USA

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U.S.A.: DOT fines airlines for not adequately responding to complaints of disabled passengers

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today fined Air France, Lufthansa, and British Airways for not adequately responding to complaints filed by passengers with disabilities.  Air France and Lufthansa were each fined USD 200,000 and British Airways was fined USD 150,000.  The airlines were also ordered to cease and desist from future similar violations.

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USA: DOT reminds airlines on their obligations regarding damaged baggage

Following a routine airport inspection at 16 airports nationwide in a two week period in September 2015, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued a notice reminding airlines that they are required to compensate passengers for damage to wheels, straps, zippers, handles, and other protruding parts of checked baggage beyond normal wear and tear.  The notice also reminds airlines of their obligation to accept all reports of mishandled baggage from consumers even if an airline’s agent believes the airline is not liable.

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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: TSA announces tighter security measures at certain airports

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) directed the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to implement enhanced security measures in the coming days at certain overseas airports with direct flights to the United States. All electronic devices are screened by security officers. During the security examination, officers may also ask that owners power up some devices, including cell phones. Powerless devices will not be permitted onboard the aircraft. The traveler may also undergo additional screening.

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USA: court finds 'No Fly List' unconstitutional

A federal judge in Orgeon struck down as unconstitutional the government’s procedures for people on the No Fly List to challenge their inclusion.

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U.S. Supreme Court: Frequent flier claim preempted by Airline Deregulation Act

Northwest terminated Rabbi S. Binyomin Ginsberg’s membership in its frequent flyer program, apparently based on a provision in the fre­quent flyer agreement that gave Northwest sole discretion to deter­mine whether a participant had abused the program. Rabbi Ginsberg filed a suit, asserting, that Northwest had breached its contract by revoking his membership status without valid cause and had violated the duty of good faith and fair dealing because it terminated his membership in a way that contravened his reasonable expectations.

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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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U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear appeal in West Caribbean Airways crash case

On Dec. 9, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court has denied a request to review an Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that affirmed the order of a Florida federal court refusing to vacate its November 2007 dismissal of a wrongful-death and strict-liability suit on forum non conveniens grounds. The heirs to victims of a 2005 West Caribbean Airways crash in Venezuela during a flight from Panama to Martinique had claimed that their suit against the air carrier was improperly dismissed because it left them without a forum to litigate the case.

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USA: DOT fines United Airlines USD 1.1 million for lengthy tarmac delays

The U. S. Department of Transportation (DOT) on Oct. 25, 2013, fined United Airlines USD 1.1 million for lengthy tarmac delays that took place at Chicago-O’Hare International Airport on July 13, 2012.   The airline was ordered to cease and desist from future violations of the tarmac-delay rule. This is the largest fine assessed for a tarmac-delay violation since the rule limiting long tarmac delays first took effect in April 2010.

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