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IFTTA Law Review 1-2018 available online

The IFTTA Law Review 1-2018 is now available for download in the members' area. It contains a message by IFTTA President Marc Mc Donald and articles by Larry Gore, Doug Crozier and Michael Wukoschitz which cover U.S., Canadian and European issues. The Law Review also contains a case summary on a recent judgement of the CJEU regarding air passenger rights. Enjoy reading!

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German Supreme Court decides on airline tariff: a non-refundable ticket remains non-refundable

The plaintiffs had booked tickets for a Lufthansa flight from Hamburg via Frankfurt to Miami and back from Los Angeles via Frankfurt to Hamburg. The ticket price was EUR 2.766,32 and according to the tariff, the ticket was non-refundable (except applicable taxes only). Because of a disease, the plaintiffs cancelled their tickets and claimed back the ticket price. Lufthansa only refunded taxes of EUR 133,56 each. The plaintiffs filed a law suit for the difference which was dismissed by the first instance court (AG Köln) and their appeal was dismissed as well.

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CJEU decides on forum in air passenger rigths cases

In Rehder v Ari Baltic (C-204/08) the Court of Justice of the Europena Union had decided that in the case of air transport of passengers from one Member State to another Member State, carried out on the basis of a contract with only one airline, which is the operating carrier, the court having jurisdiction to deal with a claim for compensation founded on that transport contract and Reg. (EC) No.

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German Supreme Court (BGH) decides on air carrier liability for passenger fall on boarding bridge

The claimant was about to embark for his flight from Düsseldorf to Hamburg on Feb. 9, 2013, when he slipped on the boarding bridge because of a wet floor caused by condensation. As a result he suffered from a fracture of his patella. He filed a claim for damages against the defendant air carrier. The first instance court (LG Düsseldorf) dismissed the claim and the appelate court (OLG Düsseldorf) confirmed this decision: according to the Montral Convention, the air carrier was only libale for accidents caused by a hazard which was characteristic for aviation.

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Austria: Constitutional Court upholds ban on 'best price' clauses for online hotel booking portals

Effecitve by January 1, 2017, an amendment to the Austrian Unfair Competition Act (UWG) introduced a ban on 'best price' clauses for hotel booking portals. These clauses were qualified as an agressive business practice. According to such clauses, a hotel operator who wanted to sell rooms through online portals had to accept not to offer these rooms for a lower price or at more favourable conditions though any other distribution channel including the hotel's own website.

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U.S. Court: mental anguish compensable under Montreal Convention if it results from an accident that also caused bodily injury

Plaintiff Jane Doe and her eleven-year-old daughter flew aboard Etihad Airways from Abu Dhabi to Chicago. When she stuck her hand into the seat pocket in front of her, she was unexpectedly pricked by a hypodermic needle that lay hidden within. The needle drew blood from her finger.  Doe was prescribed medication for possible exposure to hepatitis, tetanus, and HIV, and she underwent several rounds of testing over the following year. Thankfully for Doe, all the tests came back negative.

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CJEU: airline crew members can sue their employer at their "home base"

Ryanair and Crew link are companies established in Ireland. Ryanair is active in the international passenger air transport sector. Crewlink is specialised in the recruitment and training of cabin crew for airlines. Between 2009 and 2011, employees of Portuguese, Spanish and Belgian nationality were hired by Ryanair or by Crewlink, then assigned to Ryanair, as cabin crew (air hostesses and stewards ).

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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 decides on disclosure of air ticket price components and cancellation fees

A German Consumer Association (Bundesverband der Verbraucherzentralen und Verbraucherverbände) made a test booking on Air Berlin’s website and found that the taxes, charges and fees applicable to the ticket were indicated as being only 1 Euro or 3 Euro while the real taxes, charges and fees must have been much higher. The Consumer Association regarded this practice as misleading.

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Australia: hotel occupier liable for fall at raised timber platform in the lobby

Shortly before midday on 19 June 2009 the plaintiff tripped over the corner of a raised timber platform in the lobby area of the Manly Pacific Hotel. As a result he suffered injuries to his neck, right shoulder and back. That relatively dark timber platform was a permanent structure in the hotel lobby and was positioned to the right side of the walkway to the main bar area, the entrance to which was on the left hand side of the foyer area. It was rectangular in shape – 1770 mm wide, 2625 mm long and 151 mm in height.

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