Quote: Next Magazine news on baggage tampering in the airport.
Retrieved from http://www.nextmag.com.tw/feature/20160311/36254828
14th March 2016 - (Translated version)Taipei.
Taipei - Mr. Huang had taken Austrian Airlines to fly to Vienna from Germany and took a connecting China Airlines flight back to Taiwan. "I bought three LV bags, a few pieces of clothing and a RIMOWA suitcase to pack all these items worth more than half a million TWD. Customs inspected the suitcase in Munich airport." he said. Mr Huang took the receipt of purchase to the counter for declaration and tax rebates.
When he arrived in Taiwan, the suitcase was missing. "During transit in Vienna airport , I had asked the China Airlines’ staff to check and confirm that my checked baggage had been transferred to the connecting flight to Taiwan but unfortunately the suitcase did not reach Taiwan. When the suitcase was recovered and sent to my home, the suitcase was lighter than the time it was checked in. I noticed that the zip puller was not attached to TSA numbering lock anymore and the luggage lock had been tampered. The items I bought and packed in the suitcase were missing.” he said.
China Airlines Media Affairs Department responded that, according to customs regulations and procedures, passenger’s checked baggage need to be inspected in the Vienna Customs storage warehouse, which may have caused the damage of the TSA numbering lock. As the passenger did not apply for declaration of checked baggage value, according to the International Convention and China Shipping terms, damage liability for checked baggage is calculated at twenty dollars per kilogram. We apologize for causing passengers' inconvenience, hence it will also clarify the attribution of responsibility.
He referred to China Airlines. "China Airlines replied that the checked baggage bar code sticker on the suitcase was missing, moreover the suitcase had been opened for inspection and checked-in again at Vienna airport. After the inspection, the items were put back into to the suitcase. China Airlines said that according to the weight of the suitcase, the highest compensation for cases like this is 64,000 yuan. It was also clearly shown that there was a Jade card from China Airlines attached to the suitcase when it was checked-in at Munich airport, and the items in the suitcase were clearly stolen. It is unacceptable that China Airlines only compensated the losses by weight." he said helplessly.
Investigate the cause of loss
Former judge and lawyer Wang Youmin said, according to the case and the items lost in passenger’s checked baggage, China Airlines had implemented the delivery term in contract and compensation is calculated by weight. As for the opening of the checked baggage in Vienna airport, it may be due to the suitcase being tampered or it was an act of malicious theft or Austrian Airlines' weakness in managing its' responsibility.
Wang Youmin also said that it is difficult to get compensation in cases like this for passengers who are on transit with Austrian Airlines. Should China Airlines bear joint liability of checked baggage? China Airlines has submitted the compensation claims on behalf of Mr. Huang to the Austrian Airlines. This compensation claim would also depend on cooperation agreement or other international aviation practices between China Airlines and Austrian Airlines.
Chen Xinghong, chief secretary of the Consumer Protection Office suggested that people should not fill valuables items in the checked baggage, it should be hand carried, or contact the airline to declare the value of items by paying additional insurance premiums. Thus, it would secure the actual value of the items when the items are lost.