Archive for the ‘montreal convention’ Category

british airways target of class-action lawsuit over lost luggage

September 11, 2007

Here’s good news if you are an American British Airways traveler whose luggage was lost or damaged between September 2005 and September 2007.  According to an article by Jennifer Miner, British Airways, the current record holder for most lost luggage, was slapped with a nationwide class action lawsuit on behalf of affected airline passengers, claiming recklessness. The class-action lawsuit will represent American British Airways travelers whose luggage was lost or damaged between September 2005 and September 2007. The law firm handling the case is Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP.

According to Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro’s website, the lawsuit claims that British Airways violated provisions of the Montreal Convention, which governs how airlines handle passenger baggage. If the court approves the case as a class-action, it would represent tens of thousands of travelers who have experienced what the suit claims is reckless handling of passenger luggage, and would award them actual losses not limited to the $1,500 cap British Airways invokes. The suit claims that British Airways has lost more than one million items of baggage over the past two years.

Some horror stories from Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro’s website:

Donald and Joan Smith flew British Airways to Italy for a two-week vacation in June but their luggage did not arrive on their flight through Heathrow Airport. The Smiths spent hours on the phone trying to locate the luggage but say British Airways’ customer service were uncooperative, with one agent telling Donald Smith that the staff was “overworked and underpaid”.

After two weeks of fruitless calls to the airlines, Joan Smith traveled to the Naples airport, and over the angry objections of airline staff, gained access to the lost-luggage storage area where she found the missing luggage.

The Smith’s story didn’t end there – when Joan opened the suitcase, she found the contents soaking wet, damaged beyond use.

Aydan Kayserili’s experience was similar. Traveling from Scotland to Madrid on business, the suit alleges that her luggage didn’t arrive. British Airlines told her they located her bag and it would arrive on the next flight. Over the next few days, the airline amended its predictions, saying it would arrive the next day, and later, the third day. All proved to be false.

Eventually British Air confessed they didn’t know where her luggage was, and told her she should replace her clothes and would be reimbursed.

After 21 days of fruitless effort, British Air told Kayserili to consider her luggage permanently lost. To this date, the complaint alleges, she has not received fair compensation for the value of her lost belongings, which far exceeded the $1,500 reimbursement British Air claims to provide for permanent losses.

The lawsuit seeks to recover actual losses incurred by travelers who had luggage lost, delayed or damaged. According to the lawsuit, the Montreal Convention waives the $1,500 loss limit when the carrier is reckless and has knowledge that damage would probably result.

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