Will airline passengers fly off with millions from class action lawsuit?

CHICAGO — Millions of Americans are receiving emails about a class action lawsuit for anyone who bought a domestic plane ticket during a six-plus year period. At least $60 million dollars is up for grabs, but how much might passengers actually receive?

The answer could be zero, CBS Chicago reports.

At the crux of the lawsuit are allegations that four major airlines conspired to increase prices. Two of those airlines have settled: American agreed to pay $45 million and Southwest agreed to pay $15 million. Both deny wrongdoing.

“You just don’t fork up $60 million dollars for no reason,” CBS Chicago legal analyst Irv Miller said.
The lawsuits against United and Delta continue. A Delta spokesperson described the case as “not only ridiculous, it is offensive.”

“The law provides small plaintiffs that have been wronged to go against a big company,” said Miller.
But here’s where the math gets fuzzy. Sixty million dollars sounds like a lot of money. But attorneys fees could be as much as 30 percent — or $18 million. Then mailing out the checks could cost tens of millions, leaving little to nothing for the 84 to 153 million passengers potentially involved in the lawsuit.

When all is said and done, it is possible that after deductions, “the remaining amount will be distributed to charities, governmental entities, or other beneficiaries approved by the Court,” according to the frequently asked questionssection of the official website for the Domestic Airline Travel Antitrust Litigation Settlements.

“You see you’re a member of class action. Think you’re gonna get a lot of money back. Then you read the fine print and the fine print says you may not get anything,” said Miller.

If you’d like more information about the lawsuit, you can go to DomesticAirClass.com.

The U.S. Justice Department investigated airline price fixing back in 2015 and to date, it has not found any official wrongdoing.


By Kristina Payne January 7, 2019 24 Comments