Harder

In Fine Print, Airlines Make It Harder to Fight for Passenger Rights

As air travel reopens and flight bookings begin to creep up, AvGeeks — aviation geeks — and others may notice some new legalese in the fine print when they buy plane tickets.

More and more carriers are adding clauses that require passengers to settle disputes with the airline in private arbitration, rather than in court, and bar passengers from starting or joining class-action lawsuits.

In early April, American Airlines updated its contract of carriage, a standard industry document that outlines the legal responsibilities of a ticket holder and an airline, with a class-action waiver. British Airways followed in late May, adding a class-action waiver and binding arbitration agreement in the terms and conditions of Executive Club, its loyalty program, for residents of the United States and Canada. British Airways notified members by email.

“What the airline is saying is: If you ever have a dispute with us, the only way

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