DOT Fines Alitalia for Violating International Baggage Liability Rule
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today assessed a civil penalty of $80,000 against Alitalia, an airline based in Italy, for violating an international treaty by limiting reimbursement to passengers whose baggage was lost or delayed on Alitalia flights to and from the United States.
“Consumers have a right to be treated fairly when they fly, and are entitled to appropriate compensation when their bags are lost or delayed,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We will continue to take enforcement action when airline baggage rules are violated.”
Following complaints filed with DOT by consumers, the Department’s Aviation Enforcement Office investigated Alitalia’s baggage policy. It found that for a number of flights to and from the United States, Alitalia was limiting reimbursements to between $50 and $75 per day of delay regardless of the amount of the expenses claimed by passengers or whether they provided original receipts documenting their expenses.
Alitalia’s policy violated a provision of the Montreal Convention, an international agreement setting rules for international air travel. The agreement says that carriers may not limit their liability for loss or damage to checked baggage to less than approximately $1,700 per person, an amount that fluctuates based on currency conversion rates.
The consent order is available on the Internet at www.regulations.gov, docket DOT-OST 2012-0002.