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Airlines Sued Over Baggage Fee

If an airline loses your luggage, shouldn't it refund your baggage fee? That seems reasonable enough, so when American Airlines refuses to refund $25 fee after losing Danielle Covarrubias' bag, she decided to sue:

The class action lawsuit, filed on behalf of Covarrubias of Pierce County, Wash., is the first since American Airlines started to charge a fee for handling and transporting luggage in June 2008, according to industry experts. The airline was the first major carrier to impose such fees.

"It just goes to show you how enraged people are by the lack of common-sense regulation in the airline industry," said George Hobica, an aviation expert and creator of airfarewatchdog.com. "It doesn't make any sense at all that somebody should charge for a service and then screw up and not give you your money back."

What do you think? Is a lawsuit justified or are the lawyers just squeezing money out of a beleaguered industry?

Ray Sanchez of ABC News has the story: Link


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If I ran an airline, we'd come up with a modern, sophisticated, effective, system for making most of the bags arrive where and when they're supposed to. I'm sure it could be done. Lots of other warehouses, shippers, and businesses move lots of freight from place to place very quickly and don't have that much trouble with loss.
Then I'd advertise it like crazy. Even offer better than a refund on the baggage fee, some sort of really great consolation prize policy, like "If we lose your bag, your flight is free.". Then potential customers would know how serious you are about the bags arriving. If you were worried about losing bags, you couldn't afford to make such a generous offer on lost ones. The small percentage of unavoidable lost bags that you'd have to pay out on to honor the deal would be offset by the increase in business from having more customers and the good publicity from the customers you did have to pay out on sharing their positive experience with you keeping your word and letting them fly that trip for free.
I know if I were choosing from similar airlines and had to pick between one that was going to charge me for my bag whether it arrived as planned or not or one that was really extra confident that it would arrive and willing to let me fly free if it didn't, it would be a quick and easy decision.
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They should refund the baggage charge if the bag is lost. You shouldn't have to pay for a product or service you don't receive.

If the airlines were smart, they'd be more than happy to refund the charge. Giving back a 25 buck fee is a much better financial decision than suffering the bad publicity and potential loss of customers from keeping it.
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Totally justified.
I have to echo most sentiments already expressed. The American based airline system needs a total overhaul. To fly now, it feels like they are doing me a favor. They have forgotten that customers pay their wages.

I have often thought that Amtrak needs to use the very bad airline situation to their advantage and market taking the train over flying(and offer reasonable fares).
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