STF limits indemnities to passengers on international flights in accordance with the Warsaw and Montreal Conventions
In an important decision rendered on 05/25/2017, the STF (Brazilian Supreme Court) changed the majority view of the applicability of the Consumer Defense Code (CDC) in consumer relations between passengers and airlines. From now on, the provisions of the Warsaw and Montreal Conventions will establish the rules applicable to international air transport.
The main change brought by the new understanding of the STF concerns the limitation on indemnities in international flights. Thus, according to the Warsaw and Montreal Conventions, cases such as flight delay, damage or loss of luggage and overbooking will have their compensation limited to a maximum value, regardless of the conditions in which the damage occurred.
In cases of overbooking or delays in passenger transportation, the liability of airline companies will be limited to 4,150 Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), or about R$ 18,928.15. In cases of destruction, loss, damage or delay of luggage, the limit of indemnity will be 1,000.00 SDR per passenger, which is equivalent to approximately R$ 4,506.10, regardless of the contents of the baggage. The CDC, in contrast, did not establish a limit; the customer only had to prove the damage suffered.
Another important change brought by the new STF's understanding concerns the limitation period for claim. Previously, according to the CDC, this term was five years from the date of the consumer's awareness of the fact. Now, according to the provisions of the Conventions, the limitation period will be two years, reckoned from the date of arrival at the destination, from the date on which the aircraft should have arrived or from the date of interruption of transport.