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The question of compensation from airlines is a topical one but also a fairly unusual one.

The UK and most other countries are signatories to The Montreal Convention which sets international standards and limits for what compensation can be claimed from airlines.  The convention relates to personal injury, breach of contract, loss of luggage and most other forms of compensation relating to mistakes and accidents that can and do happen to air travellers.

A Spanish court has this week ruled that the maximum amount anyone can claim for lost luggage is £1000.  Therefore, if you have, for example, diamonds in your luggage worth £400,000 and they are lost, then the most the airline will pay you is £1000. 

Of course you may protect against such an unfortunate event with various forms of insurance but in terms of common law and compensation action the max is £1000.

The question in Spain was whether compensation for ‘sentimental value’ could be claimed for lost luggage over and above the £1000 threshold.  The answer from the European Court of Justice was a resounding “no”.

The Montreal Convention remains an anomaly out with the scope of common law.

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