American Airlines was the first of the major airlines to start tacking on fees for checked bags, and now its the first airline to face a class action lawsuit over the fees from a ticked-off passenger. And it all started over one piece of lost luggage.
The initial plaintiff in the case was a passenger on an American flight from Seattle to Grand Rapids, MI, earlier this year. Unfortunately, it looks like the one bag she paid $25 to check before boarding didn’t make the flight.
According to the suit, the plaintiff was forced to spend $300 on replacement clothes and toiletries that had gone missing with her bag, which she claims contained more than $800 worth of her stuff. And when it became clear to her that her bag had disappeared forever, she claims American would not refund her request to refund the $25 checked bag fee.
Says the plaintiff:
American Airlines is just another example of how companies have forgotten about customer service… When American charges a fee for a baggage service it should deliver your bag, unharmed, or give you a refund.
The lawsuit says that when airlines charge you extra to check your bags, those fees represent a “clear and unambiguous agreement with passengers to handle bags with care, and deliver them to their destination in a timely fashion.”
American Airlines damages, loses or delays more than 2,400 pieces of luggage every day, according to documents filed with the court.
Of note, the one airline that doesn’t charge for your first checked bag, Southwest Airlines, led all U.S. airlines with the highest number of lost bags last year.