Briefly: Junior sues airline for XBox

A Silliman College junior has filed a $1 million lawsuit against US Airways for a video game system he claims was stolen from his checked baggage.

In the suit, Jesse Maiman ’10 seeks $1,700 for the loss of his Xbox and $1 million in damages – the maximum amount he can claim – for what he calls an “unconscionable ‘run-around’” on the part of the airline. According to the suit, Maiman claims that the game system was stolen while he was en route to his home in Cincinnati from New Haven last December.

A spokeswoman for the airline said she was unaware of Maiman’s lawsuit, though she added that liability for lost luggage was limited to $3,300 per bag.

US Airways’ terms of transportation state that the airline is not liable for electronic equipment in passenger luggage.

The Associated Press contributed reporting.


  • Y09

    Yale public relations officers must hate their job.

  • JZ

    Lol wut?

  • Y11

    If this is the worst a fellow Yalie will embarrass us this year (as opposed to Vayner, Shvartz, etc), I'll take it.

  • Anonymous

    Embarrassed? Heck I'm proud (:P)

  • Anonymous

    I hope he wins. Airlines treat their customers like crap just because they can get away with it. If they're going to charge for luggage, they better be damn careful with it.

  • Figures…

    Someone from Silliman…make so much sense.

  • i hate the airlines

    well done, it's good to hear someone is finally taking on the airlines in court. those fools think they can just go right ahead losing luggage, delaying flights, preventing you from changing anything on your ticket… all without any penalty. what a pathetic industry.

  • Jeremy Green

    In this age when people are calling 911 because McDonald's ran out of chicken nuggets, it is perfectly reasonable to sue the airline for $1 million in damages resulting from a missing xbox.

  • Anonymous

    If only it was Delta airlines, they are so crooked! Win Jesse!

  • Think Local

    Can we please all now sue the New Haven tow-truck industry (racket)? Untouchable legalized theft must stop.

  • Y'55

    Sean Hannity ate this up last night

  • Punitive Damages

    Don't people realize that what he's doing is perfectly logical insofar as in Ohio courts the maximum amount a person can sue for punitive damages is $1 million (and, yes, I'm sure the $1 million suit is for punitive damages)? Considering the multitude of problems associated with airlines (e.g. bad service, limited liability, and irresponsible/kleptomaniacal personnel), the $ 1 million - in this case - seems quasi-justified.

    Either way, go Jesse!

  • Common Sense

    It is also prefectly logical to NOT put your valuable items in your checked baggage.

  • Chewy

    This guy is a such an embarrassment. How can he prove that US Airways stole his toy? How long was it before he discovered it was missing. Lots of theft happens from folks waiting by the carousel and even from cabbies.

    And, dude, as noted above, if it means that much to you, why not just carry it on and never take your eye off it

  • Anonymous

    #14, other articles about it indicate that he noticed it very quickly after his flight.

    anyone else find it funny that a guy nicknamed Chewy deems someone else an embarrassment?

  • mc

    i can envision a scenario where airline customer service is infuriating enough to inspire a person to sue for $1 million over something he probably initially thought wasn't such a big deal.

  • lasercat

    It's definately BAR for great pizza without long lines and negative attitude! Modern is a close second with points taken off for distance from campus.

  • Edmund Burke

    to #10, i cannot agree with you more. the new haven tow industry is an unconscionable racket. my car has been towed FIVE times without cause and there is no recourse other than pay the 100+ dollar fine. i wish the YDN or the register would do some investigative reporting on it. i'd be happy to talk.

  • Think Local

    Why won't the YDN investigate the tow-truck racket? I'd guess because very few undergrads use on-street parking and therefore Yalies rarely fall victim to the larcenous street-sweeping disgrace. The cops are totally complicit; I've seen them hand out reams of pre-written tickets to the army of private tow-truck drivers. But (Editors!) this would be an excellent matter to investigate and would mitigate ignorant reporting on other local stories (i.e., the shocking fact that New Haven, being a city, has a criminal justice system that deals with arrested and convicted people). Careful, though: this would be the sort of investigation that might lead to broken knees. So much gangster criminality happening RIGHT HERE! I challenge someone on the YDN staff to do some serious reporting and take this on. It would be fascinating.

  • Jane

    There are many Young Dunk Yalies who cause problems in our city of New Haven to where us Townies as we are called do can not enjoy our city life during the weekend nights and have to stay out of the city until summer when they are gone. Thank God we have an excellient Police Dept to keep order.

