What are the limitations to the liability of air carriers?
1. In the carriage of persons – 250,000 francs for each passenger. Nevertheless, by special contract, the carrier and the passenger may agree to a higher limit of liability.
2. In the carriage of registered baggage and of cargo – Two hundred and fifty (250) francs per kilogramme, unless the passenger or consignor has made, at the time when the package was handed over to the carrier, a special declaration of interest in delivery at destination and has paid a supplementary sum if the case so requires.
Note: In the case of loss, damage or delay of part of registered baggage or cargo, or of any object contained therein, the weight to be taken into consideration in determining the amount to which the carrier's liability is limited shall be only the total weight of the package or packages concerned. Nevertheless, when the loss, damage or delay of a part of the registered baggage or cargo, or of an object contained therein, affects the value of other packages covered by the same baggage check or the same air waybill, the total weight of such package or packages shall also be taken into consideration in determining the limit of liability.
3. As regards objects of which the passenger takes charge himself – Five thousand (5,000) francs per passenger. (Art. 22) Note: Carrier is not entitled to the foregoing limit if the damage is caused by willful misconduct or default on its part (Art. 25)
Is a stipulation relieving the carrier from or limiting its liability valid?
No. Any provision tending to relieve the carrier of liability or to fix a lower limit than that which is laid down in this Convention shall be null and void but the nullity of such provision does not involve the nullity of the whole contract. (Art. 23)
What are the exceptions to these limitations?
1. Willful misconduct
2. Default amounting to willful misconduct
3. Accepting passengers without ticket
4. Accepting goods without airway bill or baggage without baggage check
When will one’s right to damages be extinguished?
The right to damages shall be extinguished if an action is not brought within two years, reckoned from the date of arrival at the destination, or from the date on which the aircraft ought to have arrived, or from the date on which the carriage stopped.
Note: Despite the express mandate that an action for damages should be filed within 2 years from the arrival at the place of destination, such rule shall not be applied where delaying tactics were employed by airline itself in a case where a passenger wishes to settle his complaint out-of-court but the airline gave him the runaround, answering the passenger’s letters but not giving in to his demands, hence, giving the passenger no time to institute the complaint within the reglamentary period. (United Airlines v. Uy, G.R. No. 127768, Nov. 19, 1999)
Could a person recover a claim covered by Warsaw Convention after the lapse two years?
No. A claim covered by the Warsaw Convention can no longer be recovered under local law, if the statute of limitations of two years has already lapsed. (PAL. v. Savillo, 557 SCRA 66)
What constitutes willful misconduct?
The definition of "willful misconduct" depends in some measure on which court is deciding the issue. Some common factors that courts will consider are:
1. Knowledge that an action will probably result in injury or damage
2. Reckless disregard of the consequences of an action, or
3. Deliberately failing to discharge a duty related to safety. Courts may also consider other factors
Is the failure of the carrier to deliver the passenger’s luggage at the designated time and place ipso facto constitutes wilful misconduct?
No. There must be a showing that the acts complained of were impelled by an intention to violate the law, or were in persistent disregard of one's rights. It must be evidenced by a flagrantly or shamefully wrong or improper conduct (Luna vs. CA, GR No. 100374-‐75, November 27, 1992).
Is the carrier’s guessing of which luggage contained the firearms constitutes willful misconduct?
Yes. The guessing of which luggage contained the firearms amounted to willful misconduct under Section 25(1) of the Warsaw Convention. (Northwest Airlines vs. CA, GR No. 120334, January 20, 1998)
Is the allegation of willful misconduct resulting in a tort is insufficient to exclude the case from the realm of Warsaw Convention?
Yes. A cause of action based on tort did not bring the case outside the sphere of the Warsaw Convention. (Lhuiller vs. British Airways, GR No. 171092, March 15, 2010).