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Court orders airline to pay Dh30,000 for missing luggage

The passenger lost his baggage twice when he travelled to two different countries

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Civil Court of First Instance has ordered an airline to pay Dh30,000 to a passenger for financial, moral and ethical damages caused to the traveller due to the airline losing his luggage twice on two separate flights.

Both the airline and the litigant were not named.

An Abu Dhabi passenger filed a complaint to the Abu Dhabi court against the air carrier and demanded Dh100,000 in compensation.

The court heard that the traveller lost his baggage twice with the same airline, first when he travelled to an East Asian country and his luggage contained expensive commodities. He demanded from the airport the return of his lost bags but nobody responded.

It happened again when he travelled to an Arab country to enrol in a university. He was surprised to learn that again his bags were not available on the plane, including a bag that contained academic certificates and documents, which were required for admission to the university.

Because of his lost baggage on the second trip, he could not get admission in the university in the last academic year, which further caused him mental and psychological trauma as well as financial damages.

The loss of his original documents forced him to apply for duplicate copies.

His bags were not returned on the second trip when he returned to Abu Dhabi.

The case was earlier referred to experts who said in their report that passengers agree with the airline that they will not carry money, gold jewellery, documents, official certificates and financial papers in the checked-in baggage.

Experts said the passenger had ignored instructions of the airline, so the airline wasn’t responsible for those losses and compensation.

However, the experts also acknowledged that the airline should pay $20 per kilogram for the lost baggage.

But the court said in its judgement that the experts’ report, based on what’s called the Montreal Convention, do not apply in this case.

The court clarified that the Montreal Convention (formally, the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air) cannot be applied in air transport compensation cases if the destination of the flight is not bound by the agreement.

The court further explained that the compensation was determined because of the destination country of traveller comes under non-member countries of the Montreal Convention for air transport management. So the airline has to bear the compensation costs as per the commercial cases.

Both countries the passenger travelled to do not fall under the Montreal Convention as they have not signed a contract with the convention.

In that case, simple commercial case rules were applied in the case, the court said.

While the court did not agree to cover all of the litigants’ losses, the court did agree to compensate him with Dh30,000 for the financial and moral damages caused to him due to the loss of the baggage.

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