Lost/Damaged Luggage Consumer Rights
Under the terms of The Montreal Convention (1999) for the Unification of Rules for International Carriage by Air, you can claim compensation if your checked luggage fails to arrive on time or is damaged. Though air carriers’ policies differ in their approach to compensation options, you may be required to prove the extent of the loss, e.g. with receipts or invoices.
The Montreal Convention limits the air carrier’s liability to 1,288 Special Drawing Rights (SDR) per passenger but does not provide guidelines on how to calculate the amount of compensation to be awarded in each individual case. The value of the SDR is calculated on a daily basis by the International Monetary Fund and 1 SDR is approximately EUR 1.25 as of 15 December 2019.
If your luggage fails to arrive, we recommend the following:
- Complete a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) at the baggage claims desk.
- Provide details of your bag and keep a copy for yourself.
- Keep your boarding card and baggage tags.
- Enquire about the air carrier’s daily allowance policy, if applicable.
- Request the contact details of the baggage department and ask if there is any online tracker system available to check the status of your bag.
- Keep receipts for all necessary expenses resulting from luggage arrival delays.
For all complaints, remember to keep a copy of your letter for your records and to enclose copies of the relevant documentation, e.g. copy of the baggage tags, PIR, booking confirmation and receipts.
You have 21 days from the date on which your bag was delivered to submit a written claim for compensation.
Unless the airline admits to the loss of the checked baggage at an earlier stage, checked baggage is considered “lost” if it has not arrived at the end of 21 days from the estimated date of arrival. You can then write to the airline to claim compensation. You have to prove the extent of the loss, up to 1,288 SDR.
Please note that under the terms of The Montreal Convention, claims must be brought within two years.
You should always read the relevant terms and conditions of carriage to ascertain the applicable baggage restrictions. Most air carriers decline responsibility for valuable items such as jewellery and electrical goods carried as checked baggage.
In order to avoid disappointment if something goes wrong, you should take sensible precautions when flying (e.g. carry valuable goods in your hand luggage if at all possible or consider taking out insurance that provides for adequate cover on the specific items). You can also benefit from a higher liability limit, upon payment of the applicable fee by making a special declaration of interest in delivery. The tariff is available to passengers on request.
Under the Montreal Convention you can claim up to 1,288 SDR if your checked baggage is damaged or destroyed, although this amount is not awarded automatically and you may be required to prove the extent of the loss, e.g. receipts for damaged items.
We recommend that you:
- Inspect your checked baggage upon collection and, if damaged, complete a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) at the relevant baggage claims desk, typically located in the baggage reclaim area. The PIR must indicate the damages observed. Please note that receipt by the person entitled to delivery of checked baggage without complaint is prima facie evidence that the same has been delivered in good condition.
- Keep your boarding card, the baggage tags and a copy of the PIR. Gather evidence of damage, e.g. take photographs, obtain confirmation from an independent source stating that the baggage is damaged beyond repair or an estimate for repairs. Receipts for any items damaged or destroyed are also useful.
Under the Montreal Convention, you only have 7 days from the date of the receipt of the damaged luggage to submit a written claim for compensation.
Learn more about your flight rights
Should problems arise, such as a flight being cancelled or delayed for any reason, or you are denied boarding, you have significant entitlements and protections under the applicable European Union consumer rights legislation. The legislation covers:
- For queries pertaining to the cancellation of a flight, denied boarding, long delays, or persons with reduced mobility under Regulation (EC) 261/2004, you can contact the Commission for Aviation Regulation.
- For queries and complaints involving Irish airlines, you can contact the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.
- If your consumer complaint was not resolved and your claim does not exceed €2,000, you can avail of the Small Claims Procedure.
- For more information on EU policies or air travel and your general travel rights, please see:
If you are resident in Ireland with a complaint about a trader based in another European Union country, Norway, Iceland or the United Kingdom, and you have tried to resolve the matter directly with the trader to no avail, please contact us for assistance here.Return to top