Legal adviser recommends what to do if travellers end up with lost, damaged valuables during a flight
Travellers have been advised to declare any stowed valuables upon check-in.
Dubai: US-bound flyers have an option to demand compensation if their pricey electronic gadgets get stolen from their checked bags or damaged during a flight, according to a legal adviser in Dubai.
Passengers from Muslim-majority countries, including the UAE, would also do well to declare very important possessions at check-in and confirm with their respective airlines what valuables are covered in the conditions of carriage.
There have been concerns that the US ban on electronics in aircraft cabins will make travellers more vulnerable to theft or damage of personal property. Some flyers may end up losing their laptops, cameras or other important electronic items.
“Passengers travelling from the affected countries with laptops and tablets should check their policy and speak to their travel insurer to double-check what cover they have for valuables placed in the hold,” advised Mark Shepherd, assistant director, head of property, commercial and specialist lines, Association of British Insurers.
Barney Almazar, director at Gulf Law in Dubai, said that passengers can seek a payout for any missing or broken devices that have been stowed away.
“Generally, the maximum liability of airlines for lost or damaged baggage is up to Dh6,400. In the case of damage, the passenger must complain within seven days, and in the case of delay within 21 days from the date on which the baggage was placed at the passenger's disposal,” Almazar told Gulf News.
He said that to further ensure passengers are protected, they should make a special declaration upon checking in their luggage.
“A passenger can benefit from a higher liability limit by making a special
declaration at the latest at check-in and by paying a supplementary fee.
This is often called Special Declaration of Value,” said Almazar.
“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.”
Emirates, one airline affected by the electronics ban, has not responded to Gulf News’ query.
The security ban, which took effect on Saturday, prohibits passengers on non-stop flights from 10 Middle Eastern airports from bringing large electronics into the flight cabin.
Shepherd said some travellers may find that they also have additional cover under a household contents policy for gadgets outside of the home.
“We do know some insurers already take flexible approach to claims if a passenger has been forced to put items in the hold by circumstances out of their control,” said Shepherd.
“Wherever possible, travellers should keep valuables, including tablets and laptops, with them on flights and, if travelling from destinations affected by the new regulations, it may be sensible to leave valuables at home. If devices are damaged during a flight, there’s also the potential to seek compensation through the airline.”