Many travelers believe that the 4 big US airlines have conspired to increase fares on domestic flights. Southwest and American Airlines have agreed to settle nationwide class action litigation by passengers who believe the carriers did collude.
As usual, the settling defendants deny that they did anything wrong. They have asserted defenses to the claims, and have settled to avoid the burden and expense of litigation.
Are you included?
The settlement classes include those who purchased tickets for flights within the USA and its territories from American, Delta Air Lines, Southwest, United, Continental, or US Airways. For the Southwest settlement you must do so at any time between July 1, 2011 and December 20, 2017. For the American settlement you must do it between July 1, 2011 and June 14, 2018.
Southwest has agreed to pay $15 million (€13.1 million), while American is prepared to pay $45 million (€39.5 million). Also, they have agreed to provide certain cooperation in the ongoing litigation against the non-settling defendants.
What you could get
At this time, it is unknown how much you may receive. A distribution plan will be prepared later or at the conclusion of the litigation. Given the number of settlement class members, it may not be economically practical to distribute money until additional settlements or judgments are achieved.
If you want to receive a notice about the claims process or future settlements, you should register here.
Even if you do nothing you can participate in the settlements and will also be bound by their terms. If you want to keep your right to sue Southwest and/or American yourself, you must exclude yourself from the settlements by January 4, 2019.
The court will hold a hearing on March 22, 2019. Then it will consider whether to approve the settlements and a request for attorneys’ fees - up to 30% of the settlement funds - plus reimbursement of costs and expenses incurred as class counsel pursues claims against the other defendants.
There is a chance that you will receive a modest amount, but it is far from certain. If the class settlement will be successful, the lawyers who started the class action will be the biggest winners. They will pocket a large chunk of the settlement funds.
Tags: airline collusion, class action, settlement funds