Lost Luggage Makes Trouble For Airline

When Touch Dara boarded a flight from Phnom Penh to Cam­bodia’s northeast, he told baggage handlers to be extra careful with the valuable equipment he was taking with him.

But when the Phnom Penh Airways flight landed in Ratana­kkiri, his luggage—a $1,080 slide projector imported from the US—­was missing.

“I told them to take care of the goods, which were very fragile,” said Touch Dara, a Health Mini­stry official who was planning to use the projector to teach a course on nutrition.

“But telling them to take care of a valuable pack­age seems to be the same as telling them to steal it,” he said.

Officials at Phnom Penh Air­ways, which is owned by Prince Norodom Chakrapong, said their staff did not take the equipment. The slide projector, they said, was simply lost.

Touch Dara wants reimbursement for the full cost of the equipment, but the airline has refused. International aviation law calls for the airline to pay only $20 per kg—a total of about $200, said Hang Dara Mony, chief of air transportation for Royal Phnom Penh.

If customers want extra compensation, they must declare the goods and take out insurance before they fly.

But Touch Dara said that solution isn’t acceptable. He has written to Minister of Cabinet Sok An asking him to intervene in the matter.

If that fails, Touch Dara said he will consider taking the matter to court.

In the wake of claims that travelers in Cambodia were getting substandard service because of weak competition, a new airline, Siem Reap Airways, began offering flights last October. Backed by Bangkok Airways, the new carrier entered a market of just three carriers.



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