Lines for allegedly hacking into her email and personal computer.

Hanni, who founded after suffering through a nine-hour runway delay in December of 2006, claims that Delta and consulting firm Metron Aviation hacked her computer, intending to obtain files they hoped would discredit her and derail the pending airline passenger’s bill of rights legislation.

Hanni filed the lawsuit Tuesday seeking $11 million in actual and punitive damages from Delta and Metron.

Get Peter’s take on passenger rights in his Travel Detective Blog.

Delta and Metron spokesmen have called the allegation “absurd” and “without merit.”

Delta logoHanni’s lawsuit centers around a sworn statement from a recently fired Metron Aviation analyst who claims that Delta was upset about the ground delay data he was providing Hanni.

The analyst, Frederick Foreman, was a Metron employee for 10 months and worked on a project with the Federal Aviation Administration investigating tarmac delays. Delta is a Metron client.

According to the lawsuit, Metron senior vice president and general manager James Gaughan confronted Foreman and showed him what appeared to be “hacked and stolen email communications” between himself and Hanni. The emails also included messages between Foreman and reporters.

Get more news on this topic: FAA Reauthorization Bill Includes Passenger Rights & Air Traffic Control Modernization.

Foreman plans to file a separate wrongful termination lawsuit against Metron.

Delta is among those that have lobbied against the pending airline passengers bill of rights. The lawsuit claims that if the legislation is passed, the airlines could lose nearly $40 million in revenue while spending even more to comply with the new standards.

By Dan Bence for

Related Links: Dallas Morning News, USA Today, BusinessWeek

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