Blogs

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ECJ: the special VAT scheme for travel agents is not limited to sales of travel services to travellers

The European Commission brought a series of infringement proceedings against eight Member States for failure to comply with their obligations under the directive 2006/112/EC on the common system of value added tax. The actions relate to the special scheme for travel agents.

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ECJ: Delayed rail passsengers are entitled to a partial price refund - even in cases of force majeure

The Regulation (EC) No 1371/2007 on rail passengers’ rights and obligations provides that the liability of railway undertakings in the case of delay is governed by the Uniform Rules concerning the Contract for International Carriage of Passengers and Luggage by Rail, subject to the applicable provisions of the regulation.

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German Supreme Court: "bird strike" constitutes "extraordinary cicumstances"

In judgements issued yesterday in two parallel cases, the German Supreme Court (BGH) has held that a bird strike constitutes extraordinary circumstances and thus exempts the air carrier from the obligation to pay compensation to the passengers in case of a cancellation or a long delay if the air carrier can prove that it had taken all reasonable measures to avoid the cacellation or delay. The Supreme Court argued that bird strikes were unforeseeable and unforstallable events for air carriers.

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Germany: Supreme Court reconfirms compensation for missed connecting flight

In a recent judgment, the German Supreme Court (BGH) reconfirmed that passengers who miss their connecting flight due to a delay of the feeder are entitled to claim for compensation if they reach their final destination 3 hrs or more after their scheduled arrival. The plaintiffs had booked a flight from Miami to Düsseldorf via Madrid. As the departure in Miami was delayed for 01:20 hrs they arrived in Madrid too late to catch their connecting flight to Düsseldorf. They were rebooked to another flight and reached Düsseldorf with a delay of 07:30 hrs.

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Canada: CTA orders Air Canada and Porter Airlines to revise domestic tariff provisions

In two separate decisions of Aug. 29, 2013, the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) ordered Air Canada and Porter Airlines to revise certain domestic tariff provisions. A tariff is the contract between the carrier and the passenger which contains an air carrier’s terms and conditions of carriage. Tariff provisions are enforceable by the CTA.

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USA: “dirtiest hotel in America” not defamatory

In 2011, TripAdvisor rated Grand Resort Hotel and Convention Center in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee number one on its list of the “Dirtiest Hotels in America.” Grand Resort’s sole proprietor filed suit against TripAdvisor, alleging claims of defamation, false-light invasion of privacy, tortious interference with prospective business relationships and trade libel/injurious falsehood.  The district court granted TripAdvisor’s motion to dismiss, finding the list to be protected opinion and therefore not capable of being defamatory. The U.S.

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UK: Virgin Atlantic looses dispute over flat bed airline seat patent

Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd sought to recover damages exceeding £49,000,000 for the infringement of its flat bed airline seat patent. However, the Technical Board of Appeal ("TBA") of the European Patent Office ("EPO") found that in the form in which the patent was originally granted the relevant claims were invalid because they had been anticipated by prior art and therefore has retrospectively amended the patent so as to remove with effect from the date of grant all the claims said to have been infringed.

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USA: New Jersey judge dismisses hotel waitresses' gender discrimination claim

A group of 22 waitresses of the Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City filed a law suit for gender discrimination. The hotel explicitly hires cocktail waitresses based on appearance and requires them to meet and maintain certain weight standards and wear short dresses while male servers are not held to the same standards. However, a New Jersey judge dismissed these claims and concluded that the plaintiffs knew what they were getting themselves into, and that the hotel had been clear about the fact that personal appearance was a key component of the job.

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Committee on Transport and Tourism of the European Parliament publishes Draft Report on the Commission's proposal for a new Air Passenger Rights Regulation

On August 26, 2013, the Committee on Transport and Tourism of the European Parliament has published a Draft Report on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights and Regulation (EC) No 2027/97 on air carrier liability in respect of the carriage of passengers and their baggage by air.

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Canada: CTA decides on overbooking - and finds European compensation system unreasonable

On December 12, 2011, Gábor Lukács filed a complaint with the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) alleging that Air Canada’s practice of overselling domestic flights and certain domestic tariff provisions governing denied boarding compensation appearing in Air Canada’s Tariff are unreasonable. He requested the CTA to:

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