Airlines tend to have misplaced or delayed luggage every now and again and things like credit card coverage can help with that or the airline reimbursement policies themselves. Airlines do put a cap on the reimbursement for checked baggage that is lost, about $1,630 according to the Montreal Convention, so it is never a good idea to check something of extreme value in the baggage hold.
Judge Awards Passenger $1.74 Million for Lost Luggage
Well, according to a Nigerian businessman and the Lagos court that awarded him a judgment against Emirates, this does not protect Emirates from the liability of losing this man’s $1,630,000 (in US currency equivalency) on flights from Lagos, Nigeria to Dubai to Hong Kong to Guangzhou, China. The purpose of his trip was business and the money was for the purchase of the business products, according to the lawsuit. (read more about this here and here).
The When and How of the Lost Luggage
This all happened way back in 2007 and happened as the passenger was heading for the flight in Lagos. According to the suit, the passenger was stopped by airline officials who inquired to the contents of his two carryons. He was told that it would be safer if the money was in a secure place in the cockpit and they insisted he check it in. Of the $1.63 million, $930,000 was in bundles of $50,000 each and more unwrapped. Apparently, the $930,000 belonged to a fellow businessman in China.
Each of those stacks, assuming it was actually USD and $100 bills, would have been about 2.25″ high, making a total of 6 bundles that would be 6.75″ tall each (if they were stacked that way). So, it really isn’t as much money as many may think as far as the bulk and it would have been perfectly fine for carryon luggage.
According to the police investigation in Lagos and presented to the Federal High Court that ruled in this case, the two carryons containing the personal items and cash were never loaded on the place. The Court issued a judgment against Emirates for the $1.63 million that had been reported as lost and an additional 50 million NGN (about $131,000) for the trouble this has caused him in trying to track down the bags.
Of course, Emirates is appealing this decision and finds it “unmeritorious, frivolous, vexatious and constitute a gross abuse of the court’s process” according to this piece. As someone who previous had to deal with Emirates on a lost bag situation, I know how easy it can be for them to lost a piece of luggage on a perfectly simple journey (they lost my bag on a non-stop and it ended up on a different continent for weeks). But, this is certainly different from my situation since the value of my lost/delayed bag was far less than this situation! 🙂
I do have to say – if I was to be traveling with that much money, there is no way in the world that I would let it be parted from my possession. This was a major mistake on his part, though he says he was afraid he would miss his flight if he didn’t do this. I say, miss the flight and book with another airline if this airline will not let you fly with your carryon that does not violate carryon policy.