Last updated on Oct 10th, 2023 by Renu Dahiya
Air travel promises convenience and efficiency, but occasional hiccups can disrupt even the smoothest journeys. Imagine stepping off a long-haul flight in India, only to discover that your carefully packed luggage has been mishandled – it arrives battered, torn open, or worse, some of your belongings are missing.
Here, we’ll know the consumer rights and airline responsibilities, shedding light on what you need to know when it comes to compensation for baggage mishaps when you arrive in India.
Loss, Delayed Or Damaged Baggage – Your Rights & Procedure To Follow
When you purchase a ticket for your journey, the airline takes on the responsibility for both your transportation and your baggage. This crucial passenger-airline relationship is governed by a combination of Indian statutes and international conventions.
In India, the Carriage by Air Act of 1972 serves as the primary statute, encompassing international conventions such as the Warsaw, Hague, and Montreal Conventions within its purview. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), through CAR Section 3, Series M, Part VI, outlines specific baggage compensation guidelines.
Baggage Compensation: International
- The airline’s liability extends to a maximum of 1,131 SDR per passenger for cases of delayed, damaged, or lost baggage.
- The liability limit for destruction, loss, or delay of cargo during international carriage is 19 SDR.
Insight – SDR (Special Drawing Rights) is a currency unit defined by the International Monetary Fund. The exact amount you receive depends on the value of the national currency at the time of the court judgment.
Baggage Compensation: Domestic
In domestic flights within India, the compensation differs.
- In case of baggage loss, delay, or damage, the liability is limited to INR 20,000 per passenger.
- For delayed or damaged cargo, the limit is INR 350 per kilogram.
What To Do In Case of Baggage Loss, Delay, or Damage?
- File a Property Irregularity Report (PIR): If you find that your baggage is missing, open, or damaged upon arrival, immediately head to the airline’s counter. Here, you will fill out a Property Irregularity Report (PIR). Make sure to have your boarding pass handy, as it contains essential information regarding your checked-in luggage.
The PIR is a vital document that provides a reference code to track your baggage and may contain details about the condition of your bag and its contents as reported by you.
- Baggage Search and Tracing: Once you’ve reported your lost, delayed, or damaged baggage, airline staff will initiate a search and tracing process. They will contact the team at both your departure and arrival airports, making urgent tracers for all connecting segments to locate your baggage.
When Can You Claim For Compensation?
- Lost Baggage: If, despite the airlines’ efforts, your baggage cannot be traced within 21 days of filing the PIR, it may be officially declared as lost. You will need to provide an itemized list of the contents, descriptions, ages, and proof of purchase or ownership for all items inside the lost baggage.
- Damaged Baggage: In the case of damaged baggage (provided the damage is not due to overpacking or deliberate actions on your part), you can inquire with the airline about compensation.
- Delayed Baggage: Compensation for delayed baggage is often based on the number of hours your bag is delayed. You may be eligible for compensation to cover essential items you require while waiting for your bag to be delivered.
Fact To Remember-To make a claim for damage or loss, the event causing the issue must have occurred onboard the aircraft or during the period when the carrier was responsible for the checked baggage.
When Can’t You Claim For Compensation? | Exceptions
- Valuable Items – Airlines typically do not take responsibility for valuable items placed in checked baggage. If you must transport valuable items this way, you should declare them during check-in. In such cases, airlines may charge an additional fee to ensure the safe transfer of these valuable items.
- Unchecked Baggage – For unchecked baggage, the carrier is liable only if the damage resulted from their fault or that of their agents.
- Normal Wear and Tear – Luggage is designed to protect its contents, but in the normal course of handling, it may acquire minor wear and tear. This includes minor cuts, scratches, dents, or soil, for which the airline may not be held liable.
- Issues with Bag Components – Damage to specific components of luggage, such as broken feet, wheels, handles, or straps, may not be covered by the airline’s liability.
- Overpacked or Oversized Bags – Damage resulting from overpacking or the use of oversized bags may not fall under the airline’s responsibility.
- Unsuitable Packing – If the damage is a result of unsuitable or inadequate packing, the airline may not be held liable.
- Pull Handle Damage – Damage to pull handles, including lost pull handles, might not be covered by the airline’s liability.
- Fragile or Perishable Items – Items that are inherently fragile or perishable may not be eligible for compensation if they get damaged during transport.
- Manufacturer Defects – Manufacturer defects in luggage, which are beyond the control of the airline, are generally not covered by their liability.
That’s it from our end! If you have any further questions, do let us know in the comment section below. We’ll resolve your queries as soon as possible. And, To read more such pieces, keep an eye on our website. Stay Informed with MyTicketsToIndia!
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Renu Dahiya is a passionate writer who worships her profession. Her love for writing has encouraged her to pursue her career as a writer. Her friends call her a “travel worm” and always come to her to know some interesting traveling tips and destinations. Renu is a repository of knowledge about traveling who knows which place should be visited in which season. Oh yes, she is insanely in love with dancing too. Writer, traveler and dancer, a perfect combination! Without a doubt, she is a complete package.