  • y09

    He's not going to get one million, people. US Airways is probably the worst airline in the US and there is a fair amount of dirt on them online - just google it. It employs the laziest, most incompetent people and deserves to lose all of the money in this suit. I am surely not the only one to have a TERRIBLE experience with US Airways.


    One more parking story - I had my car towed for "owing" taxes at the beginning of spring break though it was registered in another town (I paid and only owed taxes to that town). New Haven never got me off their books and they towed me. After 2 weeks of break I owed about $400 to the towing company and New Haven made me pay the tax anyway to break my car out. While New Haven refunded the tax money without complaint, they refused to reimburse the towing and storage fees for THEIR MISTAKE. They furthermore expressly forbade the towing company from contacting me to tell me that my car had been towed so that I didn't rack up those storage fees.

    Someone should explain to those bozos in city hall that towing for taxes is unnecessary - taxes HAVE to be paid to keep your car registered and can just be enforced through registration enforcement (just like EVERY OTHER CITY AND STATE IN THE NATION). While tax compliance has gone from 80% to 98%, this does not represent a net increase in city revenues. Tax revenues are a combination of people paying current taxes and others paying back taxes. While revenues temporarily spike initially as everyone catches up on their taxes, this will be at the expense of these same people now not paying back taxes (and fees) 2 years from now when they have to re-register their cars. This process doesn't benefit the city long term and creates enormous hardship for the least well off of our city - it also wastes a LOT of money (a deadweight loss in economic terms) on towing and storage fees.

    God I hate the New Haven towing racket. Alternate side parking is primarily enforced in East Rock and maybe Westville as an illegal tax on Yale affiliates, and again wastes LOTS of money on towing, storage fees, and street sweeping costs. East Rock does not need biweekly street sweeping - why is it that the neighborhood can go ALL winter without sweeping but only 2 weeks in summer? We don't need it, as proven by the fact that New Haven only actually sweeps once a month (though they ticket every chance they get), and we don't want it.


    His Gamerscore was over 9000. I say bankrupt those crooks.

  • Sue F.

    Here's a letter to AA detailing what happened to me on American the other week… if Jesse Maiman reads this, please email me…… I'd love to have your lawyer look at this! :) GREAT WORK!

    March 11, 2009

    Customer Relations
    American Airlines
    4255 Amon Carter Blvd
    Ft. Worth, TX 76155-2603

    Re: Ticket Number …

    To Whom It May Concern::

    I initially planned a trip from Philadelphia to Las Vegas to vacation with my sister and purchased a ticket through Travelocity on January 28, 2009. The total price of the ticket including taxes and fees was $356.39. On January 30, 2009, 6 days before my scheduled departure, my 7 month old son, Sylas, became ill and was taken to Bryn Mawr Hospital where he was immediately admitted. He had a 104.1 degree fever and respiratory distress. He was in the hospital overnight, and released the following day. I was given instructions to keep him on a nebulizer every 4-6 hours round the clock for 5 days. At the end of 5 days, he had a stomach flu and was still receiving nebulizer treatments round the clock as his breathing was still unstable. Additionally, my husband had a stomach illness for which he visited our PCP on Monday, February 2, 2009. I could not, in good conscience, leave my 7 month old son or my husband for vacation. I made the decision to reschedule. I have enclosed documentation from the hospital, but not from my husband’s PCP as that is moot… I was not about to leave my son.

    I sent an email through your Customer Relations email link, and received the following response:

    Dear Mrs. …:

    We appreciate the opportunity to address your concerns. In order to review the
    situation in more detail, we need letters from your son's and husband's doctors on
    letterhead stating that they were unable to travel as scheduled. We also need their
    ticket numbers. Our address is:

    Customer Relations
    American Airlines
    4255 Amon Carter Blvd., MD 2400
    Fort Worth, TX 76155
    Fax: 817-967-4162

    Naturally you would have preferred an immediate resolution and I am sorry this is not
    possible. As soon as we receive this information, we'll be glad to look into the
    matter further. Also, we respectfully request that you do not send this information
    via an attachment as our system does not allow us to open outside attachments. We
    hope to hear from you soon.


