American Airlines agrees to pay at least $7.5M to settle class action lawsuit over baggage fees


American Airlines has agreed to pay at least $7.5 million to settle a class action lawsuit brought by passengers who claim they were wrongly charged baggage fees after the airline allegedly promised they could check luggage at no cost. 

American Airlines agrees to pay at least .5M to settle class action lawsuit over baggage fees

People wait for their luggage at an American Airlines baggage claim at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport on Aug. 5, 2021 in Houston, Texas. The airline settled a lawsuit this week over claims it wrongly charged some passengers for checked bags (Brandon Bell/Getty Images / Getty Images)

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A group of passengers from a handful of states filed a federal lawsuit against the carrier, Clearly et al. v. American Airlines, Inc., in Feb. 2021 accusing American of the erroneous charges spanning from Feb. 2017 to April 2020. 

Some plaintiffs said they were offered free bag checks via email confirmation but were still required to pay a fee. Other claimants were American-branded Citibank and Barclay’s credit card holders who say they were entitled to free bag checks as part of their card perks but were charged anyway.

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American Airlines plane file photo

An American Airlines plane preparing to land in Las Vegas, Nevada. (iStock / iStock)

As part of the settlement filed this week, all parties agreed not to make public statements pertaining to the agreement, but the document makes it clear the airline denies any wrongdoing.

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“American has alleged a variety of affirmative defenses, denies every allegation of wrongdoing, liability, and damages that were or could have been asserted in the Litigation, and specifically denies that it engaged in any wrongdoing whatsoever,” it reads.

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An American Airlines employee checks in a passenger at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, CA on Wednesday, June 30, 2021. (Paul Bersebach/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register  / Getty Images)

The filing also states that “American consents to the Settlement and Settlement Agreement solely to avoid the expense, inconvenience and inherent risk of litigation as well as continued disruption of its business operations.”

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According to Forbes, the $7.5 million minimum payout is more than six times the $1.2 million American Airlines collected in bag-check fees last year, which is the most of any U.S. airline.

FOX Business’ Lucas Manfredi contributed to this report.

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