Flyers of US Airways whose luggage was delayed or lost entirely may finally get their checked luggage fees back.
The airline and attorneys representing a group of passengers have come to a $9.85 million settlement over baggage fees paid on delayed or lost bags. If you flew on US Airways from Nov. 16, 2005 to April 29, 2010, you could have some money coming.
US Airways baggage fees lawsuit
The settlement stems from a 2011 lawsuit against the Phoenix-based carrier, after a passenger experienced a luggage delay but never received a refund of the $15 checked luggage fee.
According to the lawsuit, the airline charged passengers “… between $15-$200 for different types of checked baggage presented by a passenger at the time of their flight. This fee was not included in the price paid by passengers for their tickets.”
»Learn more: Delays, lost bags, complaints: How does your favorite airline rank?
Under the terms of the agreement, US Airways (now merged with American Airlines) will set aside a $9.85 million fund to pay claims resulting from the lawsuit. Those who flew during the covered time period will be contacted by the airline and will have an opportunity to submit a refund claim.
Although both parties have an early agreement, don’t expect to get a refund check soon. A preliminary approval hearing is set for Oct. 9, with flyers expected to be contacted throughout this fall. Those affected may not receive a refund until after March 19, 2019.
How to avoid paying baggage fees
While the settlement is a win for US Airways flyers who have been directly affected, luggage fees are still on the rise. Both JetBlue and United Airlines increased checked luggage fees to $30 for the first bag, with the second bag fees dependent upon the destination.
Although many people choose to not check their luggage, there are some no-fee options for those who have no choice. Before paying fees at the airport, be sure to check out these options:
- Fly on an airline with no checked baggage fees
On some international routes, airlines will not charge passengers for a first checked bag. In the U.S., Southwest Airlines charges no fees for checking up to two bags. If your next flight requires you to check luggage, Southwest could be the cheapest option.
- Add an airline credit card to your wallet
All three major American carriers grant one free checked bag to their credit card holders. If you regularly check bags, or travel with family, consider applying for an airline credit card. In just two round trips, the credit card could pay for its annual fee in checked baggage fees.
- Request a refund for late-arriving luggage
If you are forced to check a bag and pay for it, but it doesn’t arrive on time, you could request a refund of your fees. American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United all allow passengers to file claims and request refunds online. Passengers can also request help from the U.S. Department of Transportation by filing a consumer complaint against an airline.
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Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Airline Credit Cards’ Unsung Perk: Free Checked Bags
7 Must-Know Tips for First-Time Flyers
5 Ways to Save Money and Nab Last-Minute Flight Deals