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Caribbean Airlines fined

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Caribbean Airlines fined

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Caribbean Airlines has been fined US$60,000 for limiting reimbursements to its customers for lost, damaged and delayed baggage.
The US Department of Transportation (DOT), which imposed the fine, said in a statement Friday that the Trinidad-based carrier was reimbursing consumers with less than they were entitled to under an international treaty.
“Both domestic and international travellers have a right to be fairly compensated for lost, delayed and damaged baggage,” US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. “Consumers have the right to be treated fairly when they fly, and we will continue to take enforcement action when their rights are violated,” said the DOT.
Under the Montreal Convention, an international agreement that sets liability limits for international air transportation, airlines are liable for damage caused by delayed baggage up to a limit that is the equivalent of just under US$1,800, unless the carrier has taken all reasonable measures to prevent the damage or it was impossible to take these measures.
According to the organisation, the Convention requires carriers to compensate passengers for loss, damage or delay of baggage on international flights in most cases. It also forbids carriers from setting a lower baggage compensation limit for international flights or from refusing to accept liability for the loss of any types of baggage, such as jewellery, electronics, or other high-value items.
It was a review of the Caribbean Airline website last spring by the Department’s Aviation Enforcement Office that led to an investigation of the carrier’s baggage-liability policies, revealing numerous violations of the Convention between March 1, 2010 and April 30, 2011, said the release.
It also states that the carrier routinely told passengers that it was not liable for the loss of irreplaceable or high-value items such as electronics, jewellery, cameras or cash; and the carrier’s website also stated that it would not compensate passengers for the loss of these items. Accordingly, in a number of cases, passengers found that some of these expensive items had been removed from carry-on bags they were required to check in after boarding because of cabin space limitations.
In addition, the DOT said Caribbean Airlines violated the Convention by regularly refusing to pay claims for damaged baggage and by limiting payments for buying necessities due to delayed bags to $25-$75 per day. Caribbean Airlines also frequently required passengers to file a report on their missing property before leaving the airport terminal, which unreasonably limited the time they had to discover that items were missing from their baggage.