    Jill A. Christensen
    Customer Relations
    American Airlines

    I rescheduled my trip for March 5-8, 2009. The additional cost to me totaled $240: a $90 change in fare, a $20 fee to rebook and a $150 change fee. I tried to have the fee waived, and was told that I could try to submit the information from his hospital stay to get the fee waived, but that it probably wouldn’t happen because it wasn’t me who got sick. I wanted and really needed a vacation, so I decided I could deal with the change fee. If that had been the only issue, you would not be hearing from me.

    On Thursday, March 5, 2009, I was to board American Airlines Flight 1527 at 4:25 pm, heading from Philadelphia, PA to Las Vegas, NV via Dallas/Ft. Worth. I did not check my bag, as I was only traveling for 4 days. When I went to the gate to board the plane, the attendant told me that all the overhead space was taken and that I had to check my bag. I told her I did not want to check my bag as I was traveling through Dallas to Las Vegas and didn’t want my bag to get lost. She assured me it would end up in Las Vegas, but I still didn’t want to check my bag. She refused to allow me to board the plane and I was forced to check my bag at the boarding gate. I was given the main copy of the tag they attached to my bags (tag #738469).

    Approximately half an hour after boarding the plane, all the passengers were taken off the flight as the flight was canceled due to a “maintenance issue” (specifically, an alarm going off in the underneath of the plane). I stood in line and after some time, was able to get on USAir Flight 731 direct to Las Vegas. I ran from one terminal to the other to make the flight on time, and checked in as I was told to do by American Airlines. I was told by USAir that I did not have a seat and that, “American booked this flight without checking with us first, and we’re sold out”. They were kind enough to find some volunteers to change flights so that a few of us from the American flight could get to our destination. I was stuffed in the middle seat of the very back row of the plane. No fun for someone who’s claustrophobic.

    I arrived in Las Vegas on the USAir flight. My bags were not at the airport, obviously, because I was unable to retrieve them from my original flight. Please bear in mind I specifically did NOT check bags for this reason. I met my sister at the hotel with no bags, no change of clothes and no toiletries, etc. I had nothing.

    The following morning (3/6/09), I spoke with Laura at the 800-433-7300 number to see if my bag had arrived and find out if it could be delivered to the hotel. She was very kind and helpful. She informed me that my original American flight did in fact take off at 9:00 pm that same evening (5 hours after it was supposed to have taken off) and that my baggage should have traveled from PHL-DFW-LAS. She contacted the baggage centers at PHL, DFW and LAS, and was unable to find my bag, because “it was not checked in the typical fashion”, so it did not have “the same type of baggage tag or tag number” and thus “could not be found in the system”. I was told by Laura that I had to go to the airport to get a courtesy toiletries kit and check with the American baggage office at LAS. She did give me the number for the American baggage office at LAS, but told me it’s nearly impossible to get through because it’s only voicemail. She also told me that if my bag was not at the American baggage office at LAS, I would have to file the missing bag claim through USAir because that is the airway I ultimately flew. I thanked Laura for her help, and told her I would email her supervisor a nice note because she was very kind and understanding even though she couldn’t do much for me. Therefore, I am copying her supervisor, Joann Leichter.

    Once again, my sister drove me all the way back to the airport after breakfast that morning. When we arrived at the American baggage office, we were told by Ronnie, who was working at the counter, that she personally had my bag delivered to the hotel, then she confirmed it was going to Golden Gate Hotel. She did so without having to even look at any documentation… she had just sent it to the hotel and remembered the situation.

    My sister and I spent some time on the strip and returned to our hotel around 4:30. I retrieved my bag from the locked closet at the hotel. I took it to our room, and opened it to get a pack of cigarettes and my toothbrush. The 2 packs of cigarettes I’d packed were not where I’d packed them. I began taking things out thinking they’d slid or something. As I was emptying my suitcase, I found that $200 and my digital camera, a mother’s day present with irreplaceable family photos on it, had also been taken. I searched every nook and cranny, every pocket of my clothing and the bag, and everything was gone. This is EXACTLY why I did NOT want to check my bag in the first place!

    I called the 800 number for American Airlines again at about 5:10 pm, and was told I needed to call the baggage number at the airport, which 6 hours earlier, I’d been told by Laura only went to voice mail. However, I did call that number (702-261-5048), and upon getting voicemail, I learned that I must file a pilfered baggage report “in person within 24 hours of receiving your baggage”. Therefore, I had to go that night.

    At this point, it was after 5:30 and I had plans at 6:30 to meet a friend for dinner whom I hadn’t seen in 15 years. I hadn’t had a shower that day let alone cleaned myself up or changed my clothes. The restaurant was half an hour from the hotel. This means I had no time to shower, just to brush my teeth and throw on some makeup.

