Reader Sues Delta Over Bungled Baggage — And Wins!

Even though we’re paying oft-ridiculous fees for checked bags on airplanes, none of that ancillary revenue seems to be going toward improving the actual checking in or tracking of said bags. That’s why it’s refreshing to hear a story where a screwed-over passenger stands up to this general ineptitude and comes out victorious.

Reader John and a friend recently flew to Italy on Delta. When they went to change planes at JFK airport, they were told that the continuing flight was oversold.

According to John, they heeded the airline’s suggestion and opted to take guaranteed seats on the same flight the next day. And when they went to get their luggage back, they were told it had already been checked in for that later flight.

This is where the fun starts. Take it away John:

When we arrived at the ticket counter the following day, we were informed the bags had not been checked but they were going to locate them before the flight departed, several hours later.

When we arrived at the gate it was in chaos, it was oversold just like the day prior. After waiting 30 minutes to talk to the same gate agent who assured us the day prior our bags would be checked for today’s flight, she again assured us the bags were on the plane and brushed us away.

Not believing her we spoke to the agent scanning tickets who also was aware of our situation. He too quickly typed into the computer, said they were on the plane and brushed us away.

We arrived in Italy and sure enough our bags had not. After speaking with a baggage agent there she showed us the list of bags loaded into the plane and ours were not on it. Our cruise departed the same day and it took Delta 5-and-a-half days to get us our luggage. Our 7-day cruise was ruined as we had to spend the majority of our off ship time searching for basic necessities and clothing.

I wrote several letters to the office of the CEO (Richard Anderson) and they basically told us too bad and would do nothing more than offer us useless $300 flight vouchers. I kept trying to offer solutions and compromises but they told me politely to go away, I stated I would seek legal remedy and they stated:

“We have attempted to show you in our words and actions that we are truly sorry your travel did not go smoothly. Regrettably, we cannot add anything else. As such, I must respectfully inform you that we will not be replying to correspondence concerning this matter again.”

At that point Delta left me no choice. I filed suit for Fraud and Negligent Misrepresentation ( a subsection of fraud ). Delta showed up on the day of trial. Prior to trial we offered to settle if they returned the miles we used to book the flights. They declined. Accordingly, we went into court and I presented our case, Delta argued they owed us nothing. The commissioner disagreed. The court found in our favor, agreeing with my “basic theory of Negligent Misrepresentation”. Together we won $4,140. $2000 each plus court costs. We received our checks from Delta yesterday.

Congratulations to John, though it sucks that he gave Delta every opportunity to do the right thing and still had to result to legal action.