Geography is important to the liability limits and scheme of compensation

When looking at the issue of an airline's liability for lost, delayed or damaged luggage it is important to note that the relevant limits of liability mentioned vary according to whether the journey was international or domestic.

International Convention (the 1999 Montreal Convention) provides rules on international journeys

Different rules may apply for Domestic Air Travel (For example within the United States)

The US and some other countries provide a higher limit of liability per passenger than those provided by International Convention such as the Montreal Convention or its predecessor the Warsaw Convention 1929.

From January 2007 the limit for completely domestic carriage within the United States is US$3000.

This compares with a liability limit of around US$ 1500 for international journeys governed by the Montreal Convention. (1000 Special Drawing rights)

Distinguish between what an airline volunteers to pay you and what may be legally recoverable

Before looking at the particular rules that apply to compensation limits it is worthwhile stressing one important aspect.

If an airline loses your bag or if your bag is delayed that airline may offer you compensation.

The amount of compensation the airline offers may be less than you could legally be entitled to on a strict legal analysis of your claim.

The full intricacies of a claim for lost delayed or damaged luggage can be complex. The airline will seek to maximise any perceived doubt or vagueness in your claim or in applicable laws to limit the airline’s exposure.

An airline will seek to argue down a passenger’s claim but would very rarely-if ever-prompt
Or assist a passenger to maximise the passenger’s claim.

We are not suggesting that a passenger should make an illegitimate exaggeration of a claim for compensation-merely that a passenger can present the best arguments in support of a legitimate claim. is a resource to present your legitimate claim in the best possible way. It is also a resource to understand where airline’s and their agents seek to reduce a passenger’s legitimate claim through illegitimate methods.


Have you noticed that Airline’s typically suggest that if you lose your baggage that you may be better placed making a claim against your own insurers? (The inference being that you might recover more compensation from those insurers).

Similarly that travel and other insurers insist that the insured passenger should give notice of claim to the airline. (Is the inference perhaps that you proceed to claim from the airline?).

An insurance policy typically has deductibles and excesses and insurers apply “adjustments” that the insurers will discount from the claim.

Can the passenger claim these reductions from the airline? Can the passenger claim a higher amount from the airline than from the insurer? Can the passenger claim from both the airline and the insurance company?

These matters are complex. Perhaps the simple truth is that if you don’t understand the potential complexity that you will always be passively at the mercy of an airline and the insurance company.

Airlines and insurance companies may graciously volunteer a settlement to you. What readers needs to determine is whether that settlement is a legitimate reflection of the loss entitlement according to law. Can you legitimately claim a higher amount and negotiate to achieve that higher amount and failing that take enforcement action to obtain a higher amount of settlement?

This may require an understanding of a number of diverse areas of international law and domestic law and insurance practise. can not advise you on these areas but can assist you to burrow to the right place and to frame the right questions and marshal arguments to assist in enforcing of your rights in the area of lost and damaged luggage.

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