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Airline short changing passengers on lost luggage

Thursday 02 Apr 2009 9:18pm

According to a consumer watchdog, airline passengers are often compensated for less than one-tenth of the actual value of their possessions when their bags are lost by an airline. The Air Transport Users Council (AUC) has found that airlines are regularly short-changing passengers for the millions of pieces of luggage that are damaged or lost in transit. Tina Tietjen, the council's chairman, said: 'Complaints to the AUC show that passengers often struggle to get reasonable redress from airlines after the event. ' Figures suggest that lost luggage is on the increase, with 42 million bags lost in 2007, compared with 34 million in 2006, an increase of 8 million. Until 2004, the Warsaw Convention covered passengers if their luggage was lost. Passengers stood to receive compensation from their airline, based on the weight of the bag(s) lost. Since 2004, the Montreal Convention has covered passengers for lost luggage. It stipulates that airlines are obliged to compensate passengers for actual or replacement value of the lost items, rather than a sum determined by the weight of luggage. Compensation is capped at £1,049 for 'mishandled' luggage, the term used by the aviation industry to describe luggage items that are lost or arrive late. In a number of cases, however, it has been reported that airlines either pay less than the claimed-for amount of compensation, or insist that passengers provide receipts for each item claimed to have been in the lost luggage before any compensation is paid.

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