Skycaps Awarded $325,000 by Federal Jury in Dispute Over Tips

A federal jury has awarded $325,000 to nine American Airlines skycaps who claimed they lost tips when the airline instituted a $2-per-bag fee for curbside check-in service at Logan International Airport in Boston.

The jury returned its decision Monday in federal court.

American Airlines, a unit of AMR Corp., said its decision to impose the baggage fee in 2005 was an attempt to cut costs after it lost $821 million the year before. The fee is split between the airline and the contractor it hires to operate its curbside check-in service.

Skycaps complained in the lawsuit that many passengers saw the fee as a forced tip and therefore didn't tip them for handling their bags.

The attorney who represented the skycaps says she will now ask a judge to approve a class-action lawsuit that would cover hundreds of other American Airlines skycaps.