As an update to yesterday’s post about United killing my bag, doing some snooping around the Internet on small claims court I may have found an article that really helps my case. But first, here’s another dragster.

Illustration for article titled I May Be Able To Beat United

In a report published in November 2015, the DOT finds excluding damage to wheels or handles violates 14 CFR 254 and is an unfair practice under 49 U.S.C. § 41712.

We remind carriers and the public that for domestic transportation, “an air carrier shall not limit its liability for provable direct or consequential damages resulting from the disappearance of, or damage to, or delay in delivery of a passenger’s personal property, including baggage, in its custody to an amount less than $3,500 for each passenger.” 14 CFR 254.4. The Enforcement Office has long interpreted this section as precluding any lower arbitrary limits on the amount of reimbursement for damages resulting from carrier actions. The Montreal Convention, applicable to international transportation, also prohibits lower limits on reimbursement for such damages. Imposing an arbitrary limit on losses within the carrier’s control constitutes a violation of Part 254 and the Montreal Convention, and is an unfair practice under 49 U.S.C. § 41712.

The Enforcement Office considers categorical exclusions for damage to specific parts of the checked baggage to be arbitrary limitations of liability in violation of Part 254. Although carriers are not required to cover fair wear and tear, damage to handles, straps, wheels and zippers often extends beyond what is appropriately categorized as fair wear and tear resulting from ordinary handling of baggage. In such cases, carriers should be prepared to reimburse the passenger appropriately.


Now the plan tomorrow is to again call United’s customer care and reiterate these laws, and if they still refuse then I’m heading to the courthouse. Only problem is in 13 days I’m leaving the country for a week for work, might make it a bit interesting if a trial is needed.

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