Know Your Rights and Legal Remedies: Understanding Air Passenger Rights under UAE Law

Awatif Mohammad Shoqi Advocates & Legal Consultancy | View firm profile


Air travel has become an indispensable part of modern-day life, offering convenience and efficiency for millions of passengers worldwide.However, with this convenience comes the responsibility of ensuring the safety and protection of passengers’ rights. Under Federal Decree-Law No. 50/2022, also known as the Commercial Transactions Law, specific provisions are outlined to safeguard the rights of air passengers and provide legal remedies in case of any disputes or incidents during air transport.

Understanding Air Transport:

Article 353 of the Commercial Transactions Law defines it as the carriage of persons, luggage, and goods by aircraft in exchange for a fee. Luggage includes items permitted for carriage by passengers or handed over to the carrier for safekeeping during the journey to their destination.

Liability of Air Carriers:

Article 354 emphasises the carrier’s responsibility for damages arising from a passenger’s injury, death, or physical harm during any stage of air travel. This compensation may include medical expenses, loss of income, and other relevant costs incurred as a result of the incident. Furthermore, Article 356 extends the carrier’s liability to include the loss, damage, or destruction of registered luggage and goods during air transport or while in the carrier’s custody.

Compensation for Delays and Damages:

In the event of flight delays or damage to luggage or goods, Article 357 ensures that affected passengers are entitled to compensation for any inconvenience or loss suffered. This provision seeks to alleviate the impact of disruptions to travel plans and uphold passengers’ rights to receive timely and adequate redress for any harm incurred.

However, it’s essential to note that Article 358 explains exceptions where carriers are not automatically liable for damages. Personal belongings retained by passengers during travel are not covered unless negligence is proven on the part of the carrier or its employees. These limits may be exceeded by mutual agreement or in cases where the carrier’s negligence or misconduct is proven.

Limits of Liability and Legal Actions:

Articles 359 to 367 provide detailed provisions on compensation limits for various scenarios, including passenger injuries, luggage damages, and liability exemptions. In cases of passenger injury or death, carriers are mandated to provide compensation not less than the prescribed Diya amount. Similarly, for the transport of luggage and goods, compensation is capped at AED 500 per kilogram, unless otherwise agreed upon, with provisions for additional consignment paid by consignors indicating special value attached to their items.

Carriers may be released from liability if damages result solely from the injured person’s fault, although courts retain the discretion to reduce carrier liability if the injured person’s actions contributed to the damage. Additionally, parcels lost, damaged, or delayed affecting the value of other parcels, compensation limits for personal articles, may not exceed AED 5,000.

Legal Procedures and Time Limits:

According to Article 364, passengers must notify the carrier of any damage to luggage or goods within seven to twenty-one days, depending on the nature of the damage. Failure to provide timely notice may result in the dismissal of a liability lawsuit unless fraud or deceit is proven. Additionally, Article 365 clarifies that carriers are not liable for damages in cases of free-of-charge transport unless fault is proven.

Article 368 of the civil procedure law provides passengers with options for filing lawsuits in specific courts based on various criteria such as the carrier’s domicile, head office location, or the destination of the journey. However, liability lawsuits against the air carrier or its employees must be initiated within 2 years from the day the aircraft arrived or was scheduled to arrive, or from the day the transport was suspended.


The Commercial Transactions Law safeguards the rights of air passengers in the UAE and establishes legal remedies for addressing disputes or incidents during air travel. By understanding the provisions outlined in this law, passengers can effectively emphasize their rights and seek appropriate compensation in the event of any grievances or incidents.


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