Asiana 214 crash raises passengers rights questions

July 7, 2013 8:27:28 PM PDT
The crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 at SFO leads to questions about what an airline is required to do for passengers after such an incident.

There are also questions about what must be done by other airlines that cancel or divert flights -- leaving passengers stranded.

What rights do the passengers have who were on the Asiana Airlines Flight 214?

Because Flight 214 was an international flight, the Montreal Convention, which is an international air carrier treaty, is applicable. According to the treaty, the passengers who were on the doomed flight have certain rights.

If the airline is found to be negligent, most passengers who were severely injured would be eligible for a $300,000 payment and families of those who died would be entitled to the same amount.

If passengers are delayed or sent to other airports, there may not be much they can do. For domestic flights, the contract of carriage is the contract people agree to when buying a ticket. Most airlines offer little compensation in these circumstances.

The airlines must get their passengers to their destinations within a reasonable time but that has been interpreted to mean days, not hours. International flights have a higher duty, though it is tough to enforce because going to court can take time and money.

There have been reports of hotels price gouging because so many passengers were stranded. ABC7 News heard reports of rooms going for twice the standard rate and more. While it may not be moral to benefit from a catastrophe like an airline crash, that practice is legal in state of California.

Higher prices don't officially become price gouging until a state of emergency is declared by a government authority; local, state or federal.


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