JurisdictionUnited States
Publication year2021

§ 6.01 The Impact of Class Actions

When confronted with travel problems, the traveler possesses certain rights and remedies against the many and varied entities in the business of marketing and delivering travel services to the general public. However, the existence of such "rights and remedies" may be academic, at best, if the aggrieved traveler is unable to convince an attorney to invest his or her time and money in prosecuting a travel case on a contingency fee basis. Cases involving severe physical injuries or death and/or egregious forms of misconduct will, typically, be of sufficient monetary interest to the legal profession such that adequate representation will be available. Most of the common travel problems, however, involved such relatively small individual damages that the legal profession could not afford to provide the representation necessary to prosecute these cases which often involved complex marketing systems, complex legal and factual issues, and well-heeled defendants. Hence, the rationale and justification for the class action device which permits the aggregation of many small claims on behalf of similarly situated travelers and stimulates the legal profession to invest the time and money necessary to effectively prosecute travel consumer cases.1

The class action device not only provides a meaningful remedy for groups of aggrieved travelers but also has the salutary effect of stimulating change in the manner in which travel services are marketed and delivered to the general public.

[1] Class Actions and Air Carriers

Class actions against air carriers2 have arisen because of (1) physical injuries,3 (2) flight delays,4 cancellations5 or drink coupons,6 (3) overbooking,7 (4) discrimination,8 (5) the cost of ambulance services,9 (6) lost, damaged or stolen baggage,10 (7) misinformation or misrepresentation,11 (8) defaults in the delivery of non-transportation services,12 (9) price overcharges,13 price fixing,14 monopolization,15 (10) violation of public charter regulations,16 (11) invasion of privacy,17 (12) travel agent commissions,18 (13) termination of travel agent contracts,19 (14) ticket cancellation policies,20 (15) violation of Rehabilitation Act,21 (16) hidden city fares,22 (17) imposition of government fees included in the cost of non-refundable airline tickets,23 (18) failure to pay tips to sky- caps,24 (19) failure to refund certain surcharges when airline tickets expire unused,25 (20) frequent flyer programs,26 (21) imposing of Mexican tourist tax,27 (22) fuel surcharge coupons,28 (23) imposition of baggage fees for canceled flights,29 (24) refunds for non-refundable tickets,30 and other problems.

[2] Class Actions and Cruise Lines

Class actions against cruise lines31 have arisen because of (1) physical injuries,32 (2) delays, port-skipping and itinerary changes,33 (3) discomfort aboard ship,34 (4) misinformation or misrepresentation,35 (5) deceptive port charges,36 (6) lost, damaged or stolen baggage,37 (7) failure to provide adequate services and facilities,38 (8) fires,39 (9) disabled accessibility,40 (10) deceptive art auctions,41 (11) failure to comply with Fair Credit Reporting Act,42 (12) failure to disclose unavailability of specialty restaurants,43 and other problems.44

[3] Class Actions and Railroads and Bus Companies

Class actions should be brought against railroads45 and bus companies46 because of (1) physical injuries,47 (2) delays,48 (3) discomfort,49 (4) dishonored reservations, (5) misrepresentations,50 (6) discrimination,51 and (7) price fixing.52

[4] Class Actions and Rental Car Companies and Ride Sharing Companies

Class actions against rental car companies53 have arisen because of (1) price over- charges,54 age,55 racial56 and disability discrimination, price fixing57 and failure to dis- close,58 (2) failure to provide documents of damage repair,59 (3) failures to deliver,60 (4) late fees,61 (5) sexual orientation,62 (6) e-Toll convenience fees,63 (7) unfair currency conversions,64 (8) failure to disclose changes in loss of use and administrative fee,65 (9) fuel service fee,66 (10) frequent flyer surcharge,67 (11) refueling fees,68 (12) violating insurance statutes,69 (13) misrepresenting the price or omitting additional charges,70 (14) change in Uber drivers' compensation,71 (15) Uber drivers' employment status,72 (16) antitrust claims against Uber,73 (17) violation of privacy against Uber,74 (18) failure of Uber to comply with local licensing statutes and taxi regulations,75 (19) unauthorized release of prohibited credit information,76 (20) unlawful fuel surcharges,77 (21) unlawful imposition of recovery fees,78 (22) unlawful airport concession fees,79 (23) unlawful imposition of transaction privilege taxes,80 (24) failure to disclose vehicle license and customer facility fees,81 (25) unlawful rate of insurance,82 (26) use of illegal exclusion in collision damage waiver,83 and other problems.

