(CN) – The European high court confirmed an upper limit to travelers’ claims for lost luggage, saying they could not recover more than $1,440.
The Montreal Convention capped airlines’ liability at about $1,440, but did not provide a definition for the term “damage.”
Clickair passenger Axel Walz claimed damages of about $2,100 for luggage lost on a flight from Spain to Portugal, and he sought $636 for “non-material” damages.
The European Union’s Court of Justice upheld the Montreal Convention’s $1,440 cap, but said damage should be interpreted in its “ordinary meaning” — as both material and immaterial. Walz should not be allowed to claim any more, the court ruled.
The European court wrote that clear limits to compensation for lost or damaged luggage must exist to balance the interests of passengers and airlines, and for easy and quick compensation in the case of loss.
The Luxembourg-based court pointed out that the Montreal Convention also allows passengers to make a special declaration and pay a fee if their luggage is worth more than this amount. Whatever limit is set would then be absolute.
Clickair is a branch of Veuling, a Spanish discount airline.