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Convention de Montréal – Your rights in the event of delay, loss or damage to your baggage

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Montreal Convention - Your rights in the event of insurance problems
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The most important facts about the “Montreal Convention” 

  • The Montreal Convention applies generally to all international transportation of passengers, baggage and goods, whether for payment or not. 
  • It was adopted in 1999 and has since been ratified by over 130 countries. 
  • The agreement obliges airlines to pay compensation in the event of accidents. 
  • However, other regulations apply in the event of delays and cancelations. 
  • Passengers have the right to compensation in the event of overbooking, cancelations or delays of 3 hours or more. 
  • The amount of compensation depends on the flight distance and the duration of the delay. 
  • Passengers may also be entitled to care services in the event of cancelations and delays. 
  • The Warsaw Convention continues to apply to countries that have not signed the Montreal Convention. 
  • In case of doubt, passengers should contact Flightright. 
  • Early notification and documentation of flight delays and cancelations is helpful for a later claim for compensation. 


Did you have a flight delay or cancelation? Check your rights now and increase your chances of compensation

Montreal Convention: You’re waiting for your suitcase on the conveyor belt, but it doesn’t show up. So you’re going on vacation or to a business meeting without your luggage? Or is your suitcase on the conveyor belt, but it’s completely damaged or even open, with some of its contents missing?

Air passenger rights: did you know that you are entitled to damages in the event of delay, loss or damage to your baggage? Rights in the event of baggage damage are governed by the Montreal Convention. Here you’ll find all you need to know about this convention and what to look out for in the event of a claim.

What is the Montreal Convention?

The Montreal Convention was concluded on May 28, 1999, and came into force on June 28, 2004, after being recognized by the member states. The Montreal Convention governs international air transport between ratifying states, and replaces the Warsaw Convention. Among other things, it governs rights in the event of baggage problems, personal injury and delays.

The Montreal Convention applies in general to all international carriage of passengers, baggage and goods, whether for payment or not. Carriage between two places in the same country is not protected by this convention. However, since the Montreal Convention was implemented at European level by Regulation (EC) 889 / 2002, there has been an exception whereby domestic flights within the EU also fall within the scope of the Montreal Convention. The aim of the Montreal Convention is to standardize certain transport rules in the field of international air transport.

What is the scope of the Montreal Convention?

Signatory countries include the European Union, the United States, Australia and Japan. But there are also many tourist countries (e.g. Turkey, Bahamas, Bolivia, Russia, Senegal, Sudan, Togo, Tunisia, Thailand, Niger, Mauritius, Gabon, Ghana, Mozambique, Costa Rica, Korea, Ivory Coast and Cambodia) that have not signed the Montreal Convention. In countries that have not yet ratified it, the Warsaw Convention of 1929 is generally still in force.

Here you’ll find a list of members of the Montreal Convention, from Albania to Vietnam. The table below clearly indicates the flights for which the Montreal Convention offers protection:

Travel itinerary/air routeNo stopoverStopover in a contracting stateStopover in a non-contracting state
Flight between two contracting statesYesYesYes
Flight within a contracting state (non-EU member)NoYesYes
Flight within a contracting state (EU member)YesYesYes

Scope of the Montreal Convention

To find out whether the Montreal Convention applies to you, you need to know whether your flight’s departure and arrival airports are located in the territory of two of the party states. At European level, the Montreal Convention has been ratified by EC regulation 889/2002. This means that national flights within certain member states are also subject to the Montreal Convention, even if they do not meet the criteria for international transport. However, it does apply to round-trip flights to and from a contracting state, and therefore also to round-trip flights from an EU country to a non-contracting state.

Important: the Warsaw Convention continues to apply to countries that have not signed the Montreal Convention.

Convention de Montréal – What are my rights in the event of a baggage problem?

In the event of damage, delay or loss of your baggage, you are entitled to compensation in accordance with the Montreal Convention. This compensation amounts to a maximum of approximately 1,675 euros per person, regardless of the number of baggage items. The right applies in the following cases: Delayed baggage, damaged baggage, lost baggage.

1. Montreal Convention – In the event of baggage delay, applies :

If a suitcase is delayed, travelers have the right to purchase replacement clothing and cosmetics at a reasonable price. They can then be reimbursed by the airline for the corresponding expenses. The maximum amount for replacement purchases is approximately 1,675 euros per passenger. If the suitcase is delayed on the return flight, you have no reason to make replacement purchases.

Important: if the suitcase arrives late at home, there is no reason to make replacement purchases and therefore no right to a refund.

