USA

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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 the door open.  DOT fined Qantas USD 90,000 and ordered the airline to cease and desist from further violations.

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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 to victims of a 2005 West Caribbean Airways crash in Venezuela during a flight from Panama to Martinique had claimed that their suit against the air carrier was improperly dismissed because it left them without a forum to litigate the case.

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USA: DOT fines United Airlines USD 1.1 million for lengthy tarmac delays

The U. S. Department of Transportation (DOT) on Oct. 25, 2013, fined United Airlines USD 1.1 million for lengthy tarmac delays that took place at Chicago-O’Hare International Airport on July 13, 2012.   The airline was ordered to cease and desist from future violations of the tarmac-delay rule. This is the largest fine assessed for a tarmac-delay violation since the rule limiting long tarmac delays first took effect in April 2010.

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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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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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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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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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