An international agreement signed by 152 states worldwide to establish uniform laws about claims following international flight accidents. The treaty addresses both passenger and carrier rights and liabilities.
How the Warsaw Convention Works
The carrier must issue a passenger’s ticket to the passenger. That ticket will show the place and date it was issued, place of departure, and their destination. This is important because makes a passenger’s flight valid. The ticket should include any pre-agreed stopping sites, but the carrier reserves the right to alter these stopping places in case of necessity. The passenger's ticket should show the name and address of the carrier or carriers that the passenger will use.
This is where the passenger will travel using more than one carriage. There should also be a statement that explicitly says that the carriage will be subject to the Warsaw convention rules relating to liability. A luggage ticket must be issued for any luggage other than small personal objects, which the passenger will be in charge of. The ticket should contain the following details:
- The date and place of its issue
- The place of departure and place of destination of the luggage
- Name and address of the carrier or carriers
- Name of the passenger ticket
- There should be a declaration that luggage delivery will be made to the luggage ticket bearer only
- • The number and weight of the packages being transported
- • The amount of the value declared
- • A written declaration that the carriage is subject to liability rules established by this convention
It's important to remember that the absence of the ticket doesn't affect the validity of the contract of carriage. However, if the carrier accepts luggage without a luggage ticket, or the luggage ticket doesn’t contain particulars as determined by the Warsaw Convention, then the carrier cannot be held liable for loss or damage to the luggage.
Real World Examples Of Warsaw Convention
In March 2021, a passenger sued and won against Flair Airlines of Canada in a case where the carrier lost her luggage. Although the carrier tried to have the case moved to the country’s transportation agency, the tribunal agreed to hear the complaint. The passenger had paid $105 for her luggage to be transported from Edmonton to Vancouver in March 2020. However, the bag did not get to its destination. The passenger went ahead and sued the airline.
She demanded $2,323 in compensation for the contents of the bag. It was carrying her books, clothing, makeup, and hair products whose total claims she gave to be $2500. The carrier argued that it cannot compensate the passenger for packed items since she did not produce a sales receipt for them.
Warsaw Convention vs Montreal Convention
The Montreal Convention was established in 2003. Essentially, it modernizes the Warsaw Convention of 1929. The Montreal Convention unifies all other international treaties that govern airline travel. It fixes some areas such as the maximum liabilities for compensation for lost luggage to 1,131 SDR per passenger. This is a departure from the Warsaw Convention which paid for lost luggage by the weight of the baggage.
Some countries have ratified the Montreal Convention, while others have not yet ratified it, meaning they are still party to the Warsaw Convention. The Montreal Convention generally increases and changes maximum liability for carriers for lost baggage. It also covers compensation for flight delays, cancellations, and other travel disruptions.