2. Montreal Convention – In the case of broken suitcases (damage to luggage), the rule is as follows:

If the baggage is damaged, repair (if repair of the baggage is possible) or replacement of the current value of the damaged baggage or contents must be offered. The airline is liable to pay damages if the baggage has been damaged during the flight. Even in the event of baggage damage, passengers are entitled to maximum compensation of around 1,675 euros. The amount of compensation is calculated on the basis of the current value of the suitcase.

Important: if you are responsible for the damage yourself (e.g. faulty checked-in luggage, misplaced fragile items), the airline is not obliged to compensate you for the damage.

3. Montreal Convention – In the event of lost baggage, the rule is as follows:

If baggage is delayed for more than 21 days, it is considered lost. Even in the event of baggage loss, the maximum compensation is 1,675 euros per passenger. In the event of baggage loss, the cost of replacement purchases must be reimbursed, and a replacement of the current value of the suitcase and its contents must be offered. For particularly valuable luggage, it’s worth taking out additional insurance.

In the event of loss, the compensation amount will certainly not replace everything in your suitcase. No amount of money in the world can buy personal items. Nevertheless, you should assert your rights. If you choose the experts at Flightright, we will reliably enforce your right to compensation against the airline. Without any cost risk: no compensation, no fee.

Not only has your suitcase been delayed, but also your flight? If the delay exceeds three hours, you may be entitled to compensation.

As a passenger, you have a right to compensation in each of the situations described above.
According to the Montreal Convention, passengers are entitled to compensation in the event of baggage delay, baggage loss and baggage damage. The amount of this compensation is a maximum of around 1,675 euros per person, regardless of the number of pieces of baggage.

Have you also been affected by an overbooking, flight cancelation or a missed connecting flight? Check your flight now. Simple ✔ fast ✔ & without risk ✔

When did the airline inform you of the flight cancelation or delay?
On the day of the flight or less than 14 days before or more than 14 days before departure.

Do I receive compensation under the Montreal Convention?

You can claim compensation from the airline in the following situations: Baggage delay, baggage damage, baggage loss.

The Montreal Convention defines the conditions under which you are entitled to compensation in the event of baggage damage. As an injured passenger, you don’t have to prove why or by whom the baggage was damaged, mistreated or lost. By making a written declaration within the time limit set at the airport, the PIR (Property Irregularity Report) form, you preserve your right to compensation.

If the airline intentionally and culpably damages your baggage, the actual damage is compensated without restriction. However, you must prove that this actually happened. If your baggage is lost on a multi-city flight insured by several airlines, you can choose which airline to claim compensation from. Whether it’s a charter, scheduled or low-cost flight, even your booking class has no influence on your right to compensation.

Compensation can always be claimed per person, not per suitcase. If two passengers share a suitcase, the liability limit applies to both up to approximately 1,600 euros (1,288 SDR). Important: the limitation period is two years, liability is independent of fault, and compensation is per person, not per suitcase.

How do I handle valuable luggage?

As compensation is limited to around 1,675 euros, it’s worth taking out additional insurance for valuable luggage.

What are my rights in the event of bodily injury?

In the event of personal injury, the carrier is liable up to a maximum of 128,821 Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), which are currently converted (worth around €166,813). SDRs represent an international unit which must be converted into foreign currency and which is regularly and dynamically adjusted. For damage exceeding this amount, the carrier’s liability is unlimited in the event of presumed fault.

What are the deadlines for baggage damage (baggage delay, baggage damage, baggage loss)?

Compliance with these deadlines is crucial to any claim for compensation. In the Montreal Convention, time limits are given in calendar days (not working days!).

If you leave the airport WITHOUT reporting the damage or loss of your baggage, it is presumed to be intact or to have been delivered on time. You will then have to prove yourself that the damage was caused by the carrier, which is difficult. So check your luggage for damage immediately at the airport, take photos and lodge a complaint if your luggage is damaged or delayed.

