A class-action lawsuit aims to force United Airlines to reimburse the baggage fees for the luggage they lose

United Airlines planes taxi at Denver International Airport (DEN) in Denver, Colorado, on July 30, 2023.

Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images

A man filed a class-action lawsuit against United Airlines after the company lost his luggage. 
Jack Lipeles alleged in the suit that United falsely told him his luggage was stolen.  
He accused the company of trying to evade reimbursing customers for their $35 checked bag fee.

A traveler says United Airlines lost his luggage, and he’s taking them to court over it. 

According to his attorneys, Jack Lipeles flew from Las Vegas, Nevada, to Los Angeles, California, in November 2022 on a United flight, and he paid the $35 fee to have one bag checked.

When Lipeles arrived in Los Angeles, “he went to pick up his luggage, but was unable to find his bag. United informed Plaintiff that his luggage was stolen and that he should speak to the police to report the stolen luggage,” the federal lawsuit, filed in California in late August, said. 

But when Lipeles went to the airport’s police, he received troubling news, according to the complaint. 

Airport police told Lipeles he should file a claim with United “because it is United’s usual policy upon losing luggage to falsely state the luggage has been stolen in order to avoid reimbursing for the loss thereof,” the lawsuit said, adding that Lipeles never received any reimbursement from United for his lost luggage or the $35 fee.

Lipeles and his attorneys, who did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on Saturday, are bringing the case as a class-action suit targeting United’s “unfair and unlawful business practices.” 

Reached for comment, a spokesperson for United declined to comment on the suit, calling it an “ongoing legal matter.”

According to data from the Department of Transportation, United Airlines and its partners handled some 5,793,084 bags in November 2022, and 31,374 of them were mishandled, which the DOT defines as bags that are “lost, damaged, delayed, and pilfered, as reported by or on behalf of the passenger.” 

“Airlines are required to compensate passengers for lost, damaged, or delayed bags. For domestic flights, DOT allows airlines to limit their liability for lost, damaged, or delayed bags to $3,800,” the DOT said in a comment to Insider. “Airlines may pay more than these amounts but are not required to do so.”

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