Gulf Law at Emaratiya 15 August 2016

Know your Rights for Missing or Lost luggage
By Emaratiya On 15 Aug, 2016 At 09:20 AM | Categorized As HolidayNewsUAE Info | No Comments

Know your Rights for Missing or Lost luggage – Emaratiya Women's Magazine

You’re standing at a baggage carousel for what seems like forever when the steady flow of bags onto the conveyor belt slows to a trickle, then stops. Your bags are nowhere in sight. Or your bags do show up, but look like an angry gorilla has been throwing them around his cage for sport. Who’s responsible for your damaged, delayed or lost luggage?

Missing luggage is a common inconvenience among international passengers. In 2014 alone, there were about 4 or 3.6 bags delayed, missing or lost for every 1,000 passengers taking American carriers. The incidence of mishandled baggage increased from a year earlier, with a little over 1,600 customer complaints received in 2014 alone, according to the Airline Quality Rating 2015 report.

According to the legal experts, flyers from Dubai or UAE are entitled to make a financial claim pursuant to international and local laws if their belongings don’t show up.

Barney Almazar, Gulf Law director, said that passengers who are unable to take back their belongings are well protected by the provisions specified in the Warsaw Convention and Montreal Convention that govern international airlines.

“Airlines, being a common or public carrier, have the obligation to transport people and goods safely. Thus it is their duty to exercise the highest degree of care and diligence. They will be liable for all matters against which human prudence and foresight might guard,” He added.

Passengers’ rights over their personal belongings may vary depending on the points of origin and destination of the flight. But in general terms, airlines liable for lost baggage have the duty to pay up to Dh6,400, which is the local currency equivalent of the so-called 1,131 special drawing rights, a mix of currency values set by the International Monetary Fund.

According to Jonathan Brown, partner, head of maritime, transport and trade at Hadef Partners, passengers are entitled to a higher amount of compensation if they declared a higher value to their checked-in luggage prior to boarding and paid any additional fees for said higher value.

Those who have signed up for a travel insurance may be entitled to other benefits, depending on the type of policy, but a notification must be sent to the insurer to make a financial claim.

“In any case, under law, passengers must provide written notice to the airline within seven days of the incident and have two years to file any court proceedings should they be necessary,” added Brown.

However, it is important to bear in mind the timeframe within which a passenger must take action. For damaged items, the airline must be notified with seven days, and for delayed bags, within 21 days.

Know your Rights for Missing or Lost luggage – Emaratiya Women's Magazine

If your bags are delayed, try not to panic. The airlines typically have ways to track them, and the vast majority of misplaced luggage is returned eventually. If your bags are on the next flight, you could have them within a few hours. If they’ve been sent to the wrong airport, it could take a couple of days. Make sure to file your claim immediately at the airport and to give the attendant a hotel or home address, as well as a phone number where you can be reached.

Once you’ve gotten your bags off the carousel, immediately check them for damage or other signs of tampering or mishandling. Report any damage before leaving the airport; airline customer service agents will often want to inspect the bag. Keep in mind that most airlines won’t cover minor wear and tear.

You will most likely need to produce a receipt for any repairs, or be required to use airline-sanctioned luggage repair vendors. Ask the baggage claim attendant for specific information. You don’t want to find out that you have paid for a repair that isn’t covered.

Know your Rights for Missing or Lost luggage – Emaratiya Women's Magazine

“In the case of damage to checked baggage, the passenger must write and complain within seven days, and in the case of delay within 21 days, in both cases from the date on which the baggage was placed at the passenger’s disposal,” said Barney. He also noted that after 21 days, any delayed baggage is considered lost, even if the airline delivers it afterwards.

For those who decide to seek acompensation, claims should be supported by a list and description of the missing items, as well as the baggage check and identification tags, to fast track the process.

“Proof of ownership and receipts will also speed up the process, so it is advisable to have these documents ready,” said Barney.

“Note as well that a carrier is only responsible for a particular leg. If you are traveling on multiple carriers, you will need to claim against the specific carrier responsible,” he added.

Should the passenger decide to file a legal complaint, it should be done within two years from the date of arrival of the aircraft, or from the date on which the plane was scheduled to land.

“Affected passengers should coordinate with the airline to resolve the matter amicably. If the issue is not settled, a claim before the courts can be made within two years from the date of arrival of the aircraft, or from the date on which the aircraft ought to have arrived,” said Barney.

“Depending on the circumstances, the passenger may file his complaint in the place of hisresidence, domicile of the airline, point of origin or destination.”


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