Skycaps across the country who claim they lost tips after American Airlines imposed $2 curbside baggage fees can now join a Boston lawsuit, after a federal judge today certified a national class-action suit against the airline.
The ruling by US District Court Judge William G. Young comes about 18 months after a federal jury awarded nine current and former American Airlines skycaps from Massachusetts $325,000 for tips they lost as a result of the baggage fees.
The class certification means that hundreds of American Airlines skycaps at 85 airports around the country are now part of the case seeking damages, which a lawyer for the plaintiffs says likely totals millions of dollars.
"It ratchets things up for American significantly," said Shannon Liss-Riordan, the Boston lawyer.
Although skycaps in Massachusetts have sued several airlines in federal court over similar baggage fees, the ruling marks the first time a judge has certified a class action in a contested case, she added.
Tim Smith, a spokesman for American Airlines, said the company "respectfully disagrees with the court's decision" and that the ruling contradicted an earlier one by Young denying class certification. The airline is considering legal options, including appealing the certification to the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
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