Lufthansa Fined for Improperly Limiting Reimbursements for Delayed Baggage
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today fined the German airline Deutsche Lufthansa AG $50,000 for limiting reimbursements for delayed baggage to less than consumers were entitled under an international treaty.
“Both domestic and international travelers have a right to fair compensation for lost or delayed baggage,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. “We are committed to protecting airline consumers and we will continue to take enforcement action when necessary.”
Under the Montreal Convention, an international agreement that sets liability limits for international air transportation, airlines are liable for damages caused by delayed baggage up to a limit that is the equivalent of approximately $1,821 in U.S. currency, unless the carrier has taken all reasonable measures to prevent the damage or it was impossible to take these measures. The Convention forbids carriers from setting a lower baggage compensation limit for international flights.
Based on a consumer complaint received by DOT, the Department’s Aviation Enforcement Office investigated Lufthansa’s handling of claims for delayed baggage. It found the carrier was limiting reimbursement to 50 percent of the claimed expense in a number of instances for flights to and from the United States. The Enforcement Office also found that Lufthansa had sent letters to passengers with baggage delay claims stating that the carrier would reimburse only 50 percent of the cost of clothing items.
The consent order is available on the Internet at www.regulations.gov, docket DOT-OST-2011-0003.