US & Canada

Sunwing flyer sues because he got sparkling wine not champagne

Champagne being poured into Champagne Flutes Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Champagne or sparkling wine?

A Canadian man has filed a lawsuit against Sunwing Airlines for promising a champagne service and instead serving sparkling wine.

Daniel Macduff booked a holiday to Cuba through Sunwing that advertised a complimentary on-board champagne toast.

Mr Macduff, from Quebec, said he received a cheaper bubbly instead - and only on the outgoing flight.

The airline said it believes the lawsuit "to be frivolous and without merit".

Mr Macduff's lawyer says the class action hinges on misleading marketing and not the quality of the wine served.

"It's not about the pettiness of champagne versus sparkling wine," said Montreal-based lawyer S├ębastien Paquette.

"It's the consumer message behind it."

Mr Paquette said references to real champagne - a sparkling wine variety made specifically in the Champagne region in France - was front and centre in Sunwing's marketing materials.

In an emailed statement, Sunwing said the terms "champagne vacations" and "champagne service" were used "to denote a level of service in reference to the entire hospitality package" and not to describe the in-flight beverages.

Image copyright Mark King/Sunwing Airlines

The airline says it still offers sparkling wine to all its passengers on flights to southern vacation destinations, but are no longer referencing "champagne service" in active marketing campaigns.

Sunwing said it has always described these services as including "a complimentary welcome glass of sparkling wine" and announce it as such on the aircraft.

The airline added the inflight service has been "consistently been well-received by customers".

The class action has yet to be certified by the courts, but seeks compensation for the monetary difference between the actual wine served and a glass of champagne as well as punitive damages.

Mr Paquette said about 1,600 other plaintiffs have come forward in Quebec to join the lawsuit.

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