    I had to cut dinner short because the American baggage office at LAS closed at 11:00 pm, and it was a 40 minute drive from where we had dinner. I had planned to spend the whole evening out with my friend from high school; instead, I had about 2 hours with her.

    We left and my sister drove me back to the airport, to the American baggage office at LAS. I noticed 6 people standing in line outside the office and 5 people inside the office, all having some issue with their baggage. Additionally, all the people standing outside the office were dangerously close to a small, roped-off area full of suitcases (there were at least 10), all of which could VERY easily have been broken into while the baggage agent was dealing with 11 angry customers and not paying attention. I have enclosed pictures for your review.

    I went into the baggage office when it was finally my turn, and explained the entire situation to Jonathan at the counter, who tried to tell me that I needed to file my claim with USAir because that is the carrier I flew after my American Airlines flight was canceled. To continue to deny liability, he tried to tell me that my baggage had been sent to USAir’s baggage office repeatedly, until I found the note I’d made with the name of the woman who’d personally sent my bags to my hotel. Then he went

    Since that course of deniability didn’t work, Jonathan informed me that American Airlines is not responsible for “high ticket items or cash” stolen out of checked baggage. This was the FIRST TIME during this ENTIRE TRIP I’d heard this information. I informed him that I did NOT check my bags in the typical fashion, that I did NOT want to check my bag because I did NOT want something like this to happen, that I informed the attendant at the PHL boarding gate that I didn’t want to check my bag, and was made to. I was NOT given ANY INFORMATION WHATSOEVER when I was made to check my bag. In fact, I wasn’t even given any written documentation from Jonathan at the baggage counter either… it was not until I woke up this morning and started researching this issue that I found any written documentation to support this statement. However, this statement was true for baggage checked upon arrival at the airport; nowhere in American’s travel policy was there any information on liability for baggage made to be checked at the boarding gate… the only verbiage I found pertaining to baggage and capacity of aircraft stowage is this…

    “Additionally, all baggage must be completely stowed before the airplane may depart the gate. At times, additional limits may be placed on carry-on baggage based on the main cabin stowage capacity of specific aircraft. These limits may be imposed after the boarding process has begun. As American aircraft vary in size and configuration, certain restrictions may apply regarding the size and amount of carry-on and checked baggage allowed. Further information is available at any American Airlines or American Eagle ticket counter or by calling American Airlines reservations.”

    My bag was well within the size and weight specifications (I was able to travel USAir to LAS with this bag as well as home from LAS to PHL through DFW), and there were dozens of us required to leave our luggage at the boarding gate unwillingly

    So, I asked Jonathan at the baggage counter to please get me a supervisor. He called a woman named Diane, to whom he explained the entire situation. She told him there was nothing she could do and denied liability. I ended up speaking with her, and during our conversation, she made the following statements:

    When I asked to speak to her supervisor: “I am the supervisor”. When I said, “I want to speak to your boss”, she said, “I am the boss”. And I said, “I want to speak to whoever you report to”, and she said, “I don’t report to anyone”, so I said, “You mean to tell me you run American Airlines?”, and she said, “Yes I do”.

    Diane gave me the name of her supervisor, Ron Olsen, whom I am copying on this letter. I asked her for his phone number and she said, “He doesn’t have a phone number”. Diane and I went back and forth for another few minutes, then I asked for her supervisor’s phone number again, and she said, “I don’t give out his phone number”. The final straw in my conversation with Diane was when I said, “What would you do if this happened to you?” and she said, “Well, it would never happen to me”. I was so livid, I hung up on her and left the airport.

    I will tell you that I did receive a paper from Jonathan with the contact information for Customer Relations, and that he, like Laura, was extremely nice, and I could tell that he really wanted to assist me but didn’t know how or what he could do for me. Diane, on the other hand, was extremely rude and did not want to be bothered with me.

    It is now midnight, and I only have 1 day of vacation left to squeeze everything I wanted to do during my wasted day on Friday into before I had to go home. Instead of a relaxing vacation, I was back and forth to the airport, on the phone for hours with American Airlines, and at the end of it all, I was tired and dirty and had missed so many things I had planned.

