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British Airways vs Court of Appeals
Mahtani decided to visit is relatives in Bombay, India. He obtained the services of a
certain Mr. Gumar to prepare his travel plans. The latter purchased a ticket from British Airways (BA).
Since BA had no direct flights from Manila to Bombay, he had to take a flight to
Hongkong via PAL and from Hongkong, a connecting flight to Bombay on board BA.
Mahtani checked in at Philippine Air Lines (PAL) his two pieces of luggage containing his clothing’s and personal effects. Unfortunately, when Mahtani arrived in Bombay, he discovered that his luggage was missing and that upon inquiry from the BA representatives, he was told that the same might have been diverted to London. After one week, BA finally advised him to file a claim by accomplishing the "Property Irregularity Report. “Mahtani filed his complaint for damages and attorney's fees against BA and Mr. Gumar.
BA filed its answer with counter claim. BA filed a third-party complaint against PAL alleging that the reason for the non-transfer of the luggage was due to the latter's late arrival in Hongkong, thus leaving hardly any time for the proper transfer of Mahtani's luggage to the BA aircraft bound for Bombay. PAL filed its answer to the third-party complaint, arguing that there was, in fact, adequate time to transfer the luggage to BA facilities in Hongkong. Furthermore, the transfer of the luggage to Hongkong
authorities should be considered as transfer to BA.
The trial court rendered the decision in favor of Mahtani and the Third-Party Complaint
against PAL was dismissed for lack of cause of action. BA appealed to the Court of Appeals. CA
affirmed in toto the decision of the trial court. Thus, this petition.
Whether or not British Airline should be liable for the loss of the baggage.
Yes. In the instant case, it is apparent that the contract of carriage was between Mahtani and BA. Moreover, it is indubitable that his luggage never arrived in Bombay on time. Therefore, as in several cases, the Court have assessed the airlines' culpability in the form of damages for breach of contract involving misplaced luggage.
The nature of an airline's contract of carriage partakes of two types, namely: a contract to deliver a cargo or merchandise to its destination and a contract to transport passengers to their destination. A business intended to serve the travelling public primarily, it is imbued with public interest, hence, the law governing common carriers imposes an exacting standard. Neglect or malfeasance by the carrier's employees could
predictably furnish bases for an action for damages.