Monday, May 26, 2008

German BGH: Reg. 261/2004 doesn't provide claims against tour organizer

In a recent decision (X ZR 49/07 of 11.03.08) German Civil Supreme Court (BGH) held that in case of flight cancellation or denied boarding a passenger cannot claim for compensation against the tour organizer under Reg. 261/2004. Compensation claims granted by this Regulation were solely directed against the operating air carrier. BGH saw no reason for doubt in so far and therefore no necessity for preliminary ruling by the European Court of Justice.

Text of BGH decision avialable in German here>>.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

California: Cruise industry urges agents to oppose bill

CLIA is calling on travel agents to mobilize and vocalize against a bill in the California legislature that would mandate that the state's "ocean rangers" board cruise ships as they enter and exit the Golden State's waters, according to CLIA president and CEO Terry Dale at Travel Trade's 26th Annual CRUISE-A-THON .
Dale's message was echoed by Celebrity Cruises president Dan Hanrahan, in his featured address at the conference. Hanrahan said that proposed legislative and regulatory actions, such as the California bill, are redundant and an obstacle to the cruise industry's growth.

Source: Travel Trade; full article here>>.

USA: DOT imposing new rules on airlines

Department of Transportation (DOT) plans to require airlines and travel agents to disclose fees many airlines have imposed to check a second bag "in their Internet and print ads and before anyone purchases a ticket."
DOT also issued a final rule that requires carriers to "to report new and more complete data on the time passengers spend on the tarmac." Prior to the rule, carriers were not required to report complete delay information, including instances when planes depart the gate more than once, flights are cancelled after leaving the gate or flights are diverted to another airport. "Passengers should know whether it will take as long for their flight to get to the runway as it will to land at their destination," U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said.

Source: BTN Online; full article here>>.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Kenya: tourism draft law under fire

After completing their tourism policy two years ago, which seems to have taken much inspiration from the generally considered visionary Ugandan tourism policy document, the next stage of development, a new tourism draft law seems to have drawn sharp criticism from the private sector. A consultative committee was therefore put into place to iron out the differences between those who presented the latest draft version and the private sector.
Private sectors across Eastern Africa are now better organized and have learned from each other’s experiences, and an informed Kenyan private sector promptly spotted the anomalies in the latest draft of the law.

Source: eTurbo News; full article here>>.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

USA: Senators object to TSA passenger fee to pay for explosives detectors

The head of the Transportation Security Administration says a proposed passenger surcharge will raise $400 million for modernizing airport security, even as critics faulted the modernization efforts. TSA Administrator Kip Hawley told the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on Tuesday the four-year, 50-cents-per-flight fee would pay for explosives detectors that would eventually screen all baggage checked on commercial airliners.
But the surcharge drew opposition from lawmakers, particularly Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, who complained that many Alaska residents take frequent, multileg flights to get around their state. The fee is capped at $1 per day — exempting passengers who take more than two flights daily — but Stevens said it could have an economic impact on his state.

Source:; full article here>>.

Dengue Fever still a widespread threat

In some nations, such as Cambodia, the threat of dengue hemorrhagic fever is fairly obvious, but travelers should be aware that the disease can be found all over the globe, including the U.S. In recent years, dengue fever has spread rapidly in subtropical and tropical climates. In addition to Cambodia, recent epidemics have been experienced in Costa Rica, India, Malyasia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Also, outbreaks have occurred throughout the Western Hemisphere including in the Caribbean islands, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. The New York Times (5/13)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

UK: CAA reminds travel industry of consumer protection in air package sale

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has today written to more than 100 travel businesses in the UK that it believes may be continuing to sell air packages without the protection of an Air Travel Organisers’ Licence (ATOL).
In January this year, the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) issued guidance on what constitutes a package for the purposes of the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992. This guidance was prepared in conjunction with other interested UK government departments and was supported by the main travel trade associations in the UK.
Since the publication of the guidance, the CAA, which administers the ATOL)protection scheme, has been in discussion with both current licence holders and large travel companies that it believes need to hold an ATOL in accordance with the terms of the new guidance. As a result, there has been an increase of more than 400,000 protected seats added to ATOL licences.
In addition, the CAA has continued to investigate other travel firms that may need an ATOL and the letter, which is being sent to them today, sets out the legal position and invites them to apply for a licence. Further information about ATOL is available on the ATOL website at

Source: CAA; full article here>>.

Belize: agreement to balance cruise ship tourism and conservation

Members of Belize’s cruise tourism industry on Monday signed a Declaration of Commitment, in which key industry stakeholders - including government, private sector, civil society (NGOs) and the cruise lines – commit to create sustainable cruise tourism practices, such as protecting coral reefs. The commitment is the second such environmental agreement developed for Caribbean passenger cruise line destinations by Conservation International’s (CI) Mesoamerican Reef Tourism Initiative (MARTI). It is also the first to address considerations by an established nature tourism destination and will likely serve as a model for cruise line travel destinations around the world.

Source: EurekAlert!; find full article here>>.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

USA: priviledged classes at airport security?

