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Wednesday, May 29, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Class Claims Delta Weasels on Delayed Bags

KEY WEST, Fla. (CN) - Air travelers say in a federal class action that Delta Air Lines tells them they are entitled to $25 to $50 in expenses a day for delayed baggage - though the contract actually grants them up to $3,300 for it.

Lead plaintiff Susan Miller sued Delta for breach of contract and violation of state consumer protection laws.

"This is a case of breach of contract," the complaint states. "Delta Air Lines has a contract with all its passengers to reimburse them up to $3,300 for expenses if their bags are delayed. Delta ignores the contract and often tells passengers they are only entitled to $25.00 to $50.00 in daily expenses. At no point does Delta tell passengers of their rights to up to $3,300.00 in reimbursement. Passengers are left in the dark when their bags are delayed. Passengers want Delta to abide by its contract."

Miller claims, "Delta is contractually responsible for reimbursing consumers for any direct or consequential damages resulting from Delta's own misconduct," including the cost of medication, warm clothing or other essential items in the lost or delayed baggage. "Under the contract, if passengers need warm clothes or medications, etc., they are entitled to buy those and be reimbursed by Delta, not be told that there is a limit for expenses of $25.00 a day.

"Despite this contractual obligation that has been assumed by defendant in its uniform contracts of arrange, defendant uniformly and systematically ignores and/or refuses to acknowledge this obligation. Signs are not clearly posted informing Delta passengers of their rights and what signs are posted do not clearly state that passengers have the right to reimbursement for essentials when bags are delayed. What Delta does do is post small signs in out of the way places with legal notices of terms of contract of carriage. Delta knows full well that passengers boarding a plane won't notice such signs posted on the sides of ticket counters as they are boarding, nor will passengers understand the legal language 'contract of carriage.' Delta knows its signs are not intended to be noticed or understood. All it would take is a simple sign clearly posted in the baggage office telling passengers that they can obtain reimbursement up to $3,300 for expenses they incur while the bags are delayed. Delta does not do that. Instead, defendant's front-line employees routinely deny that this obligation exists and/or inform consumers that there is an artificial dollar or daily limit on claims for reimbursement when in fact defendant's contract provides no such limit other than an overall cap of $3,300."

Miller claims the U.S. Department of Transportation put Delta on notice in 2009 about the Office of Aviation Enforcement's policy of a maximum of $3,300 for lost or delayed luggage, with no daily limit.

"Defendant has thus been placed on notice that its continuing conduct was illegal. Yet it has done nothing to confirm its conduct to the legal requirements it has assumed under its applicable contracts. In doing so, defendant has failed and refused to conform its conduct to the law and breach its own contract," according to the complaint.

Miller seeks compensatory and punitive damages for the class.

Her lead counsel is David Tucker of Coral Gables.

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