Radisha’s flight landed in Auckland at 6:30am on 17 June. Worrying about her other carry-on bag and wedding dress, Radisha forgot to take her computer bag from the overhead locker. At 2.15pm Radisha realised, and phoned the airline and airport baggage services. A search failed to locate the bag. The airline confirmed to Radisha on 12 July that they had not found her bag. On 13 July Radisha filed a police report and a claim with her insurer.
When her insurer declined her claim, Radisha complained to FSCL.
Radisha believed that her insurance would cover the claim because, it appeared the bag had been stolen. Radisha said that her bag could have easily been stolen whilst she was asleep or in the bathroom on the airplane. However, she did not have any conclusive evidence of this. Radisha only realised that she didn’t have her bag at 2.15pm, approximately seven hours after disembarking.
The insurer’s view
The insurer believed the loss had occurred because Radisha had left her laptop bag on the airplane after disembarking. The insurer said, because Radisha could not guarantee that she had not left the bag on the plane, there was a chance it had been stolen after disembarking.
Radisha’s insurance policy included an exclusion clause which stated;
The insurer will not pay for personal effects left behind in any conveyance after Radisha disembarks
In essence, what subsequently happened to the bag was a direct result of the bag being left on the plane after disembarking and the insurer was not obliged to pay the claim.
Although it was clear that Radisha suffered a significant loss, there was a specific policy exclusion which related to the circumstances. Radisha may have had her bag stolen whilst she was on the flight. The exclusion clause applied because Radisha didn’t realise at the time of disembarking that her bag had been left on the plane. Radisha left the bag on the airplane after disembarking. As a result, there was a possibility that it had been stolen after Radisha disembarked.
We told Radisha that it was unlikely we would uphold her complaint and Radisha agreed to discontinue her complaint.