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Airline to pay over delayed luggage

China Eastern Airlines has been ordered to refund half the cost of a round-trip ticket to a passenger whose luggage was delayed for one and a half months.


The Changning District People's Court also ruled that the airline pay compensation of about 1,000 yuan (US$146) for the loss of property from his luggage.


The passenger, a businessman surnamed Tang, booked a round-trip between Paris and Shanghai from China Eastern last July in Paris. The ticket price was 813.77 euros (US$1,053.62).


On September 7, he arrived at Shanghai Pudong International Airport on schedule. But his luggage didn't. Tang reported the loss before leaving the airport.


He didn't get any news about the missing luggage before he was due to return on September 22. During that period he had asked several times for a refund on his return ticket.


Tang said the loss of his luggage prevented him from completing his business in Shanghai and he couldn't return to Paris as scheduled.


The airline finally found Tang's luggage in late October. But a mobile phone was missing and some food had rotted, the court heard.


The airline offered 1,000 yuan in compensation. Tang then sued China Eastern for a refund of the return ticket and 2,000 yuan for his loss.


The court ruled that the airline was guilty of a serious breach of contract as it had failed to find Tang's luggage before the return date on the ticket.


Tang's request for a refund was reasonable, it said.


(Shanghai Daily February 12, 2009)