Michael Wukoschitz's blog

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Austrian Supreme Court: tour organiser can be liable for hotel accomodation provided by air carrier

The return flight of the plaintiff''s holiday package was cancelled and the air carrier rebooked the plaintiff for the following day. Complying with its respective obligation under Reg. (EC) 261/2004, the air carrier provided the plaintiff with hotel accomodation for the additional night. The plaintiff - a person of reduced mobility  - took a walk in the area close to the hotel where she tripped, fell down and was injured. She sued the tour organiser for compensation for pain and suffering.

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IFTTA Law Review 2-2018

The latest edition of the IFTTA Law review is now available in the members area of the website. It contains an editorial by Timothy Law, an article on price indications on online bookings by Klaus Tonner, a report about the IFTTA North America Conference by Douglas Crozier and a recent CJEU judgement on air passenger rigths. Enjoy reading!

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Austrian Supreme Court lodges request for CJEU preliminary ruling on Montreal Convention

According to Article 17 of the MC, an air carrier is liable for damage sustained in case of death or bodily injury of a passenger upon condition only that the accident which caused the death or injury took place on board the aircraft or in the course of any of the operations of embarking or disembarking. In Saks v Air France, the US Supreme Court has defined the term "accident" as "an unexpected or unusual event or happening that is external to the passenger" and caused the injury.

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Germany: no State liability for missed flight after lengthy security check

The plaintiff and his familiy were booked on a flight from Germany to a destination outside the Schengen area. The flight was scheduled to depart at 04:55 and the boarding time was announced for 04:30. The plaintiff and his family arrived at the security check shortly before 04:00. The officer detected a suspiciuos object in the hand luggage of the plaintiff's wife. He informed his supervisor who ordered the hand bag to be screened several times. In addition, the plaintiff's wife was checked for traces of explosive materials.

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IFTTA Law Review 1-2018 available online

The IFTTA Law Review 1-2018 is now available for download in the members' area. It contains a message by IFTTA President Marc Mc Donald and articles by Larry Gore, Doug Crozier and Michael Wukoschitz which cover U.S., Canadian and European issues. The Law Review also contains a case summary on a recent judgement of the CJEU regarding air passenger rights. Enjoy reading!

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German Supreme Court decides on airline tariff: a non-refundable ticket remains non-refundable

The plaintiffs had booked tickets for a Lufthansa flight from Hamburg via Frankfurt to Miami and back from Los Angeles via Frankfurt to Hamburg. The ticket price was EUR 2.766,32 and according to the tariff, the ticket was non-refundable (except applicable taxes only). Because of a disease, the plaintiffs cancelled their tickets and claimed back the ticket price. Lufthansa only refunded taxes of EUR 133,56 each. The plaintiffs filed a law suit for the difference which was dismissed by the first instance court (AG Köln) and their appeal was dismissed as well.

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CJEU decides on forum in air passenger rigths cases

In Rehder v Ari Baltic (C-204/08) the Court of Justice of the Europena Union had decided that in the case of air transport of passengers from one Member State to another Member State, carried out on the basis of a contract with only one airline, which is the operating carrier, the court having jurisdiction to deal with a claim for compensation founded on that transport contract and Reg. (EC) No.

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German Supreme Court (BGH) decides on air carrier liability for passenger fall on boarding bridge

The claimant was about to embark for his flight from Düsseldorf to Hamburg on Feb. 9, 2013, when he slipped on the boarding bridge because of a wet floor caused by condensation. As a result he suffered from a fracture of his patella. He filed a claim for damages against the defendant air carrier. The first instance court (LG Düsseldorf) dismissed the claim and the appelate court (OLG Düsseldorf) confirmed this decision: according to the Montral Convention, the air carrier was only libale for accidents caused by a hazard which was characteristic for aviation.

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Austria: Constitutional Court upholds ban on 'best price' clauses for online hotel booking portals

Effecitve by January 1, 2017, an amendment to the Austrian Unfair Competition Act (UWG) introduced a ban on 'best price' clauses for hotel booking portals. These clauses were qualified as an agressive business practice. According to such clauses, a hotel operator who wanted to sell rooms through online portals had to accept not to offer these rooms for a lower price or at more favourable conditions though any other distribution channel including the hotel's own website.

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U.S. Court: mental anguish compensable under Montreal Convention if it results from an accident that also caused bodily injury

Plaintiff Jane Doe and her eleven-year-old daughter flew aboard Etihad Airways from Abu Dhabi to Chicago. When she stuck her hand into the seat pocket in front of her, she was unexpectedly pricked by a hypodermic needle that lay hidden within. The needle drew blood from her finger.  Doe was prescribed medication for possible exposure to hepatitis, tetanus, and HIV, and she underwent several rounds of testing over the following year. Thankfully for Doe, all the tests came back negative.

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