Passenger rights

Air Passenger rights in relation to baggage

The Montreal Convention is an international agreement that gives air passengers rights in the event of baggage delay, damage or loss.

Airlines’ Liability

The Montreal Convention states that:

  • in the case of baggage delay, the air carrier is liable unless it took all reasonable measures to avoid the delay or it was impossible to take such measures.

  • the air carrier is liable for destruction, loss or damage to baggage. In the case of checked baggage, it is liable even if not at fault, unless the baggage was defective. In the case of unchecked baggage, the carrier is liable only if at fault.
Passengers can demand from the airline up to 1,000 ‘Special Drawing Rights’ (SDRs) (approximately €1,200) for delay, damage or loss to baggage. The value of an SDR is based on a basket of international currencies. The calculation is made daily by the International Monetary Fund and is available on

What to do if something goes wrong with your baggage

If you encounter any difficulties with your baggage, report the problem immediately at the airport to the airline’s agent or representative. Most airlines insist that you complete a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) before you leave the baggage hall. Filling out a PIR may also help your claim against the airline, as you have proof that the problem was notified to the airline at the time of discovery.

In every case, you should notify the airline of the problem while in the baggage hall, a PIR should be filled out and you should make sure you receive a copy of this report. A copy of the PIR should then be sent to the airline with a written claim within the time limits below.

Time limits

The Montreal Convention states that a written claim must be sent to the airline within the following time limits:

  • in the case of baggage delay a written complaint must be made to the airline within 21 days of the baggage being placed at your disposal.

  • in the case of lost luggage, the Convention states that checked baggage is considered lost if it has not arrived twenty-one days after the date on which it was due to arrive. The Convention does not give a deadline for reporting lost luggage so you should check the airline’s terms and conditions in relation to this issue.

  • in the case of damage to baggage, the Convention states that the passenger has to make a written complaint within seven days from the date of the receipt of the luggage.
Tips in relation to baggage delay / damage / loss

  • While the Montreal Convention gives you rights, there are limits to the airlines’ liability. If you have travel insurance there may be a provision for compensation in relation to any difficulties you may have with your baggage.

  • Many insurance policies limit the total amount they will pay out for loss, damage or delay to baggage and also apply a limit on the amount they pay out for single items. As the airlines’ liability is also limited a good travel tip is to ensure that you do not carry expensive or valuable items or important documents in your checked baggage.

  • In the case of baggage delay, some airlines contend that as your bag has only been delayed and will eventually be returned to you, you are not at a loss. Where airlines offer to make payments as compensation for the delay, some may pay you a set amount per day (which is usually subject to a maximum number of days / maximum amount) and some may refund any essential expenditure you incurred, provided you can provide receipts. This policy and amount is set by the airline, so make sure to check out the airline’s policy but do remember that the Montreal Convention provides for compensation unless the airline took all reasonable measures to avoid the delay or it was impossible to take such measures.

  • Remember that a Property Irregularity Report does not constitute a written claim. A written claim must be sent to the airline in addition to completing the PIR.

  • Remember that the airline is not obliged under the Montreal Convention to pay you any compensation, even if they are at fault, if you do not submit a written complaint within the times outlined above.

Air Passenger Rights in the event of Denied Boarding, Cancellation or Delay

On February 17th 2005 “EU Regulation 261/2004 on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights” came into effect.

The Commission for Aviation Regulation has been designated as the body responsible for the enforcement of this Regulation in Ireland.

Further information on your rights under this Regulation and on the Commission for Aviation’s role in the enforcement of this Regulation is available on the Commission’s website

Refunds, Changes, Baggage Allowances and Taxes, Fees and Charges

Make sure to carefully read the terms and conditions on the ticket before completing your booking. Most airline tickets are non-refundable, this should be outlined in the terms and conditions. Some airlines allow you to make changes to your ticket, once you meet certain criteria and pay a change fee.

If you cannot travel and your ticket is non-refundable, some airlines will allow you apply for a refund of relevant taxes, fees and charges. However, they may charge you an administration fee and where the fee is more than the refund due, no refund will be issued.

Make sure you carefully read the airline’s terms and conditions in relation to baggage allowances. Airlines are free to set their own baggage allowances and these allowances can vary from airline to airline. Excess baggage fees are also set by the airlines themselves and can vary. Make sure to check what the baggage allowance is – if you do not stick to the allowance the airline is entitled to charge you excess baggage charges.