An air passenger is entitled to compensation from the airline in the case of delayed, lost or damaged luggage. The amount of the compensation is limited to approximately €1.220. The exact limit is 1.000 Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), the value of which is determined by the International Monetary Fund and varies daily.
It is possible to agree on an increased liability limit for luggage with the airline prior to commencing travel, but doing so is subject to an additional fee.
If the value of lost items exceeds the airline's liability for luggage, you may claim additional compensation from your insurance company.
Luggage is considered delayed if it fails to arrive at your destination on the same flight you are on. Fill out a PIR form (Property Irregularity Report) in the arrivals hall at the airport and make sure you get a copy of it. The right to compensation for delayed luggage often depends on whether the luggage is delayed on the outbound leg of the journey or the return leg.
You can claim compensation from the airline for necessary purchases such as personal hygiene items and clothing needed during the period of time you must spend without your luggage at the destination. The passenger must minimise the costs incurred through making necessary purchases, in other words, delayed luggage is not grounds for splurging on a new wardrobe.
As delayed luggage on the return leg generally does not cause the same degree of inconvenience as it does on the outbound leg, in most cases the passenger does not have a case for compensation.
Some airlines may offer their customers a set of necessary items or a voucher to make essential purchases.
When your delayed luggage has been delivered to you, file a written claim for compensation for financial losses within 21 days. Address the claim to the airline and enclose a copy of the PIR form and receipts of any necessary purchases you had to make. Write a brief description of the purchases on the receipts. Retain copies of the receipts.
An airline is not responsible for delayed luggage if it can prove that it took all measures that can be reasonably expected to avoid the damages in question. Compensation generally does not apply in cases where delayed luggage is the result of weather conditions, security risks or labour disputes. However, the airline must provide proof of the cause of the delay and justify the actions it took.
Luggage that is not found within 21 days of arrival is considered lost. File a claim for compensation to the airline for the lost items. The claim should include the PIR form and an inventory of the contents of the lost suitcase or bag including the value and time of purchase of each item.
The airline may request you to provide proof of the value of the lost items in the form of receipts. If you do not have receipts, indicate the time of purchase and purchase price in the inventory. Note that you will not be compensated for the full purchase price or the price of a new item to replace the lost one, as the compensation amount will be adjusted for utility received and depreciation.
If your luggage is damaged, file a claim with the airline by filling out a PIR form immediately after your arrival at the airport.
The airline is liable in the event that registered luggage is damaged, lost or destroyed while under the care of the airline. If you do not file a report immediately after taking receipt of the suitcase or bag, it may be practically impossible for you to prove that the damage occurred while the luggage was under the airline's care. The airline is not liable if the damage is caused by a defect in or poor quality of the suitcase or bag. With regards to damage to carry-on bags, the airline is only liable if the damage was caused by negligence on the part of the airline or a person in its employ.
In addition to filling out the PIR form, you must also file a written claim for damages with the airline. File the written claim for damages immediately upon observing the damage and always within seven days of taking receipt of the luggage. Otherwise your right to compensation will expire.
- Describe the damage caused.
- Attach a copy of the PIR form to your written claim for damages.
- Enclosing a photograph of the damage to the luggage can support your case when the claim is processed.
- Be prepared to prove the value of the damaged item and note that compensation for used items will be lower than their full purchase price.
Complaint to the authorities
If you need assistance in resolving a dispute, contact the Consumer Advisory Service, who will help and mediate in disputes.
Consumer Advisory Service
The Consumer Advisory Service also provides an opinion on whether there are grounds for taking the matter to the Consumer Disputes Board. The Consumer Advisory Service will refer your case, if appropriate, to the European Consumer Centre, which provides advice in disputes involving a foreign airline without an office in Finland, or when a non-Finnish customer files a complaints against a Finnish airline.