Several airlines have settled a price fixing lawsuit and you may be entitled to a very small share of the settlement if you purchased a ticket to Asia or the South Pacific in the past 15 years. No doubt the class action share will be small, but it’s not much effort, and you will just be asked for trip details and won’t need to dig up any documents.
In 2009 a class action lawsuit was filed against Air New Zealand, Air France, and Continental for price fixing between the US and Australia, New Zealand, and Pacific Islands. The case later expanded. And in August 2014 there was an agreement for a $30 million settlement with Air France, Japan Airlines, Vietnam Airlines, Thai Airways, Malaysia Airlines, and Cathay Pacific.
In September Qantas and Singapore Airlines agreed to settle — the former for $550,000 and the latter for $9.2 million.
Air New Zealand, Philippine Airlines, Eva Airways Corp., China Airlines and ANA are still contesting the claims, and argue that they’re barred by having filed the fares either with the DOT, or with the Airline Tariff Publishing Company ‘which shares them with the DOT’. (‘Filed-rate doctrine.’) I suspect that’s a stretch because the DOT is not in fact setting or approving the fares.
You’re eligible to share in the settlement proceeds if:
- You bought a ticket from one of 26 airlines
- At least one flight was between the US and either Asia or Oceania
- That purchase was made January 1, 2000 and the approval of the settlement.
If you qualify, fill out the form. The final amount distributed will depend on the number of claims made.
Naturally, the attorneys are the winners here: they’re expected to share one-third of the settlement amount, with the lead class members getting $7500 each.