Warsaw Convention - A Brief Explanation

What was the Warsaw Convention, we hear you ask? Good question! It's one of those phrases that we seem to come across all the time and yet have managed to get by in life without knowing anything about it. Time to fill that knowledge gap!

The Warsaw Convention - and you could probably guess this first bit - was a convention that took place in Warsaw, on 12th October 1929. Experts in the field of Aviation Law, from thirty one nations, arrived in the Polish capital to create a legal framework that still binds international aviation today (albeit modified, most notable at the Hague in 1955 and Montreal 1999).

The principal purpose of the Warsaw Convention was to determine the liability of air carriers in the case of an accident, both in regards to passengers and also baggage and cargo. One of the main reasons that the Warsaw Convention needed amending in Montreal was because the maximum compensation that an airline could be forced to pay in the event of an international accident was 75,000 US dollars (for the death of one person). This limit, set to protect a fledging aviation industry from bankruptcy, has now been changed, so that the minimum a bereaved family can claim - without having to prove the airline's negligence - is 135,000 dollars. And if the carrier is found at fault for the accident... Well, then the sky's the limit!


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Zakwan Ghazi from India Reply Jul 24th, 2017

Thanks for the information, its really helpfull

Ronald Lee from United States Reply Feb 22nd, 2016

Vueling airline lost my bag two years ago. I immediately filed a lost luggage report, contacted customer service many times and CEO Alex Cruz. Provided bank routing info as requested but have not have anything. It appears that Vueling is dragging their feet to avoid paying. Is there a POC with Warsaw (Montreal) Convention that enforces the airline to comply with this law?

Anthony from United States Reply Nov 14th, 2010

Does this mean that a single fatality in an aircraft accident of any airline company could get an almost 6 million Philippine peso?.. does it really implemented world wide?..

Ramnah from India Reply Jul 1st, 2010

I really appreciate for this good information.Thats quite satisfied with me.Thanks a lot.

Abrahim Ali from Algeria Reply Jun 14th, 2010

please I want a list of states that ratified the Warsaw convention of 1929 on the unification of certain rules of air transport

rason chirinda from Zimbabwe Reply Jun 7th, 2010

I used Kenyan Airways from Dubai, stop over Nairobi on my way to Harare Zimbabwe and l had checked in 3 boxes containing some cellphones.We got to Nairobi in the morning and had to spend the whole day and boarded a evening flight after 8pm.The flight went through Mozabique and had to stop there for an hour.We got to Harare after 2am only to discover that 2 of my boxes worth us7880 where missing and up to date where never recovered.The airline offered to compersate but are willing to pay only us20 per kg.Is this a fair deal?

roxana esmaili from United Arab Emirates Reply Apr 15th, 2010

i had problem with airline please help me

José K. from United States Reply Nov 4th, 2009

Essentially, 1929 was when the airline experts got together and cooked up laws and conditions largely beneficial to themselves, not the paying passenger. The changes at Den Haag and Montreal have only made things worse for passengers.

JOcelp from Philippines Reply Jul 28th, 2009

Thanks for the information, i am bit enlightened now.

PHIL PGA from Canada Reply May 19th, 2009

I booked a vacation with airline "A" but the tour company had substituted airline "B" - an old cargo plane which they used regularly. And did not inform me they did not use airline "A" as shown on my vacation confirmation. Can they substitute on a continuing basis and not be required to inform me, yet tell me I was flying another airline ?

from United States Reply May 18th, 2009

information is so good

mehdi from United Kingdom Reply Feb 10th, 2009

could some one please tell me what my rights are for compensation for delay of a scheduled flight

IKECHUKWU from Nigeria Reply Feb 1st, 2009

I commend you so much for the efforts you have made so far to enunciate in details on the significant of the Warsaw Convention to the Aviation Industry. As a young and vibrant young man who have chosen to develop my career in civil aviation i am very happy for that, in fact, I commend your candid effort and I say more power to your elbow.

Justin Chieke from Nigeria Reply Feb 1st, 2009

The prime motive of 1929 convention was "TOP LIMIT AWARD" THE LIMITED LIABILITY OF AN AIRLINE CARRIER ON INCIDENCE LIKE AIR MISHAP OR LOSS OF BAGGAGE.And U.S.A did not adhere to that convention because of the low amount of money involved which was initially said to be ($8,300) and later lifted to 250,000 Francs-16,600. etc.In the history of Aviation Warsaw Convention is very fundamental.

kfalz from Nigeria Reply Jan 29th, 2009

it's quite educative

CLEMENT from Nigeria Reply Nov 7th, 2008

well, it a nice idea to pay victim but come to think of it. answer mine question before you say anything. it's the same food you eat themyou still require at this same time. pleaselook into the issue and increase the price .we are talking about like and not chicken lifes. thansk

Tawonga from Malawi Reply Nov 6th, 2008

This explanation now hits the nail on the head. I feel you are speaking my language because i read the other explanations on other sites and i could not quite follow.I would like to also know how the Warsaw convention agreements help in case am offloaded from an airline connection while am in transit.

Mike from United States Reply Aug 31st, 2008

Thanks for review. Aviation profesional thank you for the interest on it.

Sheryl from Canada Reply Dec 29th, 2007

Well, I to needed to be educated about the Warsaw Convention. I agree with the freedom of speech, regardless of literacy (check my spelling during this post, it may be quite amusing!!) We travel around the globe at least twice a year and I never really understood the Warsaw Convention - time I got educated!!! I do believe, however, unlike the lovely lady from Greece, that should we perish in a flight, I would like to know that my family has been provided for in some financial way, since we will no longer be there to provide for them. No, you can't put a price tag on someone's life, but it is good to know that my children will be provided for financialy and help their caregivers moving forward. Personally, I think it's a heck of an idea, regardless of the fault (here's hoping no one ever has to live with that!!)

Mike from Australia Reply Dec 26th, 2007

Yes and you are now one of them Bruce! Everyone has the right to free speech and opinion - regardless of their level of literacy Bruce. It is a basic human right. Maybe you dont believe in that. Probably a yank huh?

Bruce from United States Reply Sep 2nd, 2007

I'm not trying to be snooty, but why do you print so many illiterate mumbling dribbling nonsensical reviews from people I have no interest in hearing of ?

treli-kardia from Greece Reply Jul 18th, 2007

I was quite curious as to what the Warsaw convention 1929 was,since when i hear the name warsaw i automatically think-hitler..now that is one sick topic! but i am not thinking about dying on a flight,i am scared enough of flying,and i dont think any amount of money woudl make my family satisfied after loosing their child,why do people think money makes thinsg better,what rubbish! but anyway thanks for clearing it up..

rodney from Kenya Reply Jun 6th, 2007

mmmh interesting, i gues in the olden days people were smarter than now coz how the hell would people think of compensation that early,sweet. weird coment huh! anyway kudos warsaw it was woth it.