North America

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USA: Appelate court decides on angry passenger's Facebook and Twitter posts about an airline employee

An operations agent employed by Southwest Airlines brought an action against a passenger for posting allegedly false and defamatory statements on Twitter and Facebook regarding actions taken by agent when passenger attempted to board a flight. The plaintiff alledged that the defendant knowingly and intentionally, or in the alternative, with reckless disregard for the veracity of her statements had stated that she had been treated in a very impolite way when she wnated to board the aircraft togehter with her four-year-old daughter.

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USA: DOT fines Virgin America for failing to make safety videos accessible to passengers with hearing impairments

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) fined Virgin America USD 150,000 for failing to make its in-flight safety video accessible to passengers with hearing impairments.  The airline also was ordered to cease and desist from further violations.

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Canada: CTA orders Air Canada and Porter Airlines to revise domestic tariff provisions

In two separate decisions of Aug. 29, 2013, the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) ordered Air Canada and Porter Airlines to revise certain domestic tariff provisions. A tariff is the contract between the carrier and the passenger which contains an air carrier’s terms and conditions of carriage. Tariff provisions are enforceable by the CTA.

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USA: “dirtiest hotel in America” not defamatory

In 2011, TripAdvisor rated Grand Resort Hotel and Convention Center in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee number one on its list of the “Dirtiest Hotels in America.” Grand Resort’s sole proprietor filed suit against TripAdvisor, alleging claims of defamation, false-light invasion of privacy, tortious interference with prospective business relationships and trade libel/injurious falsehood.  The district court granted TripAdvisor’s motion to dismiss, finding the list to be protected opinion and therefore not capable of being defamatory. The U.S.

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USA: New Jersey judge dismisses hotel waitresses' gender discrimination claim

A group of 22 waitresses of the Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City filed a law suit for gender discrimination. The hotel explicitly hires cocktail waitresses based on appearance and requires them to meet and maintain certain weight standards and wear short dresses while male servers are not held to the same standards. However, a New Jersey judge dismissed these claims and concluded that the plaintiffs knew what they were getting themselves into, and that the hotel had been clear about the fact that personal appearance was a key component of the job.

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Canada: CTA decides on overbooking - and finds European compensation system unreasonable

On December 12, 2011, Gábor Lukács filed a complaint with the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) alleging that Air Canada’s practice of overselling domestic flights and certain domestic tariff provisions governing denied boarding compensation appearing in Air Canada’s Tariff are unreasonable. He requested the CTA to:

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U.S. Court: American citizens have a constitutionally protected right to travel by air

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) launched the case before a U.S. District Court in Oregon on behalf of 13 plaintiffs who are on the U.S. government’s secretive no-fly list. The plaintiffs, who include four U.S. military veterans, have never been told why they are on the list or given a reasonable opportunity to get off it. All 13 have sought redress through the Department of Homeland Security's Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP), but to no avail.

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USA: DOT fines ticket agents for code-share disclosure violations

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) fined three ticket agents for violating the Department’s rules on disclosure of code-share flights. DOT’s Aviation Enforcement Office made telephone calls to a number of agents during January and February of 2013 and inquired about booking certain flights. During these calls, the reservations agents for all three companies failed to disclose that the flights were being operated under code-share arrangements.

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U.S. travel industry worried about anti-gay law in Russia

According to a report published in "Travel Weekly", the travel industry in the U.S. struggled to decide how to handle Russia’s recently enacted anti-gay law, which could potentially put clients traveling to Russia at risk of arrest. The law prohibits the “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations among minors" but is widely seen as a government-backed attempt at aggressive suppression of homosexual behavior. Many travel professionals in particular are concerned about the lack of a clear definition of what exactly constitutes illegal behavior.

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USA: DOT releases guidance for Internet flight-search tools

According to an article published in "Travel Pulse", the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has released a guidance document for travel agencies that operate Internet flight-search tools on how these agencies should disclose the carriers they do not market in their search results. In particular, DOT will consider it an unfair practice to simply report that “no flight exists that matches” the consumer’s criteria, when in reality the flight does exist, but the agency does not offer it. DOT has provided a 90-day window, starting Aug.

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