UAE: Can Passengers Claim Stolen, Lost Belongings During Flights?

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Published: Sun 23 Jun 2024, 8:25 AM

Last updated: Sun 23 Jun 2024, 8:41 AM

Question: I flew from Dubai to South Asia with a local carrier last month. As usual, I ensured that all my bags were properly sealed before boarding. When I reached home, however, I noticed that a few of my belongings, such as shoes and shirts worth more than Dh1,000, were missing. Can I claim my stolen or lost items? Is it the airline or the airport that is responsible for the loss? Your guidance about my rights is appreciated.

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Answer: An airline which has departed from the UAE or has arrived in the UAE shall be responsible for the checked-in luggage of its passengers. This is in accordance with Article 353(2) of the Federal Decree Law No. 50 of 2022 Issuing the Commercial Transactions Law, which states,“The luggage referred to in Clause (1) hereof shall mean the objects that may be carried by the passenger in the aircraft or delivered to the carrier to be in its custody, during the travel.”

An airline shall also be responsible for the damage or loss of checked-in luggage of its passengers. This is in accordance with Article 356 (1) of the UAE Commercial Transactions Law, which states,“The air carrier shall be responsible for the damage resulting from the destruction, loss or damage of the checked luggage and cargo if an accident occurs and results in damage during the air transport.”

In the event of damage or loss of luggage of passengers during transit and thereafter prior to delivery of the luggage to a passenger, an airline should compensate up to Dh500 per kilogram of luggage. This is in accordance with Article 359(2) of the UAE Commercial Transactions Law, which states:

"In case of transport of luggage and cargo, the remedy shall not exceed Dh500 for each kilogram, unless it is agreed on a higher amount. However, if the consignor sends a special statement upon delivering the luggage or cargo indicating the special importance imparted to the delivery thereof in good condition at the destination due to its value, and pays the additional fare requested by the carrier, the carrier shall pay the remedy in the amount specified by the consignor, unless the carrier proves that such value exceeds the real value of luggage and cargo.”

For any loss or damage of luggage, a passenger may file a civil claim against the airline either (1) in the courts which has territorial jurisdiction over the arrival/departure destinations, (2) in the court under whose jurisdiction the head office of the airline is located or (3) in the court as mentioned in the travel contract (air ticket) between a passenger and an airline. This is in accordance with Article 368 of the UAE Commercial Transactions Law, which states,“The claimant shall have the option to file action before any of the following courts:

1. The court in which circuit the domicile of the carrier is located.

2. The court in which circuit the head office of the carrier's activity is located

3. The court in which circuit the establishment or the facility that concludes a contract for him, is located.

4. The court of the destination.

Each term amends the rules of jurisdiction referred to shall be null and void if stipulated before the occurrence of damage.”

Based on the aforementioned provisions of law, you should check your air ticket to determine the terms and conditions related to the loss of checked-in luggage. Thereafter, you may file a written complaint related to the loss of your personal belongings with the relevant airline. In the event of non-cooperation, you may file a complaint with the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and thereafter if required you may consider filing a case against the airline at the Dubai Court. Alternatively, you may also look for options of filing for legal remedies in the court which has jurisdiction over the location (airport) in the South Asian destination where your personal belongings went missing.

Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom and India. Full details of his firm on: Readers may e-mail their questions to: ... or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.


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