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A gay couple have sued an airline after their luggage was rummaged through and a sex toy they had packed was taped to the outside of their bag.

Christopher Bridgeman and his husband Martin Borger filed a suit against United Airlines, claiming that an employee intentionally rearranged their bag in such a way as to expose a sex toy.

The couple went to claim their baggage at an airport carousel in Virginia, US, only to find that their sex toy had been revealed for all waiting passengers to see.

The lawsuit against United Airlines, which merged with Continental Airlines after the incident, states that the action by a member of staff was an invasion of privacy and was an intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The case was originally dismissed in 2012 but was then reinstated in 2013 by the US Court of Appeals.

Mr Bridgeman and Mr Borger were returning from a holiday in Costa Rica and had to recheck their bags at Houston's Bush International Airport before travelling onto Norfolk International in Virginia.

According to witnesses, the couple were happy while waiting for the bag to appear on the carousel, but when they spotted their bag they became embarrassed and did what they could to hide the sex toy.

Mr Bridgeman included in his testimony that he thinks the incident happened because he is gay. He believes that the fact the bag contained male clothing along with the sex toy alerted a member of staff to the fact that it belonged to a gay man.

The couple has claimed that they have suffered from paranoia, sleeping problems and anxiety since the incident.

According to a now-retired airline employee, the bag would not have purposefully been placed on the carousel in that condition.

Unfortunately for the couple, the case was once again thrown out of court after attempts to bring it to trial for four years. Despite the ruling by US District Judge Kenneth Hoyt, the lawyer for Mr Bridgeman and Mr Borger said that they would be appealing the decision.