Law Update: Airlines Should Compensate Passengers for Damaged or Lost Luggage

UAE outlines guidelines for claiming stolen or lost belongings during flights

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Pavitra Shetty

Published on June 28, 2024, 09:00:59


compensation for damaged or lost luggage


A recent update to the UAE's Commercial Transactions Law outlines the conditions under which travellers can claim compensation for stolen or lost belongings during flights. The law specifies the responsibilities of airlines for passengers' checked-in luggage, clarifying when and how passengers can seek compensation.

Responsibilities of Airlines

Under Article 353(2) of Federal Decree-Law No. 50 of 2022, which issues the Commercial Transactions Law, airlines departing from or arriving in the UAE are responsible for the checked-in luggage of their passengers.

The law states: “The luggage referred to in Clause (1) hereof shall mean the objects that may be carried by the passenger in the aircraft or delivered to the carrier to be in its custody, during the travel.”

Additionally, Article 356(1) stipulates that airlines are liable for damage or loss of checked-in luggage. It states, “The air carrier shall be responsible for the damage resulting from the destruction, loss, or damage of the checked luggage and cargo if an accident occurs and results in damage during the air transport.”

Compensation for Lost or Damaged Luggage

In cases of damage or loss of luggage, airlines should compensate passengers up to Dh500 per kilogramme of luggage. Article 359(2) explains: “In case of transport of luggage and cargo, the remedy shall not exceed Dh500 for each kilogramme unless it is agreed on a higher amount.

However, if the consignor sends a special statement upon delivering the luggage or cargo indicating the special importance imparted to the delivery thereof in good condition at the destination due to its value, and pays the additional fare requested by the carrier, the carrier shall pay the remedy in the amount specified by the consignor, unless the carrier proves that such value exceeds the real value of luggage and cargo.”

Filing a Civil Claim

Passengers who experience loss or damage to their luggage may file a civil claim against the airline. According to Article 368, claims can be filed in any of the following courts:

  • The court with territorial jurisdiction over the arrival or departure destinations.
  • The court under whose jurisdiction the airline’s head office is located.
  • The court specified in the travel contract (air ticket) between the passenger and the airline.

The law states that the claimant shall have the option to file action before any of the following courts:

  • The court in which circuit the domicile of the carrier is located.
  • The court in which circuit the head office of the carrier’s activity is located.
  • The court in which circuit the establishment or the facility that concludes a contract for him, is located.
  • The court of the destination.

Steps to Take

  • Check Your Air Ticket: Review the terms and conditions related to the loss of checked-in luggage.
  •  File a Complaint: Submit a written complaint to the relevant airline regarding the loss of your personal belongings.
  • Seek Higher Authorities: If the airline is uncooperative, file a complaint with the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority.
  • Consider Legal Action: If necessary, consider filing a case against the airline in the Dubai Court or the court with jurisdiction over the South Asian airport where the belongings were lost.

These updates are part of the UAE’s efforts to protect passengers' rights and ensure that airlines are held accountable for their responsibilities. Travellers are advised to be aware of these regulations to take appropriate action if they encounter any issues with their luggage.

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