You can sue airlines for crew insults

UAE lawyers say country's laws allow for passengers to move court on these issues

Airlines are responsible for any damage to the passenger’s luggage, provided that it has not been caused by the passenger himself, according to lawyers in UAE.

The passenger must submit a written complaint with a specific date to the airline within seven days from the date of the loss of luggage or  within 21 days from the date of receipt of the luggage and discovery of its damaged contents, the lawyers said.

If the passenger does not get satisfactory settlement, he is entitled to file a lawsuit in court to claim damages.

Similarly, UAE law allows passengers to seek compensation if they are humiliated or insulted by a member of the air crew and also if a flight is cancelled or delayed without providing passengers with suitable accommodation and food.

But the passenger must prove that he has suffered as a result of delay or cancellation of a flight, like missing an examination or interview or appointment or the date of surgery in another country.

This came during Radio Noor Dubai’s ‘Rouh Al Qanoon’ (Spirit of the Law) programme presented by lawyer Essa bin Haider which discussed the airline passenger’s rights.

Meanwhile,  Kamran Al Salehi and Abdullah Al Khatib, professors of law at UAE University,  called on passengers to know their rights written on the air ticket.

[Read more on airport porters stealing from luggage] 

They asked passengers to inform the airline of any valuables in their luggage to enable the carrier to take precautions. If the passenger does not take precautions, compensation will not exceed $660, they added.

The UAE is one of the 97 countries that have ratified the Montreal Convention that sets compensation of Dh150 for every kilo of the luggage.

Passengers can launch lawsuits against airlines in four places: country where the carrier is based, countries where it operates, destination of the flight and place where the ticket was booked. If the passenger has health problems, he can start the case in the country where he lives.

Meanwhile, lawyers called for federal legislation on the subject, unifying the laws of the seven emirates.

Toddler hidden under luggage to escape fine

Passengers in an overcrowded car in Melbourne tried to hide an unrestrained toddler when an officer pulled them over for speeding, police say.

Patrol officers allegedly spotted the five-seater vehicle on the Monash Freeway on Sunday evening travelling nearly 30km/h over the speed limit.

When the 46-year-old driver was pulled over in the inner eastern suburb of Glen Iris, an officer saw there were six people inside, including a two-year-old child who was not wearing a seat belt.

Police say the passengers had even tried to hide the child under some luggage.

[Click here to read more on Air India flights to Gulf]

The driver then told police that he was heading to the airport and they couldn't find a babysitter, police say.

His car has been impounded for 30 days under Victoria's anti-hoon legislation and he's expected to face a variety of traffic charges, including speeding and driving with unrestrained passengers.

Airfares rise this summer could burn your pockets

Air travel could hit a high note this year if fuel prices continue to peak, said Qatar Airways chief Akbar Al Baker, adding that all airlines are equally burdened by the rising costs.

This news comes just as Emirates Chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum announced that Emirates’ fuel cost for the financial year 2011-2012 hit $2 billion.

While most airline chiefs in the Mideast have maintained that fuel price is the main decider of airfares, Al Baker spoke in greater detail about this at the ongoing Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, stating: “Fuel price continues to be a challenge to all airlines. In the case of Qatar Airways, we are hedged up until 2015; however, fuel does form a major of an airline’s annual cost structure.”

Al Baker stated that currently, fuel accounts for 41 per cent of Qatar Airways cost structure, which is approximately 5 percentage points up from the 36 per cent it accounted for in the 2010-2011.

When quizzed if airfares could rise further in 2012 because of the fuel, which has recently averaged $105 a barrel, al Baker said: “I maintain that airfares prices will fluctuate depending on the cost of fuel. Could airfares rise this year? Yes. But we can’t predict anything more.”

Yesterday, Emirates head Sheikh Ahmed also revealed that fuel is now accounting for 40-43 per cent of the airline’s costs, with full-year results being announced later in May.

He further added that Emirates expects its 2011 profits will not be higher than those in 2010 when it posted a 52-per cent rise to $1.5bn.

Both airline chiefs have always vehemently denied that the two Mideast carriers take advantage of fuel subsidies from its respective governments.

Al Baker reiterated it, saying: “I wish the State of Qatar would give us fuel subsidies so we wouldn’t have to hedge. But we buy fuel at market prices and receive no benefit.”

Summer deals in full swing

Meanwhile, as peak summer travel period approaches, industry pundits are advising travellers to make most of the deals that are currently on offer, promoting slashed airfares of up to 25 per cent with some carriers.

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways being the latest, which announced up to a 25 per cent cuts in fares to European, Asian destinations or 26 selected cities in the regions.

Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ Chief Commercial Officer, said in a statement: “Savvy travellers understand that the period just before the summer holiday season is the perfect time to book a great value getaway. We are pleased to offer this very special, limited-time offer to our guests so that they may see the world from the comfort of our award-winning Coral Economy and Pearl Business Class, but without breaking the bank.”

The airfares are applicable on Coral Economy and Pearl Business Class bookings but have to be made before May 4, for travel until May 31, 2012. All travel must be completed by May 31, the airline said in a statement sent to Emirates 24l7.

Emirates had announced a similar three-day sale back in February of this year, offering customers discounts of up to 30 per cent to select destinations across its network, with outbound travel to be commenced on or before June 10, 2012.




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