China Airlines Not at Fault for Lost Luggage: Judge

China Airlines
Photo via Wikimedia Commons

A judge ruled in favor of China Airlines (中華航空) in a case brought by Mr. Wu (吳) over lost luggage that contained camera equipment.

Mr. Wu claimed that his checked luggage on a flight from Beijing to Taoyuan over a year ago was lost and that he was entitled to compensation for the valuables it contained, UDN reported. Mr. Wu had a disagreement with ground crew as his luggage was overweight, but staff finally agreed to allow his baggage.

After arriving in Taiwan, one of his bags was delayed. Wu claims that the missing luggage contained a camera, lenses, and lithium-ion batteries, as well as other equipment. He claimed that it was either theft by ground crew or negligence on the part of China Airlines. He sought NT$660,000 (US$22,327) in compensation.

China Airlines responded that when Mr. Wu checked his luggage, he failed to inform staff that it contained lithium batteries that are prohibited from checked baggage. The airline said that security at Beijing Capital International Airport could search the luggage and confiscate the prohibited items.

In addition, the airline noted that Wu refused to sign a “passenger declaration” (旅客告知書) informing staff that valuables were in the checked luggage. Therefore, China Airlines argued, it was not responsible for and loss or damage to the camera equipment.

The judge ruled that Mr. Wu failed to prove that the camera equipment was lost or that China Airlines had been negligent in its handling of the luggage. Had he signed the declaration when checking his bags and removed the lithium batteries, he may have had a case against the airline.

According to China Airlines’ website, it is not responsible for lost or damaged luggage in the event that luggage is oversized or overweight. It also claims to not be liable for valuables in checked baggage. Compensation is limited to US$20 per kg of luggage with an additional charge to the passenger of US$1 per US$100 declared, and it will not accept any claim in excess of US$2500.

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