Austria

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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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Austrian Supreme Court: sporting operator not liable for banana boat accident

In August 2013, the plaintiff who spent his holidays at an Austrian lake booked a "banana boat ride" operated by the defendant. Before mounting the "banana", the participants were instructed that the banana was likely to capsize and they should cling on tight.  During the ride which was operated in an accurate manner and at reasonable speed the banana, indeed, capsized and the plaintiff was seriously injured on his head probably because he collided with another passenger's body.

Michael Wukoschitz's picture

Government draft for the implementation of the new EU Package Travel Directive in Austria

On Feb. 28, 2017 the Austrian Federal Ministy of Justice has published its draft for the implementation of the EU Package Travel Directive 2015/2302. Instead of the current provsions related to package travel in the Consumer Protection Act, there will be a separate Package Travel Act (Pauschalreisegesetz - PRG). This seems reasonable as the protection provided by the Directive is not limited to consumers only.

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Austrian Supreme Court decides on KLM's "Flying Blue" bonus programme term

In a recent decision the Austrian Supreme Court (OGH) upheld a judgement of the appelate court (Oberlandesgericht Wien) regarding a term of KLM's "Flying Blue" bonus programme. According to the decision, a standardized contract term providing that any premium miles shall expire with the lapse of 20 month from their acqusition unless they are extended by 'qualified activities' is unfair - at least if the contract term doesn’t differentiate between premium miles granted for flights and premium miles bought by the passenger in addition.

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CJEU decides on communication of broadcasts by TV sets installed in hotel

Upon request for preliminary ruling lodged by the Commercial Court Vienna, the CJEU held that the communication of television and radio broadcasts by means of TV sets installed in hotel rooms does not constitute a communication made in a place accessible to the public against payment of an entrance fee.

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Austrian Supreme Court: railway company not liable for stolen luggage

The plaintiff traveled by train with the Austrian national railway company ÖBB. She carried a large travel bag which she put on the floor of the aisle. The conductor orderd her to place her bag to the baggage compartment of the wagon which could not be observed from her seat. When she reached her destination she realized that her bag was stolen.

The claim for compensation was dismissed: the Supreme Court (OGH) held that the conductor's instruction to store tha bag in the baggage compartment did not constitute any obligation of custody on the part of the railway company .

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Austria: Supreme Court decides on tour organizer liability for accident at local excursion

The plaintiff had booked a package to the Dominican Republic with the defandant. Defendant's terms and conditions provided that with regard to third party services (such as local excursions), the defendant was only liable for proper intermediation but not for the proper performance of the services themselves. Defendant's local representative in the Dominican Republic distributed weekly schedules to the guests containing various optional excursions.

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CJEU provides another clarification of the Air Passenger Rights Regulation (EC) 216/2004

In its judgement of today, the Court of the European Union (CJEU) held that the ‘arrival time’, which is used to determine the length of the delay to which passengers on a flight have been subject, corresponds to the time at which at least one of the doors of the aircraft is opened, the assumption being that, at that moment, the passengers are permitted to leave the aircraft.

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CJEU: a Member State must not require an air carrier licensed in another Member State to obtain permission to enter its airspace

International Jet Management, an airline company with its seat in Austria, operated private flights from Moscow and Ankara to Germany without having the authorisation, required by the German legislation, to enter German airspace. In criminal proceedings against International Jet Management, the German Apellate Court (Oberlandesgericht Braunschweig) filed a request for preliminary ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

In its judgement of March 18, 2014, the Grand Chamber of the Court came to the following conclusion:

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Austrian Supreme Court: tour operator liable for floatplane boarding accident

The plaintiff had booked a package to the Maldives with the defendant. The package included a transfer by floatplane from Malé to the island where the hotel was situated. Accorsing to the Operating Manual of the carrier, it is necessary to moor the floatplane with three ropes. The crew is required to stand at each side of the entrance in order to assist the passengers boarding the aircraft. When the plaintiff was about to board, despite some waves the floatplane was only moored with two ropes and only one member of the crew was standing next to the entrance.

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