Introduction to suing American Airlines in Small Claims Court

American Airlines can be sued for $20,000 in their home state of Texas in small claims court. In other states, it can be as much as $20,000.

People often sue the company for:

  1. Flight was delayed for more than 4 hours
  2. Extra fees such as baggage and service fees
  3. Lost or mistreatment of luggage

Losing your luggage can be incredibly frustrating. And while it’s possible that the airline may find your luggage again, it’s unlikely that they will find it in time. And while you can contact customer service, there are also other ways to recover damages.

Consider filing small claims with Dispute. Easily send a demand for payment letter with our easy-to-use tools. And if that fails, we’ll help you get your voice heard. You can show you’re serious by filing small claims. You won’t need a lawyer for small claims either, so you’ll be able to save.

The first step of suing American Airlines in Small Claims Court

The first and most important thing to do when suing American Airlines is to make sure that you sue the right legal entity. Big companies often own lots of smaller companies that are very interconnected, so be sure to review the contracts you’ve signed with American Airlines for any legal entities they mention in your contract with them. By suing the wrong company, even if owned by the same parent company, you can have your case dismissed and you’ll have to file another small claims lawsuit.

In many cases, the legal name of American Airlines is American Airlines, Inc. but be sure to double-check!

Do I need a lawyer to file small claims against American Airlines?

Not necessarily.

The beauty of small claims court is that lawyers aren’t required. This makes small claims less intimidating and more affordable for most Americans. But the small claims process can get complicated. Consider filing through Dispute, as we simplify the small process with our tools.

Some find it helpful to get legal advice from a lawyer. So you can ask a lawyer for help with your small claims. But check your local small claims laws before you bring your lawyer to court. They may not be allowed to join you during the trial.

If you wish to sue a different airline, check out our articles on suing Jetblue and Spirit Airlines.

Is small claims the only way to get American Airlines’ attention?


You can message through customer support, social media, or talk to agents in person. But if you feel that they aren’t taking you seriously, small claims is another avenue to get your voice heard.

Finding American Airlines's Registered Agent

The registered agent of American Airlines in the state of incorporation is:

See below to find the registered agent for American Airlines in your state.

If you’re suing American Airlines in another state, then you might need to name a different registered agent. You can always send a demand letter to The Corporation Trust Company in Delaware no matter what state you’re filing in. This will ensure it reaches American Airlines legal department.

How to write a Demand Letter to American Airlines

demand letter is a formal letter asking for payment. Strongly worded demand letters on professional letterhead have a better chance of reaching a settlement out of court than regular letters. At Dispute, you can generate a demand letter in minutes.

  1. On the top, in the address block, put in the company name and address. You can find the registered agent at the bottom of this page.
  2. Next, put the subject line as 'Re: Demand for Payment'
  3. In one sentence, tell them how much American Airlines owes you which you will claim in your small claims lawsuit.
  4. Then, in two to three sentences describe your issue. (ex: why you are owed for Failure to deliver package)
  5. Finally, state in plain language that you will go to small claims court if necessary. Don't say that you will do anything else, such as speaking poorly about them.
  6. On the bottom, include your name and address

How to send a demand letter to American Airlines

After you write the demand letter to American Airlines, you’ll want to send it to their registered agent so that it’s guaranteed to go to the legal department. Make sure that you get a tracking number for the mail you send them. It can become important evidence in your case.

Demand letters are often mailed. But if you don’t have time to find a printer, buy an envelope, and visit a post office, we can mail it for you. Send your demand letter with just a click from the comfort of your home.

File your small claims forms against American Airlines

If American Airlines does not pay you after receiving the demand letter, you can file a small claim to win your money back. Although this may sound complicated, small claims is actually less complicated than regular court. There are some county guidelines you’ll have to follow, but filing with Dispute can make it easier on you.

You’ll need to find and prepare your small claims form based on where you decide to sue. Usually, people sue where the defendant lives or does business.

Then, wherever you decide to sue, look up the county small claims system. They’ll provide details on their website about what small claims forms are necessary. You can read more about the small claims process here.

Serve your small claims paperwork to American Airlines

One of the last steps before your trial will be to physically give the small claims paperwork to American Airlines. This is called “serving” the defendant. You can’t serve the defendant yourself, but you can find someone else to do it. Many people hire professional process servers. There are legal guidelines that you must follow so that your case can go to court.

Defendants may sometimes avoid service. In order to keep your court date, you should hire a professional process server so that you can be sure all legal guidelines are appropriately followed.

Go to your small claims trial against American Airlines

On the date of your small claims trial, be sure to arrive early and well prepared. Bring at least three copies of all evidence you intend to present, and if your hearing is remote be sure to have provided copies in advance to the other party and to the court. Failure to follow the strict local guidelines can result in your case being dismissed, but if you’ve followed the rules then you can often win by default when the other party doesn’t show up.

How Much it Costs

So how much will you spend by suing American Airlines in small claims court?

  • Court Filing Fees: The amount you will pay to file a small claims lawsuit depends on how much you are suing for and where you are suing. You can expect to pay between $30 to $400 to file the lawsuit. If you cannot afford to pay court fees, you can ask the court to waive the fees.  ‍
  • Serving Costs: Once the lawsuit is filed, you must notify American Airlines that you have sued them. This is called "serving." Serving Costs can range from $20-100 depending upon the local area.

‍Remember, if you win, you can request that American Airlines pay for your court fees and serving costs.‍

The Benefits of Small Claims Court

  1. Court filing fees are cheaper in small claims than in other courts.
  2. The process is faster in small claims than in other courts, as your hearing will usually be scheduled 30-70 days after you file the lawsuit.
  3. Lawyers are generally not allowed in small claims, which helps keep the costs of suing low.  

Taking the First Step in Your Lawsuit

If all of this work seems complicated or daunting, rest assured that it's easier than it initially seems. 2.7 million small claims court cases are filed annually in the US, which is only growing as more people realize how easy it is to enforce their legal rights in court.

There's no rush. But when you're ready to sue American Airlines, you can get started with a simple demand letter online. Please get in touch with us if you have any additional questions.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I file a claim with American Airlines?

Whoops, did you mean to file a claim and not a small claims case against American Airlines? You can file a claim with them directly on their website if you think they can resolve the issue in a way that's faster and easier than going to court.