Michael Wukoschitz's blog

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No right of withdrawal from car hire contracts

Interpreting Art. 3(2) of the European Directive 97/7/EC on the protection of consumers in respect of distance contracts, European Court of Justice in a recent preliminary judgement (easyCar UK Ltd v. Office of Fair Trading) held that the exemption made in regard to "provison of transport services" includes contracts for the provision of car hire services. Consumers therefore have no unrestricted right of withdrawal within a specific period after conclusion of contract, even if same was concluded as a "distance contract" via the internet (ECJ 2005-03-10, C-336/03).
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Lufthansa: New Check-In Machines

By the end of March 2005 Lufthansa will indroduce new check-in machines which will allow to scan passengers' passports. Due to legal obligations the Airline has to collect passengers' passport data for each flight to USA, Canada, Korea or Mexico. Up to now these data have beeen collected manually. The new machines will be a further step towards self-service by passengers.

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Remarable Boost in Tourism

Due to figures published by WTO this February, Central American states have achived an remarkable increase of Tourism. Espescially Panama substantially invested in touristic infrastructure and advertisment for its historical sites, beaches and national parks. Thus in 2004 number of tourists increased by about 20%.

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Ticket lost - still entitled to carriage?

"No compensation will be granted if tickets were stolen or lost ." Such provision used in the general condiditons of contract of a German coach tour company was held ineffective by Germany's Supreme Court: the provision was inappropriate as it would frustrate purpose of contract when ticket got lost, even though a register of passengers allowed bus driver to verify passgenger's right to carriage.(Press release 17/2005 by BGH/German Supreme Court)

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Railway Compensation Scheme

Austrian Federal Railways have introduced a new compensation scheme for railway delays. According to this scheme any delay exceeding 1 hour will entitle passengers to a refund of 20% of the payed fare. If the delay should lead into arrival after midnight, passengers can also claim for refund of taxi or accomodation fees up to EUR 80. However, this scheme falls behind expectations as EU commission had demanded a refund of 50% for delays exceeding 1 hour or even 100% for delays exceeding 2 hours.

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National Security and Data Protection

Since 5 March 2003, an agreement between the European Commission and United States Customs gives the USA online access to passenger name record (PNR) data of all Europe-based airline carriers for flights that go to, from or through the USA. European privacy protection groups are deeply concerned as airline companies disclose Passenger Name Record data to United States authorities without obtaining passengers' explicit consent.

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Security, Terrorism and Tourists

Since the beginning of March 2003 US immigration authorities are checking all tourists for radioactive material as there is increasing concern of new terrorist activities.

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Freedom of Tourism and Travel Services

Austria’s Administrative Court recently came up with a principle decision regarding freedom to provide services of couriers, escorting travel groups from other EU-countries. Administrative Court held, that such couriers are free to show and explain any national sights to their group, with the only reservation made in regard to museums or historical monuments, which require a specific knowledge of the guide, exceeding the proof of qualification required for tourist guides in general (VwGH 04 Sept.2002, 2000/04/0066)