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Damages caused by airlines


Damages caused by airlines


Air transport, by its very nature, transcends national borders, which has determined that essential aspects of its regulation are established in international and European Union regulations. Thus, passengers’ rights are set out in:

– Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights.

– Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air.

– 2001/539/EC: Council Decision of 5 April 2001 on the conclusion by the European Community of the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air (Montreal Convention).

As we are in the summer and holiday season, it is important to consider how we are going to travel. On many occasions, travelling by air can become a real challenge and can even cause us to despair, especially in cases where the airline with which we have decided to travel causes us some kind of damage. In these cases we must be clear about our rights as passengers:

  1. The right to information about our flight. Therefore, the airline must hand out a form about the rights of passengers.
  2. Right to care or right to assistance. The airline is obliged to offer and provide: sufficient food and drink, two telephone calls or access to e-mail and transport and hotel accommodation, if necessary.
  3. The right to reimbursement of the ticket price or re-routing, always at the passenger’s choice.
  4. The right to compensation, i.e. the right to compensation.
    Cases in which compensation, i.e. the right to compulsory compensation, is available are:

-Flight cancellation and delay.

-Missed connecting flight.

-Overbooking or denied boarding.

-Change of class in the aircraft cabin.

In these cases, the amounts payable per passenger are:

  1. 250 € for flights up to 1500 Km.
  2. 400 € for all intra-Community flights over 1500 Km and for all other flights between 1500 and 3500 Km.
  3. 600 for all flights not falling under a and b.
    The Montreal Convention, mentioned above, aims at establishing uniform legal rules to regulate the liability of airlines in case of damage to passengers, baggage and goods, in this case during international journeys.

In incidents involving destruction, loss and damage or delay of baggage, the airline is responsible for repairing or restoring the damage caused.

Therefore, when any irregularity is detected in the baggage, it must be reported immediately to the airline before leaving the airport.

Once this notification has been made, a baggage irregularity report (PIR) is issued, with a copy for the passenger. This document is compulsory and essential for making a claim in the event of loss, delay or destruction of baggage.

The Montreal Convention itself establishes the deadlines for this claim in the different cases:

  1. 7 days from receipt of the baggage in the case of damage to the baggage.
  2. 21 days from receipt of the baggage in the case of delay.
  3. In the case of loss of baggage, there is no time limit.
    In these cases, it should be borne in mind that receipt of the baggage without protest by the passenger shall constitute a presumption, unless proven otherwise, that the baggage has been delivered in good condition and in accordance with the transport document.

Finally, in cases where problems with the airlines cannot be solved, it is possible to take legal action to defend one’s rights in accordance with the rules of each Member State.

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