I guess there is no more infuriating sight that seeing your baggage all damaged or destroyed. Besides cancellations, delays and overbookings, lost or damaged baggage may all part of air travel experience.
Let’s say, however, that the inevitable has indeed happened and you find that your bag is LOST or DAMAGED. Unless the damage is caused by an inbuilt flaw in the luggage and you are in Europe, you are entitled to compensation from the airline company of up to € 1,220. The airline company is therefore liable for your luggage.
Nevertheless, you need to make certain that your claim for compensation is handed in within 7 days of receiving you torn-off baggage or 21 days, in case of delayed baggage. European Union also regulated that is you are not satisfied you’re the compensation received from the airline, you are entitled to pursue legal action within 2 years of the date of you luggage arrival.
Airlines companies are liable for any luggage it allows to check in. This fact is stipulated in the Montreal Convention which regulated the international carriage of passengers, baggage and cargo. The transporter is legally responsible for any deterioration that is due to delays. Nonetheless, the company is not accountable for the damage brought by delays provided it demonstrates that it as well as its staff did all they could to avoid such damage.
According to Article 22 of the Montreal Convention, i.e. Limits of liability in relation to delay, baggage and cargo, “the liability of the carrier in the case of destruction, loss, damage or delay is limited to 1,000 Special Drawing Rights for each passenger unless the passenger has made, at the time when the checked baggage was handed over to the carrier, a special declaration of interest in delivery at destination and has paid a supplementary sum if the case so requires.
In that case the carrier will be liable to pay a sum not exceeding the declared sum, unless it proves that the sum is greater than the passenger’s actual interest in delivery at destination.” This means that if you are traveling with expensive items, it might be a good idea to make an advance declaration to the airline when you check in.
DOs and DON`Ts
Despite the fact that the advice we intend to give to you, is not infallible, it may help you avoid putting yourself in such an unwanted situation:
- Make sure you get rid of all the tags from any previous voyages.
- Verify the tag that is placed on you baggage.
- Put all the identification tags within you luggage.
- If there is anything you absolutely feel that you should not lose, than do not take it with you, just leave it at home.
- You may also want to go to the airport’s or airline’s website to make certain that you are aware of all the security restrictions.
- Do not forget to verify the name labels placed on your baggage. More than often, a piece of luggage is lost or mishandled because of an erroneously printed, misplaced or ripped-off label.
- It is also a good idea to make your luggage more visible as black or grey luggage will not stand up, so make sure you put some brightly colored stickers or anything similar to prevent someone else take your suitcases by mistake.
- Trying a direct flying increases the changes to not losing your baggage. So, if this is possible, do not hesitate to go direct. You should know that 40% of the baggage that is moved between two connecting flights has to be sorted out manually. This happens because scanners do not manage to read the labels that are badly printed, damaged or have been worn to shreds.
- Even though you may not want to place all your contact details on your tags, we advise you to write at least a phone number that may be use to get hold of you in case your bag goes astray.
- You should declare the entire value of your luggage when you check in. You may thus be entitled to obtain you will receive 1,000 SDR (Special Drawing Rights)/$1,500 for each passenger in case the airline deteriorates or misplaces your suitcases.
- Do not leave the airport without making a WRITTEN COMPLAINT. If you do, make sure that you do not forget to file in such a complaint within seven days by registered post (and make sure to keep the receipt for further evidence) to the airline headquarters or else you will not be able to sue the company. You need to mention in the complaint that you declared the total value of your luggage on checking in.