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Southwest Airlines Liability and Limitation

For loss of, damage to and delay in carriage of the checked or carry on baggage, the liability of Southwest Airlines is limited to USD 3400 per fare-paying customer and the claim for the same shall be reported with 4 hours of arrival. The liability can be higher if the special value declaration is done and a fee of USD1 for every USD 100 is paid towards such excess.This excess valuation is not available for certain items and even this is limited to USD 1250.


International travel limitations


In instances of Death or Injury of passengers, the liability of the carrier is limited to 1,13,000 SDRs for every passenger. For damages more than this sum, the carrier will not be liable if it proves that such damage was not because of negligence or wrongful omission or commission by carrier or its servants, employees or agents. It will also not be liable if the carrier proves that this damage was due to the negligence of wrongful act of third party.

In these instances, the carrier is required to make some advance payment by its own discretion. However, in the event of death, the amount of advance payment shall not be less than SDRs 16000. This amount will be adjusted against the final amount to be paid by the carrier. The only condition when advance payment might not be required to be paid is when the identity of the person who is to receive the sum has not been established.


In cases of delay of passengers, the amount of damage to be paid by the Southwest Airlines is limited by Montreal and Warsaw conventions. Under the former, the liability is limited to 4694 SDR per passenger. However, these limits to the liability will not apply and the carrier will be endlessly liable in cases where it is proven that the carrier or its agent engaged in willful misconduct. This is the onus of the claimant to prove it. This subject matter has been covered under Article 25 of Warsaw Convention and Article 22(5) of Montreal Convention.


Destruction, loss, delay or damage of checked or carry on baggage limits the liability of the carrier to SDRs 1131 for each passenger. In case there been partial damage or non-delivery of the baggage, the liability will be proportionately reduced on the basis of weight (not on the basis of value).


Liability of the carrier with respect to unchecked baggage is only to the extent that this damage was from the fault of the carrier. There shall be no liability of carrier for baggage which is in the Passenger cabin and under personal possession.


Denied Boarding in case of overbooked flights of Southwest Airlines, the first option is to seek volunteers who would be willing to relinquish their seats and take the compensation offered by the carrier. However, if the number of volunteers is insufficient, Southwest may ask people to relinquish their seats as per its own rules of boarding. This is the case of involuntary denied boarding.


Southwest would pay the compensation to those who are denied boarding involuntarily provided that two conditions are met. The first condition is that the passenger should be holding a confirmed ticket and has followed all conditions of contract of carriage including that of check in and boarding. The second condition is that the passenger is not able to fly on the for reasons of safety, substitution or operational reasons.


The compensation for involuntary denied boarding is 200% of fare to the destination or first stopover of passenger subject to a maximum of $650 if the alternative transportation is to arrive at the destination or the first stopover more than 1 but less than 2 hours in domestic route and more than 1 hour but less than 4 hours in international route.

The compensation amount would be 400% or USD 1300 whichever is lower, if the carrier does not offer alternative transportation which is likely to arrive between 1-2 hours in domestic route and 1-4 hours on international routes.

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