    Fast forward to Sunday, march 8, 2009, my day of departure. I flew out of LAS at 3:15 pm on American Airlines Flight 2226, heading to DFW. The check-in was easy, I was able to carry my bag onto the plane and stow it with no issue whatsoever, the attendants on the flight were polite, and the flight even landed early. I thought I was out of the woods.

    Then, as American Airlines Flight 2452 from DFW-PHL was boarding at about 8:40 pm, this man came running up to the boarding gate, cut in front of everyone else, and tried to get on the plane. The attendant boarding the plane told him his section had not yet been called and to please wait until his section is called and then get in line. His girlfriend then said, “I’m sorry guys, it’s the alcohol talking” at the crowd behind them, all of whom were watching. The attendant was right there to hear it all and let him on the plane, clearly drunk. While standing in the hall waiting to board the plane, the two of them were yelling expletives (f*ck, sh*t, etc.) and everyone was looking at them. The woman behind me said to me, “Just hope they’re not sitting next to you”. As it turns out, they were sitting right in front of me! I spent about an hour with my MP3 player on full blast trying to drown out their yelling and repeated use of “the f word”, before I looked at the woman next to me and we both laughed, as did about 10 other people in our surrounding area. The woman behind me said, “can you please be quiet?” (I was in 9E, she was in 10D, and the couple making all the noise was in 8D & 8E). They didn’t hear her, so she said it in Spanish (because they were speaking in another language at times, which we thought was Spanish). The guy who was making all the noise stood up, turned around and said, “F*ck you b*tch, go back to Kansas” and “suck my d*ck b*tch” and other things. He kept using “the f word” and any other word you could think of. I put my light on and Denise came back to see what was going on. (I believe it was Denise, I believe she was the dark-haired attendant, then there was Debbie Miller, a blonde attendant, and Joseph, who were the flight attendants on board). We explained the situation, and this man became even more irate.

    To make a long story short, this man was extremely drunk, he had been asking all of the attendants the entire flight for vodka, he was loud, obnoxious, and at one point, said to his friend about the man sitting in 10F (who had made a comment which I did not hear), “I’m going to take him out when I get off the plane”. He also made threats and continually cursed at the woman in 10D. He grabbed his crotch at one of the attendants as well. They were ripping up and eating paper during the beginning of the flight, and there were tiny pieces of paper all over their row. He seemed to be on some sort of drug, as far as I could tell. Anyway, I did give a detailed statement to the flight attendants, and the man was arrested upon arrival at PHL.

    Finally, and perhaps least importantly, before boarding the plane at DFW, the attendants informed me that the overhead compartments were full and that I would have to check my bag. I adamantly refused to check my bags. I was asked to move to the side, and after telling about half the story of my baggage issues, the one attendant simply said there was enough room for my bag, and let me on.

    The entire experience I went through was HORRENDOUS, from the first time I tried to make the trip through the moment I got off the last plane. I had no camera to take pictures of my vacation, not to mention the fact that I had only ONE day to enjoy and cram 3 days worth of vacation into, I was miserable the entire time. My son stood on his own for the first time yesterday, and hanks to this trip and whoever the thieves are that work for the airline that you “are not responsible for” yet continue to employ, I have no camera to record it; to record my kids’ “firsts”. I wanted a vacation, a relaxing experience, and all I got was a nightmare.

    Therefore, I am requesting at this time that I be reimbursed the entire fare I paid for my trip (flight, all fees, taxes, etc.), which is $609.40, in addition to the $438.56 for the Sony Cybershot 7.2 digital camera and the flash memory card, and the $200 cash which were stolen from my bag. I did have cigarettes taken from my bag as well, but their value is insignificant at this point. The total of these items is $1247.96.

    I have sent an initial copy of this letter through the Customer Relations email link on I expect to receive a response within 24 hours of emailing this letter containing your willingness to reimburse the items listed in the previous paragraph. If I do not receive such a response within 24 hours, I will immediately contact every news station and newspaper in the Philadelphia area and tell my story. I will also retain legal counsel to recoup my losses.

    In addition, I will be sending this letter along with all documentation via US Certified Mail to the address above, via email to Joanne Leichter (Laura’s supervisor) and via regular mail to Ron Olsen (Diane’s supervisor). I have also reported this with the Better Business Bureau.

    Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter. Your immediate response is greatly appreciated.



    Cc:, Ron Olsen
    Enc: Receipt for camera, pictures of baggage area, documentation from Bryn Mawr Hospital, ticket given to me at boarding terminal for my carry-on

  • TO Sue F

    What a HORROR!