Have you ever felt that you have been unfairly charged for services provided by an airline? Such as being denied taking your carry-on on board due to it being too heavy, or maybe you had paid for and chosen your seat, but then the airline switched the aircraft, and you were allocated one at random anyway, and now the flight is full, so they cannot move you?
Or perhaps, the carrier you have a loyalty program with has mistakenly charged you for checked-in luggage even though it said it wouldn’t. How far would you go to get compensation? Or want someone else to go for you? Millions of American Airlines passengers who were wrongly charged to check in their luggage are included in a class-action lawsuit against the carrier. After two years of litigation, the airline has agreed to pay a minimum of $7.5 million in a settlement out of court.
The class-action lawsuit (a legal proceeding in which one person or a small group of people sue on behalf of a larger group of people) accused American Airlines of charging some passengers incorrect baggage fees between 2013 and 2021. This, the five plaintiff passengers representative of the suit said, meant the airline had “breached its contract.”
The original filing from February 2021 stated they were “improperly charged” and “forced to pay baggage fees.” They specifically alleged that the airline had failed to honor a promise that specific customers would be permitted one or more checked bags at no cost when charging them baggage fees upon their arrival at the airport.
Photo: Getty Images
Settled two weeks before court date
The case was due in court in less than two weeks when the parties reached the settlement on Friday – which apparently entails American paying $7.5 million – minimum. However, since it is a class-action lawsuit, it is not just the five customers that will get to share the funds between them. It is estimated that the settlement classes consist of over 2.8 million airline customers. The out-of-court settlement proposal stated,
“Rather than risking trial and appeal, which could lead to class members getting zero or less-than-full compensation at an uncertain time later, the settlement gives nearly every settlement class member a guaranteed opportunity now to get 100% compensation.”
American Airlines has also agreed to pay any admin costs and attorneys’ fees on top of the refunds. There is also no limit or cap on the amount that American will pay over the $7.5 million.
Photo: Vincenzo Pace I Simple Flying
The settlement is now in a preliminary approval stage, in which the court must determine the fairness, reasonability and adequacy of the settlement terms and set a date for the final fairness hearing.
Simple Flying has sought American Airlines for a comment on the settlement but was yet to receive a response at the time of publication. However, a spokesperson for the carrier earlier told Business Insider that they declined to comment.
Source: Court Listener, Aviation Source News, Business Insider
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