Skycaps take American Airlines to court over loss of tips

American Airlines is set to lose quite a bit of money after a Boston judge ruled Skycaps from 85 airports can join a class action lawsuit against the airline.

At the heart of the ruling is an American Airlines $2 fee for curbside bag check-in at the airport. In the past, curbside check-in was considered free – but tipping the skycap was customary. Once American implemented the $2 fee, passengers assumed that covered the entire cost.

One Skycap testified that his daily tips dropped from $200 to $70.

Logan airport skycaps already won a ruling, awarding them $325,000 to be split between nine workers.

Sadly for American Airlines, their money making scheme may have backfired quite badly. If other skycaps win in this class action lawsuit, any money the airline made with the fee will probably be wiped out.

I’m torn over the issue – none of the new sources mention whether the skycap tips came on top of their salary, or whether they had to live off tips like some restaurant staff members. Assuming they made a normal salary, their $4000/month in tips seems fairly generous. I’m also sure the IRS will be paying attention to this case as it wouldn’t surprise me if cash tips were not always reported accurately.