Legal Question in Aviation Law in District of Columbia
I'm an airline pilot and on a recent trip, a passenger took my suitcase off the plane in Columbus, Ohio. The aircraft and crew continued on to Washington DC. When I got off the plane to go to the hotel, I realized that she took my bag and left hers on the airplane. US Airways was able to find out who the person was that took my suitcase. They called her and instructed her to return my suitcase to the Columbus, Ohio airport and to take my suitcase to the US Aurways customer service counter so they could get my suitcase on the last flight to DC at 5:45pm. The woman who took my suitcase failed to return my suitcase in time to make the flight. I was left in DC on an overnight with nothing. Can I sue her for the cost of my dinner because she had my protein drink and protein bars? Can I also sue her for the cost of new tennis shoes and workout clothes I had to purchase because I had intended to workout either that evening or the next morning, but she had my clothes in the suitcase? I would be grateful for your advice.
1 Answer from Attorneys
No. Assuming this was an innocent mistake, and she acted reasonably in returning it, she is not liable. You as the pilot should have taken better care to make sure that your bag was clearly marked and not in a place where a passenger could confuse it. And in any event, the cost off suing would exceed any possible recovery.