Michael Wukoschitz's blog

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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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UK: Office of Fair Trading consults on amendments to proposed hotel online booking commitments

On Dec. 20, 2013, the UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) opened a consultation on revised commitments proposed by Booking.com B.V. (Booking.com), Expedia Inc (Expedia) and InterContinental Hotels Group plc (IHG) designed to address competition concerns in relation to the online offering of room-only hotel accommodation bookings by online travel agents (OTAs).

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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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Aviation Safety Network: accident fatalities at record low in 2013

The 2013 airliner accident statistics released by the Aviation Safety Network on January 1, 2014 shows a record low total of 265 airliner accident fatalities, as a result of 29 fatal airliner accidents. Thus, the year 2013 was a very safe year for commercial aviation: the number of fatalities is significantly lower than the ten-year average of 720 fatalities. Three out of 29 accident airplanes (10%) were operated by airlines on the E.U. “black list” as opposed to three out of 23 (13%) the year before.

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UK: Supreme Court finds refusal of double room to same sex couple discriminatory

In its judgement of Nov. 27, 2013, in case Bull and another v Hall and another [2013] UKSC 73, the UK Supreme Court held that a same sex couple had been directly discriminated against because of their sexual orientation when they were refused a double room in a hotel. For religious reasons, Mr and Mrs Bull, the hotel owners, only permitted married couples to share a double room in their hotel and did not recognise civil partnership as equivalent to marriage.

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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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Austrian Supreme Court: hotelier liable for legionella disease

In April 2003, the plaintiff stayed at the defendant's hotel. When using the shower she caught a legionella infection which led into a pneumonia. The reason for the contamination of the bathing water was an insufficient circulation speed which made the water cool down to a temperature that stimulated the reprduction of legionella bacteria. Up to (at least) March 2003, the hotelier had engaged a plumber to take care of the maintenance of the water pipe system.

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Canada: Ontario Superior Court of Justice decides on Montreal Convention exclusivity

On January 14, 2011, Ashlyn O’Hara was a passenger on Air Canada Flight AC878  from Toronto to Zurich. During the flight, the First Officer went to sleep for approximately  75 minutes. When the First Officer awoke, the Captain informed him that a United States Air Force Boeing C-17 had appeared as a traffic alert and collision avoidance system target on the flight’s navigational display. The Captain apprised the First Officer of this traffic.

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Australia: Supreme Cout of Queensland decides in 'cramped' air passenger case

The plaintiff, a general medical practitioner, claimed damages for personal injuries allegedly sustained whilst travelling on an international flight between Australia and the United States of America on 9 December 2008. He alledged that his seat did not fully recline and that the passengers seated in the row immediately in front of him kept their seats reclined the entire flight. In the leg room space that would otherwise have been fully available to the plaintiff below the seat immediately in front of him, there was positioned an audio-visual box occupying part of that space.

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