US Airways Baggage Fee Suit Revived

Airlines, US Airways, Baggage Fees, RefundStephanie Lair

Another airline, another rip-off.

You paid to check your bags for your flight. Made it to your destination, but your bags that you expected to arrive with you – didn’t. Beyond frustrating and inconvenient for any traveler.

That is how plaintiff Haley Hickcox-Huffman felt when she sued US Airways, now part of American Airlines, in 2010 after the airline refused to refund her for her checked bag that arrived a day late. After years of litigation, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit revived the 7-year-old suit which seeks refunds of baggage charges for delayed or lost luggage.

The unanimous three-judge panel agreed that U.S. Magistrate Judge Howard Lloyd had erred in his decision that the baggage fees related to an airline service and were pre-empted (meaning the plaintiff’s claims had no hold in court). The panel also found that the “language of the airline’s agreement with passengers bound US Airways to deliver checked bags on arrival.”

While there is “no state law making US Airways promise timely delivery of the first bag”, US Airways voluntarily undertook contractual agreements with its passengers, which the airline is held to by the Airline Deregulation Act.

With the case now moving forward, Justin Karczag of Foley Bezek Behle & Curtis believes the case is “really promising for class certification”. Because airlines are required to report rates of lost, delayed, and destroyed bags to the TSA, Karczag estimates that US Airways mishandled more than 100,000 bags per year.

Did you pay to check your luggage only to suffer the inconvenience of a lost or delayed bag? If so, contact us at info@mypirl.com to tell us your story, and for more information on the case.