Oh, airlines. They get away with so much, and when they’re having a rough time they get away with even more, almost always at your expense. Every so often there’s a glimmer of good news, though, when the industry is held accountable for its aggressively greedy policies, and today happens to be one of those days. American Airlines is settling a class-action lawsuit to the tune of $7.5 million for unfairly charging passengers for checked bags they shouldn’t have had to pay for in the first place.
The settlement pertains to charges American administered between 2013 and 2021, according to Business Insider. The plaintiffs — five customers — argued that the airline refused to waive those fees for certain credit card holders and preferred passengers, as it promised to. Had American not settled last Friday, the case was on track to go to trial in Texas in two weeks.
The company declined to comment on the settlement to Business Insider, though the outlet cited court documents whereupon American agreed to fully compensate all class members who lodge claims in a timely manner, and that there is no ceiling on the settlement. In other words, the airline could cough up more than $7.5 million when all this is said and done, depending on how many customers file. It could be a lot — as many as 2.8 million passengers may be eligible for a piece of the pie, per Simple Flying.
In each plaintiff’s case, which can be read via the original petition at BaggageFeeClassAction.com, American Airlines advertised free checked bags for frequent and first-class flyers, as well as those who paid with cards that held promotional agreements with the company. In each case, when the plaintiffs later tried to check their bags at the airport, they were told they’d have to pay at the desk. American countered that petition by categorically denying all allegations, albeit admitting fees were paid in certain instances.
The settlement is currently undergoing preliminary approval by the court. If it’s granted, American Airlines will contact relevant customers by mail and/or email.