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff went to Baltimore-Washington International Airport two weeks ago to inaugurate a program called Checkpoint Evolution. It introduces 600 “whole-body imagers” that replicate, in schematic 3-D, everything a passenger is hiding under his or her clothing — not only hypothetical daggers, pistols, knuckle dusters and cocaine but also actual moles, scars, sores, nipples and genitalia. And all of it so vividly that the A.C.L.U. calls the imagers “virtual strip-search” machines. But Checkpoint Evolution is about comfort as well as security. Pleasant music, better lighting and open spaces are supposed to change the airport-security experience “in a way that lowers the general stress level,” Chertoff said. He failed, however, to mention a thing about checkpoints that drives stress levels to insurrectionary heights: the segregated security lines that certain airports and airlines permit. Many first- and business-class passengers, as well as frequent fliers, zip right to the metal detectors while coach passengers snake through lines for waits than can exceed half an hour. If Americans will put up with that, they’ll put up with being seen naked.

Source: New York Times; full article by Christopher Caldwell here>>.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Guarded gates for Malaysian travelers?

Malaysian travelers may soon face the unpleasant prospects of being barred from entering European countries because of the increase in arrests due to crimes.
The 90-day free visa access in European countries that Malaysians are now entitled under the Schengen Agreement may now be in jeopardy following reports of increasing numbers of Malaysians arrested or are in jail in China, Taiwan, the US and even South America.

Source: eTurboNews; full article available here>>.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

"Consumers: 50% of misleading airline websites corrected"

According to the EU Press Room, "EU Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva today published the mid term report on an EU wide enforcement investigation - involving 15 EU national authorities as well as Norway – against misleading advertising and unfair practices on airline ticket selling websites. The report shows that there are 'serious and persistent consumer problems' throughout the airline industry as a whole. 1 in 3 websites surveyed (137 out of 386 originally checked by the 13 reporting countries) have had to be followed up with enforcement action over the last 7 months for breaches of EU consumer law. Over 50% of those websites have been corrected during this time.
'It is unacceptable that 1 in 3 consumers going to book a plane ticket online is being ripped off or mislead and confused", said EU Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva. This report shows there are serious and persistent problems with ticket sales throughout the airline industry as a whole. I intend to work with Member States to do everything possible to wrap up this investigation by May 1st next year. But these findings send a political signal we cannot ignore. I hope operators have now realised the determination of the Commission to act on behalf of consumers where it is necessary. My message to industry is clear, act now or we will act. We will need to see credible evidence of improvement to clean up these sales and marketing practices within the airline sector by May 1st next year or we will be left with no choice but to intervene.'."

This Press Release is available in full text.

Florida: Woman sues Norwegian Cruise Line over dining issue

A California woman sued NCL, alleging the Miami-based cruise operator failed to disclose it may be impossible to get reservations at specialty restaurants for those passengers not booked in the upscale cabins that get priority access.
The suit filed in U.S. District Court Monday by Fort Lauderdale attorney Paul M. Hoffman seeks refunds for the cruise and incidental costs for Eva Gularte, her sister and mother, for a voyage on the Norwegian Star, plus attorney's fees. It seeks class-action status for all NCL passengers who had similar problems in the past three years.

Source: Miami Herald; read full article here>>.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

California: Assembly adopts airline passenger bill of rights

California lawmakers last Thursday approved legislation requiring airlines to provide passengers with food, water, lights, air and working toilets when they're stuck on airport tarmacs for long periods of time.The measure cleared the Assembly by a 54-16 vote, with critics challenging whether California has the authority to regulate airlines. It now goes to the Senate.
The law applies to California airports and is modeled after a New York law struck down by a federal appeals court in March. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the airline industry and ruled that only the federal government had the authority to pass regulations governing airlines.

Find full here>>.

"Aviation Security: European Commission avoids undue operational complications and inconvenience for passengers on cabin baggage size"

As stated by the EU Press Room, "Initial plans to set legal limits at European level to the size of carry-on cabin baggage in airplanes have been withdrawn by a Regulation which comes into force today. In October 2006, security experts initially advised the European Commission to limit the maximum permitted size of cabin baggage throughout the EU to 56 cm x 45 cm x 25 cm. However, introduction was delayed pending in-depth studies and analysis ordered by the Commission. In its efforts to focus only on the most efficient security measures, the Commission considers that the effectiveness of this measure does not justify the additional costs and inconvenience to airline passengers."

This Press Release is available in full text.

Egypt: smuggled ancient artifacts recovered

Egypt's Minister of Culture announced last that the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) stopped in the last hour the sale of two ancient Egyptian objects in London and Holland, in an attempt to save Egypt’s illegally smuggled heritage. He stated that one of the objects is an inscribed relief removed from a wall in the 26th Dynasty tomb of Mutirdis in Asasif on Luxor’s west bank, and was meant to be put on sale Thursday, May 1st at Bonhams, an auction house in London.
The relief om the tomb of Mutirdis appeared in Bonhams’s sale catalogue one week ago. In response, Hawass sent an urgent letter to Chantelle Waddington of Bonhams asking for the sale of the relief to be stopped, as it was stolen and smuggled from Egypt.
In collaboration with Egypt’s ambassador to Holland, a 19th Dynasty green ushabti figure of a woman called Hener was taken out of an auction sale, and will be returned to its homeland. This ushabti figure was stolen from a Saqqara storehouse and is now at the Leiden Museum awaiting its journey back to Egypt after the issuance of Amsterdam’s court verdict.

Source: eTurboNews; find full article here>>.