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Waiver & Release Agreements Barred in Virginia but Still Very Useful for Travel Companies

Since the 19th Century, Virginia courts have maintained that waiver and release agreements for personal injuries violate public policy and are, therefore, prohibited in the Commonwealth. In my new blog article published this morning, I discuss seven reasons why it still makes good sense for Virginia-based travel businesses to continue ...
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IFTTA Law Review 1-2014 available online

The latest edition of the IFTTA Law Review is available in the Members' Section of the webiste. It contains an essay by Josep M. Bech Serrat from Girona, providing an overview of the proposal for a new Package Travel Directive.
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German Supreme Court (BGH) asks CJEU for preliminary ruling in air ticket pricing case

According to Article 23(1) of Regulation (EC) No1008/2008 on common rules for the operation of air services in the Community, air fares and air rates available to the general public shall include the applicable conditions when offered or published in any form, including on the Internet, for air services from ...
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U.S. Court of Appeals: Montreal statute of limitations begins to run when aircraft arrives – even if the claim has not yet accrued

On December 26, 2008, Panansam Narayanan boarded a British Airways flight from Los Angeles, California, to Bangalore, India, with an intermediate stop in London, England. Mr. Narayanan, who suffered from terminal lung disease, was assured prior to boarding that should he need it, supplemental oxygen would be provided to him ...
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CJEU: a Member State must not require an air carrier licensed in another Member State to obtain permission to enter its airspace

International Jet Management, an airline company with its seat in Austria, operated private flights from Moscow and Ankara to Germany without having the authorisation, required by the German legislation, to enter German airspace. In criminal proceedings against International Jet Management,the German Apellate Court (Oberlandesgericht Braunschweig) filed a request for preliminary ...
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Norway: heavy cruise lines to be banned from visiting Svalbard archipelago

Norway is about to implement a heavy fuel oil ban on parts of the Svalbard archipelago in 2015. Such ban would prohibit larger cruise vessels from entering the waters near the archipelago's national parks. Future visits to the area therefore will consist mainly of smaller expedition vessels. The ban is ...
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Ontario: claim against Mexican hotel stayed for lack of jurisdiction

In the spring of 2006, the plaintiff, AngelaHaufler, was injured while on vacation in Mexico with her mother, a friend, and the friend's mother. The injury occurred while she was participating in an all-terrain vehicle (“ATV”) excursion. She was immediately flown back to Canada for treatment.As a result of the ...
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European Union: Parliament votes to extend protection for package holiday travellers

The current EU rules on package holidays date back to 1990. Since then, the growth in cheap flights and internet sales has significantly changed the way travellers plan and buy holidays. However, many of these holidays customised on the internet are not covered by the current rules and travellers risk ...
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Austrian Supreme Court: tour operator liable for floatplane boarding accident

The plaintiff had booked a package to the Maldives with the defendant. The package included a transfer by floatplane from Malé to the island where the hotel was situated. Accorsing to the Operating Manual of the carrier, it is necessary to moor the floatplane with three ropes. The crew is ...
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Thomas Cook wins disabled passenger case.

The UK Supreme Court has ruled in favour of Thomas Cook rejecting an appeal by a disabled passenger who was fighting for damages from the operator. Wheelchair user Christopher Stott took his case to the Supreme Court after the Court of Appeal dismissed his Claim for damages against Thomas Cook ...
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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:State aid for airport operating costs will ...
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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 ...
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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. The report refers to an incomplete and inconsistent implementation of the existing Regulation by ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Austrian Supreme court asks CJEU for interpretion of Reg. 785/2004 and the Montreal Convention

In a recent decision, the Austrian Supreme Court (OGH) has filed a reference for preliminary ruling to the CJEU with regard to Regulation (EC) No 785/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 on insurance requirements for air carriers and aircraft operators and the Montreal ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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U.S. …Jurisdiction re Eurail Pass

Court - personal jurisdiction over foreign common carrier In an en banc decision, with three judges dissenting, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that sale of a ticket of passage on a foreign common carrier by a US agent was sufficient to sustain personal jurisdiction over ...
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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. ...
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IFTTA Law Review 3-2013 now available online

The IFTTA Law Review 3-2013 is now available in the members area of the IFTTA website. It includes an article by Paul Edelman on "The Athens Convention as applied in the United States and abroad to cruise line accident litigation", a report on IFTTA's 24th Conference in Prague by Klaus ...
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Australia to abolish travel agents licensing

Travel Agents Repeal Bills were introduced into parliament on 13 November 2013 (Victoria) and on 14 November 2013 (New South Wales). The other states and territories are in to process of repealing their Travel Agents Acts. The States and Territories are repealing their Travel Agents Acts following upon the Travel ...
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UK: Court of Appeal decides in broken glass door case

The case relates to an accident suffered by the plaintiff when on holiday in Barbados in September 2008. She had gone onto the balcony of her hotel room to read a book, closingbehind her the sliding glass balcony doors. When the telephone in her room rang a short time later, ...
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CJEU decides on jurisdiction in package travel case

The plaintiffs, domiciled in Bludesch (Austria), booked and paid for themselves, as private individuals, a package holiday to Egypt on the website of a German online travel agent. The OTA, a company whose registered office is in Munich (Germany), stated that it acted as the travel agent and that the ...
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