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LEGAL ISSUES

The Downside of Losing Your Old Baggage

How to seek compensation from an airline.
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Q: My family and I purchased tickets from San Francisco to Madrid on American Airlines. AA ticketed us SF to Miami on AA and Miami to Madrid on Iberia Air--an AA flight operated by Iberia. The AA flight was late; we made the connection, but our baggage did not. We got two of our bags after 36 hours, but the third bag weighing over 40 pounds never arrived. We spent almost $800 to purchase clothing and personal items and in costs of phoning. We were told by Iberia to keep the receipts and we would be reimbursed later on. We filed our claims upon arrival in Madrid with Iberia. After more than 35 days, AA is telling us it is Ibera's problem. Iberia is stating that it will not reimburse us for more than $630 according to 1955 Warsaw convention rules. So far, we have not received a penny. My air tickets cost more than $3,300 and the content of my bag is well over $2,500. Any suggestions?

A: My suggestion: Walk whenever possible.

Unfortunately for you, the Warsaw Convention rules do apply to bags on international flights and the limit of liability is $9.07 per pound--up to a 70-pound maximum. When you do the math, that comes to $634.90.

You may be able to collect something additional by going after American; the normal assumption is that the originating airline is responsible for lost luggage. Your best bet is to ask the airline for a discount off of future travel. Only if you seek will you find out whether it delivers on the AAdvantage it promises.

Copyright 1999 Nolo.com Inc.

Last updated: Oct 22, 1999




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