Transportation

American Airlines agrees to pay passengers $7.5M over unfair baggage fees

American Airlines struck an agreement to dole out at least $7.5 million after a number of passengers filed a class-action lawsuit alleging the carrier charged them for checking bags that should have been free.

The agreement, which was filed on Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas and still requires a judge’s approval, would enable other passengers who believe they were unfairly charged to file claims and recover the full cost of checking those bags.

The airline said it would pay at least $7.5 million into a settlement account after reaching an agreement in principle in August, the filings show.

But there is no limit in the proposed settlement, meaning the airline would contribute additional funds if enough passengers file claims.

If not enough people file claims to amount to the full $7.5 million, American agreed to proportionally allocate the remaining funds to the individuals who filed valid claims.

Several passengers filed the complaint last February, alleging the airline promised them free checked bags through various deals or benefits.

But upon arriving at the airport for their flights, the passengers said agents indicated they would need to pay checked baggage fees. Some of the plaintiffs said they told agents about the airline’s promise only to be told the computer system did not show the benefit.

Plaintiffs alleged that incorrect charges went back as early as 2013.

American Airlines charges customers to check luggage on a scale based on the number of bags and destination.

Many passengers can avoid those costs by obtaining frequent flyer status or through the airline’s multiple credit cards, which offer various benefits.

Benefits vary depending on a passenger’s status level or specific credit card. American’s “Gold” status, the lowest level, includes one free checked bag, scaling up to “Executive Platinum,” which includes three free checked bags.

An American Airlines spokesman declined to comment.

Updated 10:21 p.m.

Tags airlines american airlines class-action lawsuit
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