Montreal Convention – an international legal basis
The Montreal Convention was concluded on May 28, 1999, and entered into force on June 28, 2004, when it was recognized by the member states. The Montreal Convention regulates international air transportation between contracting states that have ratified the Montreal Convention and replaces the Warsaw Convention. Among other things, it regulates claims in the event of baggage problems, personal injury and delays.
Scope of the Montreal Convention
The aim of the Montreal Convention (MÜ) is to standardize certain transport regulations in international air traffic.
The signatory countries include the countries of the European Union, the USA, Australia and Japan. However, there are also many vacation countries that have not signed the MÜ such as: Turkey, Bahamas, Bolivia, Russia, Senegal, Sudan, Togo, Tunisia, Thailand, Niger, Mauritius, Gabon, Ghana, Mozambique, Costa Rica, Korea, Ivory Coast and Cambodia. Whether the Montreal Convention applies in your case depends on whether the departure and destination airports of your flight are located in the territories of two of the contracting states. The Montreal Convention was ratified at the European level by Regulation EC 889/2002. This means that domestic flights within individual member states are also subject to the MÜ, even if they do not fulfill the characteristic of international carriage. However, it applies if the flight is a return flight from or to a contracting state, thus also in the case of a return flight from an EU country to a non-contracting state. For those states that have not signed the MÜ, the Warsaw Convention continues to apply.
Your claims in case of baggage problems
In the event of damaged, delayed or lost baggage, you are entitled to compensation under the Montreal Convention. Compensation is limited to 1131 Special Drawing Rights (SDR) (approximately €1300) per traveler.
The entitlement applies in the following cases:
- If the luggage is damaged, a repair or replacement must be offered for the current value of the luggage or the damaged contents. If you are responsible for the damage yourself (check in defective suitcases, fragile items not stowed sensibly), the airline does not have to pay for the damage incurred.
- If the luggage is delayed, the cost of replacement purchases must be covered by the airline. The maximum amount for replacement purchases is 1131 SDRs (approximately €1300). If the luggage is delayed on the return flight, you have no reason for replacement purchases.
- If the luggage is lost, the cost of replacement purchases must be reimbursed and a replacement for the current value of the suitcase and its contents must be offered.
In the case of particularly valuable luggage, additional insurance is worthwhile.
Your claims in case of personal injury
In case of personal injury, the carrier is liable up to a maximum of 128,821 SDRs (154,460 €). For damages in excess of this, there is unlimited liability on the part of the air carrier for presumed fault.
A brief summary of the Montreal Convention for you
The Montreal Convention regulates:
- the international carriage by air between the contracting states.
- liability for loss of baggage, damage to baggage and delay of baggage, personal injury and damage caused by delay.
- Airlines are liable for checked baggage regardless of fault.
- all EU member states have ratified the Montreal Convention.
- the limitation period for all baggage damage is 2 years.
- the limit of liability is 1,131 SDR (approx. 1,300 €).
- there is no lump sum compensation.