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Airlines mishandled 42 million bags in 2007, says consumer watchdog

Monday, March 23rd 2009 - 13:29 UTC
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Airlines mishandled 42 million bags worldwide in 2007 compared to 30 million in 2005 according to the Air Transport Users Council. The consumer watchdog for the airline industry recalled that airlines primary duty to passengers is to put into place systems that will mean they mishandle as few bags as possible.

“But if something does go wrong then they should also be prepared to compensate their passengers fairly. Complaints to the AUC show that passengers often struggle to get reasonable redress from airlines after the event”, said AUC chairman Tina Tietjen.

AUC also complains that the Montreal Convention which came into force in 2004 has made little difference to settlements given to claimants for mishandled baggage.

“For example, on too many occasions passengers are not fairly compensated for lost luggage because they do not have receipts for the items that were in their bag or because the airline is taking into account depreciation of the value of the items in the bag”, pointed out Ms Tietjen.

Regarding delayed baggage, “passengers are often left out of pocket because airlines will not reimburse them fully for expenses they incurred buying essential items whilst they are without their bag”.

AUC concedes that a number of airlines have gone to great lengths to address their baggage handling performance, but “airlines should also turn their attention to what happens when something goes wrong and offer settlements that better reflect the loss to the passenger. Airlines are still too quick to load risk onto the passenger”.

AUC was established by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to help protect the interests of air travellers.

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