[5] Class Actions and Hotels and Resorts

Class actions against hotels84 have arisen because of (1) physical injuries,85 (2) over- booking,86 (3) misrepresentations regarding the nature of the accommodations, services and facilities,87 (4) misrepresentations regarding the nature of the food ser- viced,88 (5) price overcharging89 and price fixing90 (6) lack of disabled accessible facilities,91 (7) racial discrimination,92 (8) violation of Telephone Consumer Protection Act,93 (9) violation of parking ordinances,94 (10) violation of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act,95 (11) imposing hold over fees,96 (12) failure to provide notice of an energy surcharge imposed on guests,97 (13) misrepresenting currency exchange rates,98 (14) failure to disclose energy surcharge,99 (15) unlawful imposition of transaction privilege taxes,100 (16) imposition of undisclosed "resort fee,"101 (17) using monies collected for taxes to pay ordinary vendor services,102 and other problems.

[6] Class Actions and Casinos

Class actions against casinos have arisen because of: (1) misrepresenting probability of winning video poker,103 (2) allowing gamblers to use credit cards in Internet casi- nos,104 (3) failing to disclose that bonus wheels on slot machines were programmed to stop more frequently on spaces with lower monetary values,105 (4) false imprison- ment,106 (5) exposure to toxic chemicals,107 (6) video machines not randomly oper- ated,108 and (7) deceptive promotional solicitations.109

[7] Class Actions and Theme Parks and Museums

Class actions against theme parks have arisen because of: (1) violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act110 and violation of California common carrier statutes.111 Class actions against museums have arisen over the pricing of admission tickets.112

[8] Class Actions and Resort Time Sharing and Vacation Condominiums

Class actions against resort time sharing113 condominium owners, operators and developers have arisen because of (1) misrepresentations,114 (2) breach of management agreements,115 (3) structural defects,116 (4) mismanagement of owners' associations and clubs,117 (5) violation of state and federal securities laws,118 (6) improper imposition of fees,119 and (7) imposition of an annual "point limit cap."120

[9] Class Actions and Entertainment Suppliers

Class actions have been brought by disappointed sports fans121 against tour operators, travel agents and professional sports teams for a variety of problems including:

(1) canceled charter tours featuring tickets to popular sporting events such as the Super Bowl 122 or the Rose Bowl 123 which may also constitute a violation of U.S. Department of Transportation Regulations; 124
(2) the failure of advertised "Star" players to play after season tickets are pur- chased; 125
(3) the relocation of the team after season tickets are purchased; 126
(4) poor team performance due to strikes, 127 business failures, 128 fraud, 129 canceled games 130 and incompetent umpires; 131
(5) sex discrimination 132 whereby some sports fans are denied access to games;
(6) poor television programming 133 of closed circuit sporting events;
(7) obstruction of view of concert; 134
(8) challenge to changes in the terms and conditions of season's tickets; 135
(9) inadequate security in online marketplace; 136

(10) refusal to honor "investor" ski passes.137

[10] Class Actions and Tour Operators

Class actions against tour operators138 and wholesalers have arisen because of (1) physical injuries,139 (2) flight delays140 or cancellations,141 (3) hotel "bait and switch" schemes,142 (4) misrepresentations regarding air transportation,143 (5) misrepresentations regarding the nature of the accommodations, services and facilities available at promised hotels,144 (6) misrepresentation of the price of the tour,145 (7) misrepresentations regarding the food to be served at hotels,146 (8) mismanagement and theft of consumer deposits,147 (9) violation of charter regulations,148 (10) misrepresentation of VAT charges,149 (11) violation of Telephone Consumer Protection Act,150 (12) failure to pay overtime and minimum wages to employees,151 and (13) violation of antitrust statutes.152

[11] Class Actions and Vacation Clubs

Class actions against vacation clubs153 and travel clubs154 have arisen because of misrepresentations and fraud.155

[12] Class Actions and Pseudo Travel Agents and Pyramid Schemes

Class actions have been brought against companies selling travel agent identification cards and educational services to consumers or pseudo travel agents,156 alleging educational fraud, illegal pyramid schemes,157 misrepresentations and the violation of state consumer protection statutes.158

[13] Class Actions and Depository Banks

Class actions against banks159 and similar financial institutions have arisen because of (1) mismanagement or theft of travel consumer deposits,160 (2) breaches of fiduciary duties,161 (3) failures to honor travelers' checks,162 and (4) other problems.

[14] Class Actions and Surety and Insurance...

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