Published on Wednesday, July 9, 2014

United being sued for bumping passenger baggage

A passenger is taking United Airlines to court, accusing the carrier of bumping her checked baggage in favor of more lucrative cargo.

Gina Spadoni of Chicago claims United left her luggage off the flight due to weight regulations and prioritized cargo instead.

She had paid a $25 fee for the checked baggage and did not receive a refund, in line with the airline's policy.

Spadoni flew from Chicago to Los Angeles in September and later discovered her bag remained in Chicago awaiting another flight.

The court action alleges profit is the reason, as cargo customers are issued a refund for late shipments but passenger baggage delays are non-refundable.

"United knows that the removal of cargo from the aircraft's cargo compartment would result in reduced profits, because United receives substantially more money relative to its transportation of cargo than it receives relative to its transportation of checked baggage," the complaint said.

"This is a business decision — United gets to keep all the fees, ship the cargo and still get money from the passengers whose luggage was delayed," said lawyer Tom Zimmerman.

The lawsuit is looking to recover fees for the delayed luggage and to require United to change their policy to refund passengers in the future.

The complaint hopes to get class-action status, which would "likely effect of thousands of individuals."

United dismissed the claims and said in a statement: "We believe this lawsuit is without merit, and we will vigorously defend against it."

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