Dubai: Can passengers claim compensation for flight delays?

KT reader wants to know the rights of airline travellers in case of flight delays exceeding 10 hours due to technical issues


Ashish Mehta

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Published: Sun 18 Feb 2024, 9:09 AM

Last updated: Sun 18 Feb 2024, 9:20 PM

Question: I travelled from Dubai to Maldives on a local carrier for vacation with my family. There was a long delay of over 10 hours in flights. When I asked the staff, they said it was due to technical issues. Can I claim compensation against the airline in this case? What are my rights in this case?

Answer: Pursuant to your queries, the provisions of Federal Decree Law No 50 of 2022, Issuing the Commercial Transactions Law and Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air of 1999, signed at Montreal, are applicable.

A traveller in the UAE must check the terms and conditions related to travel, baggage and other general matters on the air ticket. Once you book an air ticket, it is implied that an air traveller is governed by the terms and conditions mentioned in an air ticket.

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Furthermore, an airline may be liable if there is a delay in scheduled flights. This is in accordance with Article 357 of the Commercial Transactions Law, which states, "The air carrier shall be responsible for the damage resulting from the late arrival of the passenger, checked luggage or cargo."

UAE is a signatory to the Montreal Convention of 1999, therefore, the provisions of the said convention are applicable. This is in accordance with Article 354 of the Commercial Transactions Law, which states, "Without prejudice to the international conventions to which the state is a party, the provisions of this section shall apply to the air transport, subject to the provisions set out in the following articles."

The aforementioned Montreal Convention of 1999 mentions that the airline may be liable for flight delays except for reasons beyond the airline's control. This is in accordance with Article 19 of the Montreal Convention of 1999, which states, "The carrier is liable for damage occasioned by delay in the carriage by air of passengers, baggage or cargo. Nevertheless, the carrier shall not be liable for the damage occasioned by delay if it proves that it and its servants and agents took all measures reasonably required to avoid the damage or that it was impossible for it or them to take such measures."

In addition, for any delays, the airline may have to compensate the passengers. This is in accordance with Article 22(1) of the Montreal Convention of 1999, which states, "In the case of damage caused by delay as specified in Article 19 in the carriage of persons the liability of the carrier for each passenger is limited to 4,150 Special Drawing Rights."

As per the website of the International Monetary Fund, the aforementioned Special Drawing Rights (SDR) means, is an international reserve asset. The SDR is not a currency, but its value is based on a basket of five currencies—the US dollar, the euro, the Chinese renminbi, the Japanese yen, and the British pound.

The aforementioned SDR of 4,150 related to compensation for delayed flights has been revised to 5,346 SDR in 2019 related to the limit of liability of airlines about compensation.

Based on the aforementioned provisions of law and convention, you may contact the airline based on the terms and conditions related to compensation for delayed flights that are mentioned on your air ticket. You may also contact the International Air Transport Association (Iata) in the UAE and the Dubai Aviation Authority for further clarification on this matter.

Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom and India. Full details of his firm on: Readers may e-mail their questions to: or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.


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