The deadlines for notifying the airline in writing of damage are different for damaged, delayed and lost baggage:

Luggage problem (what is it?)What you need to doClaim deadline
Delay of checked baggage (more than 3 hours).Important: after landing, go directly to the Lost & Found counter at the airport or directly to the airline and present the baggage sticker that was affixed to your boarding pass at check-in. [more…..]Declaration of loss IMMEDIATELY (max. 7 days after arrival). Re-declaration of loss within 21 days of baggage delivery.
Damage to checked baggageIf your suitcase is broken after the flight, you must document the damage and inform the airline of the problem. To do this, it is advisable to submit photos of the damaged luggage to the airline. [more…..]Within 7 days, preferably immediately after discovering the damage.    
Delayed and damaged baggageDelays must be reported immediately to the airport. In addition, report any damage in writing to the airline. Declaration of loss IMMEDIATELY (max. 7 days after arrival).Damage Report IMMEDIATELY (max. 7 days after receipt)
Loss of checked baggage (after 21 days)For a successful refund, passengers must declare the loss of their baggage on the spot after the flight and fill in the Property Irregularity Report. The airline and baggage counter staff will usually ask you to fill in a loss report for the lost suitcase and provide your address [more…..].Report the loss to the airline immediately, even before leaving the airport. The baggage is officially considered lost only after 21 days. After that, you have two years to submit a written claim for compensation to the airline.

Convention de Montréal – Time limits for damage to baggage

Important: if you fail to comply with the respective deadlines, you lose your right to compensation from the airline. The only exception is in cases where the carrier has acted maliciously. However, on the one hand, this is extremely difficult to prove, and on the other, it is a rare exception.

What is the amount of damages in the event of baggage damage?

What is the amount of compensation in the event of baggage damage?

The liability limit for a baggage claim under the Montreal Convention is 1,288 SDRs. The SDR is an artificial currency introduced in 1969 by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This virtual currency is converted into euros on the day of the claim. The maximum compensation amounts to around 1,675 euros per person, regardless of the number of baggage items. However, this is not a lump sum per baggage claim. The damage to be compensated is calculated on the basis of the information provided by the traveler. Unfortunately, no compensation will be paid for inconvenience or lost time.

Montreal Convention – Important steps in the event of baggage damage

1. Claim form – Property Irregularity Report (PIR) / declaration of loss

Report the damage immediately to the airport (request PIR or Damage Report).

2. Immediately report the damage to the airport (request PIR or Damage Report).

Within 21 days of recovering your baggage, send a new written claim to the airline (flight documents, receipts, replacement purchases).

3. Meet deadlines

It is imperative that you comply with the time limits for filing claims for baggage damage (delayed baggage, damaged baggage, lost baggage)!

4. Check damaged luggage immediately

We recommend that you provide photos of the damaged baggage to the airline. To obtain reimbursement, you must complete an official Property Irregularity Report at the airport. You can also declare the damage in writing to the airline no later than 7 days after receipt of the damaged bag.

The Montreal Convention in a nutshell

The Montreal Convention governs :

  • International air transport between contracting states.
  • Liability for baggage loss, baggage damage, baggage delay, personal injury and baggage delay.
  • Airlines are responsible for checked baggage through no fault of their own.
  • All EU member countries have ratified the Montreal Convention.
  • The limitation period for all baggage damage is two years.
  • The liability limit is 1,288 SDR (maximum approx. 1,675 euros).
  • There is no lump-sum compensation.
  • Compensation per person, not per suitcase.

Air passenger rights – Baggage checklist

On our website, we want to inform you as fully as possible about your aviation rights and ensure that you have all the relevant information at your fingertips in the event of a claim.

To this end, we’ve put together a clear checklist of other useful tips to help you manage your luggage problems.

Checklist: Information and documents required to obtain compensation for baggage problems

  • Property Irregularity Report (PIR) form
  • Boarding tickets with flight number
  • Baggage tag number
  • Luggage information
  • List of suitcase contents and invoices, if any
  • Photos of damaged luggage
  • receipts for emergency purchases

How can Flightright help you?

You’re waiting at the baggage carousel for your suitcase, but it doesn’t show up. So you set off on vacation or to your business appointments without your luggage? Or your suitcase is on the baggage carousel but is completely damaged or even open and some of the contents are missing? In each of the situations described, you as a passenger have a right to compensation.

As a passenger, you have a right to compensation in each of the situations described above.
According to the Montreal Convention, passengers are entitled to compensation in the event of baggage delay, baggage loss and baggage damage. The amount of this compensation is a maximum of around 1,675 euros per person, regardless of the number of pieces of baggage.

Tip: Flightright helps you to enforce your passenger rights! With us, you can check your claims free of charge in two minutes. ✔️Easy, ✔️fast ✔️& without risk

As the market-leading consumer portal, Flightright fights for the enforcement of air passenger rights. We stand up for your rights in the event of a flight delay, cancelation or denied boarding and refer to the European Union’s Air Passenger Rights Regulation 261/2004. Flightright’s air passenger rights experts are also happy to help you with ticket refunds and refunds for canceled package tours.

As experts in the field of air passenger rights, we enforce your right to compensation against the airline!

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