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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.

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CJEU clarifies burden of proof for timely information on flight cancellation

In case of cancellation of a flight, according to Article 5 of Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 the carrier shall be exempt from the obligation to pay compensation if the passengers were informed of the cancellation at least two weeks before the scheduled time of departure.

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UK: Competion and Markets Authority action on seconary ticketing website shows results

A Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) action has resulted in 4 of the largest UK secondary ticket platforms for music, sports and theare tickets – GET ME IN!, Seatwave, StubHub and viagogo – giving undertakings to build upon their existing practices and give improved information to buyers about the tickets listed on their sites.

These include:

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USA: new DOT web page on Passenger Cruise Ship Information

To assist cruise ship passengers, the U.S. Department of Transportation has set up a web page sharing information and resources provided by other Federal agencies. The information covers "Consumer Assistance", "Vessel Safety", "Cruise Line Incident Reporting Statistics" and "Criminal Activity Prevention and Response Guide (Security Guide)". The new web page is available at http://www.dot.gov/mission/safety/passenger-cruise-ship-information.

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USA: DOT fines Qantas for not informing passengers of opportunity to leave delayed aircraft

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that Qantas Airways violated federal rules last March by not informing passengers on a delayed aircraft at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport that they had the opportunity to leave the plane as it sat at the gate for an extended period of time with the door open.  DOT fined Qantas USD 90,000 and ordered the airline to cease and desist from further violations.

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German Supreme Court: tour organizer must not reserve alterations of the flying times

Upon law suit filed by a federal consumer association, the German Supreme Court has regarded contractual provisions unfair and illegal which allowed the tour organizer to alter the flying times. The "General Conditions of Contract" of the defendant had contained the following provision:

"Final flying times will be communicated by the organzier in the travel vouchers. Any information on flying times provided by a travel agent is not binding."

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USA: DOT releases guidance for Internet flight-search tools

According to an article published in "Travel Pulse", the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has released a guidance document for travel agencies that operate Internet flight-search tools on how these agencies should disclose the carriers they do not market in their search results. In particular, DOT will consider it an unfair practice to simply report that “no flight exists that matches” the consumer’s criteria, when in reality the flight does exist, but the agency does not offer it. DOT has provided a 90-day window, starting Aug.

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USA: DOT fines ticket agent for violating code-share disclosure rules

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) fined the ticket agent JTB USA, Inc., USD 60,000 for failing to adequately disclose to consumers when flights were being operated by a different airline than the one marketing their flight through a code-sharing agreement. DOT also ordered the company to cease and desist from further violations.

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USA: Cruise industry adopts passenger bill of rights

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is the world's largest cruise industry trade association with representation in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australasia. CLIA represents the interests of cruise lines, travel agents, port authorities and destinations, and various industry business partners before regulatory and legislative policy makers. CLIA is also engaged in travel agent training, research and marketing communications to promote the value and desirability of cruise holiday vacations with thousands of travel agency and travel agent members.

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Austrian Supreme Court decides on air carrier liability for checked baggage and exclusivity of the Montreal liability regime

The plaintiff's father was booked on a flight from Vienna to Istanbul, operated by the defendant. He intended to check two suitcases and keep a smaller bag as cabin luggage. Upon check-in the passenger was told that with regard to its size and weight the bag did not meet the requirements for cabin luggage. He was asked to open the bag and the airline staff at the check-in desk could see that it contained variuos documents, some jewellery, antiques and several spectacles.

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