“The Montreal Convention, successor to the outdated Warsaw Convention, is the exclusive remedy for international airline passengers who have suffered everything from loss of baggage to an injury, or death. The Montreal Convention has limitations but also some benefits for passengers seeking compensation for their losses,” said Ladd Sanger, Slack Davis Sanger aviation attorney. “Most passengers, and their families, are unaware of the applicability of the Montreal Convention and how to navigate getting fair compensation from the airline.”
About the Montreal Convention
- The Montreal Convention of 1999 became effective November 4, 2003, after it was ratified by the requisite 30 countries
- The Montreal Convention is a combination of the original Warsaw Convention of 1929, the Hague Protocol, Montreal Protocols 3 and 4, Guatemala City Protocol and Guadalajara Supplementary Convention of 1961
- Its two-tier liability system references monetary compensation in terms of “special drawing rights” (SDRs), which have equivalency to currency systems worldwide
The Fifth Jurisdiction
Under the Warsaw Convention, there were instances where a passenger could not bring a case in his or her home domicile. To correct this, the Montreal Convention adds a fifth jurisdiction, to allow plaintiffs to bring their claims in the country of their principal and permanent residence at the time of the accident.
The practical application of this provision is important when dealing with itineraries involving multiple carriers and the “accident’ occurs in a foreign country.This provision, however, is subject to some restrictions, including the requirement that the carrier must operate passenger service and conduct business in the country of the passenger’s residence.
Broader Protection for Passengers under the Montreal Convention
The Montreal Convention gives passengers much broader protection when injured on international flights. Under the Montreal Convention, a carrier is liable without proof of fault, in the event of death or bodily injury of a passenger caused by an accident on board the aircraft or in the course of any of the operations of embarking or disembarking. Also important is that if any part of a passenger’s itinerary has an international component, then the convention will apply to the entire trip. For example, if a passenger travels from McAllen, Texas, to Dallas-Fort Worth to London and an accident occurs on the domestic McAllen to Dallas-Fort Worth portion of the flight, the Montreal Convention would still apply.
For additional information about the Montreal Convention and how it may pertain to injuries that occured during an international trip, please contact our office.