We are here to deliver some much-needed good news. Delta Air Lines Inc., one of the major players in the aviation industry, has reached a settlement in a class-action lawsuit concerning refunds for flights canceled during the coronavirus pandemic. According to a motion filed recently, Delta has agreed to pay cash awards or provide flight credits equal to the cost of the canceled tickets with interest. They've also agreed to pay more than $2 million in attorney fees.
The suit was brought forward by Angela Dusko, a Delta customer like many of us, who stood up for herself and all the other ticket holders when the airline offered credits for future travel instead of refunds for canceled flights. Dusko argued that this violated Delta's contractual promise to either accommodate passengers on the next available flight or offer refunds - a promise we all rely on when we purchase our tickets.
Despite Delta's denial of any contractual violation, the airline has decided to settle with Dusko and her class. This is a victory not only for Dusko and her class but for all air travelers. The customers seeking preliminary approval from the court for the settlement described it as "more than reasonable," considering that class members will "essentially recover all of the damages that they could have recovered at trial."
The terms of the settlement are indeed promising. Class members can claim cash awards or flight credits equal to the cost of their canceled ticket, plus 7% interest. Their counsel will receive $2,285,000 for attorney fees and up to $80,000 for litigation costs. Delta will also foot the bill for all settlement administration costs.
What's more, these separate payments ensure that settlement class members receive 100% of the direct settlement payments they claim. This is a huge win for consumers and a step in the right direction for holding corporations accountable for their contractual obligations.
The exact dollar amount that Delta would pay out if the court approves the settlement is currently unknown, as the price of the tickets held by each class member may vary. However, the class includes all U.S. ticket holders who received credit for a non-refundable ticket purchased with dollars on a flight scheduled to depart between March 2020 and the end of April 2021 that Delta canceled. It also includes ticket holders who requested a refund for their ticket but didn't receive one and had an unused credit or partial credit as of Jan. 13.
Class members will be notified by email, postcard, or long-form notice if the settlement is approved. A third-party settlement administrator, Epiq Class Action & Claims Solutions Inc., will be responsible for sending out the notices, and this will begin within 45 days after the settlement is approved.
To claim their settlement funds, class members must submit a claim form within 105 days after preliminary approval. Those who do not wish to participate in the settlement can opt-out up to 35 days before a hearing on the final approval of the settlement.
This is a victory for the little guys, the everyday travelers like you and me, who put our trust in airlines to honor their commitments. It's a reminder that when we band together as consumers, we have the power to make big corporations listen.
Let's celebrate this win and stand up for our consumer rights. We are all Justice Moms and Dads!