Europe

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EU Commission revises guidelines on state aid to airports and airlines

On February 20, 2014, the European Commission released new Guidelines for the assessment of State aid to airports and airlines. The revised Guidelines which follow from a public consultation in 2011 with the purpose to reassess the Commission's former 2005 Guidelines introduce substantial changes:

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Swiss Federal Court: tour organizer not liable for paraglider accident

The plaintiff who had had successfully completed his paragliding education in 2001,  in 2002 booked a paragliding package to Italy with defendant. After some flights with a paraglider classified as being of "good-natured" flight characteristics, he changed to a more demanding paraglider classified for experienced pilots. At the second attempt with this other paraglider, it collapsed at one side which led into a crash in which the plaintiff was severely injured.

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European Parliament publishes report on air passenger rights revision

On Jan. 22, 2014, the Committee on Transport and Tourism of the European Parliament published a report on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 261/2004.

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CJEU Advocate General: EU law allows air carriers pricing freedom - including services such as checking in baggage

In August 2010, the air carrier Vueling added a surcharge of €40 to the base price of airline tickets (€241.48) purchased by Ms Arias Villegas when she checked in two pieces of baggage online. Ms Villegas therefore lodged a complaint against Vueling, claiming that the contract of carriage by air concluded with that undertaking contained an unfair term.

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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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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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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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Article on hotel classification in Ireland

"Fáilte Ireland" is the National Tourism Development Authority of Ireland. The authority was established under the National Tourism Development Authority Act of 2003. Fáilte Ireland has sub-contracted its accommodation registration assessment and classification functions to Tourist Accommodation Management Services Ltd (TAMS). An article by Mason Hayes & Curran published Dec. 3, 2013 on "Lexology" provides information on the classifcation procedure and the mandatory registration of hotels.

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