Air Travel

Introduction to Slides on Montreal Convention

The Montreal Convention 1999, as it is typically and informally known, is an agreement between states which came into force in 2004. Under this Convention ratifying states have agreed to aim to achieve global rules for deciding when an airline must pay compensation for passenger harm and cargo harm. These slides deal only with passenger harm.

The types of harm covered by the rules are death/bodily injury, flight/baggage delay and checked baggage/hand luggage damage/loss. Once a state ratifies the Montreal Convention airlines can not use their Conditions of Carriage or booking terms to deny the application of Montreal.

There is no global court which gives binding rulings on what the words used in the Montreal Convention mean. Combined with sometimes vague language in the Convention, it does happen that different courts in different states adopt different interpretations of the same words in Montreal.

The slides cover the following main topics:

  • the types of passenger air travel which are governed by Montreal
  • whether an airline needs to at fault in order to be liable
  • what types of bodily injury are/are not governed by Montreal
  • suing the airline or someone else (airport/fellow passenger)
  • the difficulty of obtaining compensation from airlines for flight delay under Montreal and the emergence of new regional/local laws offering better protection for delayed passengers
  • checked baggage
  • hand luggage
  • time periods within which claims must be made or are barred
  • where to sue an airline
  • whether claims against airlines outside Montreal (under local law) are barred

Marc Mc Donald


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