Two California men filed a class action lawsuit against Southwest Airlines this week saying that they paid the $12.50 for Early Bird Check-In, yet others around them received better boarding positions. The 38-page filing against Southwest Airlines is for “breach of contract, fraudulent concealment, intentional misrepresentations, negligent misrepresentations, breach of covenants of good faith and fair dealing, and its deceptive, and misleading business practices.”The lawsuit claims that in August 2013 Plantiff Robert Zammetti purchased a “Wanna Get Away” fare for a flight from San Diego to Detroit. Zammetti paid the $12.50 add-on cost for Early Bird Check-In. At the time of boarding, Zammetti identified numerous individuals that received a higher boarding position than he had received at the time of check in, and Zammetti says that others around him did not pay the add-on to receive priority boarding.
The second Plantiff, Micahel Lowry, also purchased a “Wanna Get Away” fare in March 2014 on a flight from on Los Angeles to Indianapolis. Lowry also paid the $12.50 add-on cost for Early Bird Check-In and received a “B” boarding group assignment. Plaintiff Lowry also said he identified numerous individuals that received a higher boarding position than he had received at the time of check in without paying the add-on to receive priority boarding.
25. Furthermore, Defendant SOUTHWEST’S major advertising and marketing campaign/slogan is that on SOUTHWEST “BAGS FLY FREE”. This “BAGS FLY FREE” marketing slogan is directly responsible for Defendant SOUTHWEST’S market share in the airline industry. This is deceptive, fraudulent, and misleading by the very nature of the definition and connotation of the words. The bags do NOT fly free. In fact, SOUTHWEST “hides” the baggage fee and recovers their fuel-cost offset revenue under the guise of the deceptive “priority” “Early Bird” boarding program. Therefore, if these intentional misrepresentations, fraudulent concealments, and deceptive business practices were known to the public, then Defendant SOUTHWEST’S windfall of revenue would not exist. If customers were properly informed, as opposed to constructively and/or intentionally misled, they would NOT purchase the illusory “Early Bird” priority boarding add-on, and/or would NOT purchase a fare from Defendant SOUTHWEST.
26. Defendant SOUTHWEST uses this marketing slogan to entice customers to purchase tickets on DEFENDANT’S Airline. The reason that they do not charge their customers for checked bags is because they offset the added fuel cost of the checked baggage by the windfall of revenue generated from their intentional/negligent, fraudulent, deceptive, and misleading “Early Bird Check-in” scam of $25 per roundtrip flight. These intentional/negligent, fraudulent, deceptive and misleading policies, procedures, and practices of Defendant SOUTHWEST allow them to increase revenues at the expense of the general public and their competitors.