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2 weeks ago, I took a domestic flight from Ulaanbaatar with Hunnu Airlines. During the checking-in of my luggage, they made a mistake and marked it as belonging to the passenger beside me.

When we passed the security check, that other passenger was asked to step aside. I learned later that a forbidden item (zippo) was found in my bag. They asked the other passenger to open my bag and threw it away.

This zippo was important to me and I'm more than annoyed that their error led to someone else to open my bag and search my belongings. Had they asked me, I would have had solutions to keep it. (I could have given it to a friend who was staying.)

  • This item was important to me
  • It is not produced anymore
  • Someone else than me opened my bag (privacy violation) ?

I don't know my rights on this matter, and can't find a similar question having been asked here.

What are my rights, and which steps should I take?

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    Your best bet is to forget about it. There's no way anyone is compensating for a lighter, no matter how important it was to you. – JonathanReez Sep 17 '17 at 10:05
  • You have no rights in this situation. – Calchas Sep 17 '17 at 10:09
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    How valuable was the item? Was it a collector's item? – Crazymoomin Sep 17 '17 at 10:12
  • Most airlines say "Is this your bag?" when asking someone to open it, so there is a pretty good chance that the other passenger was at least partly to blame. – DJClayworth Sep 17 '17 at 17:07
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Your best bet would probably be to issue a formal complaint to the airline for not following correct procedure, then follow it up intensively. Keep hounding them as they'll probably try to bury it. That said unless you're a native this is probably going to be stressful and expensive (though hounding them by email and on social media is free).

If the lighter was valuable (a rare collectible, for example), you may have a decent argument (if perhaps not a legal one) for compensation of the value of the item or a replacement of the same model and vintage. Unfortunately, if the value was only sentimental then you're unlikely to receive anything more than a token gesture if anything at all.

As for your rights, that would probably depend on Mongolian regulations, and you'd probably need a native to find that out.

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