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USA: DOT to improve passenger rights

Most airlines don’t provide a refund of baggage fees if the bags are lost or delayed. A new DOT rule would require airlines to refund the fee if a bag is lost or not delivered in a “timely” manner. Exactly what “timely” means is yet to be determined.

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Class action on violation of EU Reg. 261/2004 filed in Illinois court

A class action against Alitalia has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois alleging, among other things, that Alitalia breached its contract with its customers and violated Regulation No.

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USA: Washington D.C. to sue OTAs for unpaid taxes

Officials announced that Washington D.C. will sue popular online hotel-booking firms in order to recoup millions of dollars in unpaid taxes. The complaint is similar to other lawsuits across the nation, which accuse leading online travel companies of basing their tax receipts on wholesale prices paid by the online booking agency — not the retail rate that guests actually pay.

Source: The Wahsington Times; find article here>>.

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USA: Oklahoma's lawsuit against online travel companies dismissed

Oklahoma County District Court Judge Daniel Owens has ruled against Oklahoma's legal effort to collect back sales taxes from online travel reservation companies which offer discount hotel rooms.

Source: NewsOK; find article here>>.

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USA: new Regulations on Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Public Accommodations to come into force

The U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) has issued new regulations on Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Public Accommodations and Commercial Facilities effective March 15, 2011. The new regulations will substantially limit the types of animals that will qualify as "service animals" under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

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USA: no unjust enrichment through limited validity of airline gift cards

Plaintiffs purchased gift cards for air travel and services on Continental’s airline. The gift card had a one year expiration date and when the donee attempted to utilize the gift card after its expiration date, Continental refused to honor it. Plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit against Continental asserting claims that allege violations of Ohio’s Gift Card Statute and the Ohio  Consumer Sales Practices Acts and also containing a claim for unjust enrichment.

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USA: local tolling rules do not apply to the limitation period of the Montreal Convention

In Duay v. Continental Airlines, Inc. (S.D. Tex. Dec. 21, 2010) the plaintiff, a Swiss citizen, when arriving in Texas on a Continental flight from Switzerland on December 2, 2007 discovered that his custom-fitted wheelchair had been damaged. He was provided with a replacement wheelchair which he claims did not fit his body properly and caused him skin irritation. On December 17, 2007, after having returned to Switzerland, the plaintiff attended a doctor’s appointment.

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USA: Delta fined for non-compliance with Air Travelers with Disabilities Rules

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) imposed a civil penalty of USD 2 million on Delta Air Lines for violating rules protecting air travelers with disabilities. The DOT's investigation had revealed many violations of the requirement to provide assistance getting on and off the airplane as well as frequent failures to provide an adequate written response to disability complaints from passengers.

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USA: third attempt to introduce Air Passenger Bill of Rights

Rep. Congressman Mike Thompson, D-California, announced to introduce an "Air Passenger Bill of Rights of 2011" which would require all airlines to provide water, food, working toilets, ventilation and the option for passengers to deplane if there is an extended delay. The bill would not be limited to domestic flights but also apply to all carriers flying in or out of the country, including non-U.S.-based airlines. This is the third time Thompson has introduced this legislation. The previous two bills failed to get off the ground.