protection pets flights

New legal breakthrough in the protection of our pets during flights


From our law firm BCVLex, we are at the forefront of a judicial event of great importance for the protection of our pets during flights. The Commercial Court No. 4 of Madrid has taken a decision that could mark a turning point in the way pets are considered during air travel: it has referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) the question of whether pets should be treated as luggage for the purposes of compensation for damage or loss.


Protecting our pets during flights: the facts

As reported by the Economist Jurist, this question arises from an unfortunate event, the loss of a dog named Mona on an Iberia flight from Buenos Aires to Madrid. This event highlights the urgent need to review and strengthen the protection of our pets.

Given her weight and size, Mona could not travel in the cabin with her owner, due to company policy. She was therefore transported in the hold, housed in a specially designed box, standardised for the transport of animals in the hold and explicitly authorised by the airline at check-in.

The airline twice misplaced the dog, the first time before the eyes of her owner, and the second time permanently. The airline and/or its agents are liable, in the applicant’s opinion, for the damage caused to the applicant by the loss of her pet.


No hay ninguna descripción de la foto disponible.

Photograph of the dog Mona.

Regulations on the protection of pets during a flight

The Montreal Convention, whose articles 17.2, 22.2 and 22.5 have traditionally classified pets as “checked baggage”, establishing a compensation limit, now seems insufficient in the face of the emotional value and recognition of animals as sentient beings.

From the combination of the above precepts, it can be inferred that the carrier is liable for damage caused in case of destruction, loss or damage to checked baggage. This liability is limited to 1,000 Special Drawing Rights per passenger [1], unless it is proved that the damage is the result of an act or omission of the carrier or its servants or agents, with intent to cause damage, or recklessly and with knowledge that damage would probably result.

This liability regime for baggage is radically different from liability for damage caused to passengers in the event of an accident. In this circumstance, liability is unlimited unless the carrier proves that it took all possible measures to avoid the damage or that the damage was due to force majeure, in which case liability would be limited to 100,000 Special Drawing Rights per passenger.

Reinterpretation of the regulations regarding the protection of pets during a flight

Carlos Villacorta, our esteemed colleague and managing partner of BCVLex, who represents the plaintiff, underlines the importance of this case. Villacorta argues that it is crucial to reconsider the current legal framework, highlighting the intrinsic and emotional value of pets, beyond their consideration as objects.

The expert points out that “the application of a financial limitation of liability seems in these conditions contrary not only to the general principles of reparation of personal injury (“restitutio ad integrum”), but also contrary to the interests and objectives of EU law, particularly Article 13 TFEU, which clearly defines animals as sentient animals, as well as to the trend of international law that can be observed among other norms such as the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare or the draft UN Convention on Animal Protection and Health“.

This legal breakthrough not only signifies a step towards justice in Mona’s tragic case, but also a crucial moment to re-evaluate how our laws recognise the true value our pets have in our lives.


At BCVLex, headed by Carlos Villacorta, we are proud to lead this fight, seeking a future where animal welfare is a priority in all areas of society. Do not hesitate to contact us and we will inform you about the possibilities of your claim.



[1] It should be noted that the limitation of 1,000 Special Drawing Rights (SDR) has been updated to 1,288 SDR in accordance with article 24 of the Convention. At present, 1,288 SDR corresponds to approximately 1,575 euros.