Lawsuit Accuses Online Travel Sites, Hotels of Price Fixing
A lawsuit filed on behalf of customers of major online travel sites and hotel operators accuses the companies, including Expedia Inc. (EXPE) and Marriott International Inc. (MAR), of conspiring to fix prices.
The suit, filed by Seattle-based law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP in a U.S. district court in northern California, alleges that online retailers conspired with hotels to thwart competition on hotel room rates.
Travelocity, Priceline.com Inc.’s (PCLN) Booking.com, Hilton Hotel, and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.’s (HOT) Sheraton Hotels and Resorts were also named in the suit.
Paying extra for hurricane-proof travel
Every vacationer hopes for ideal weather, but travelers heading to the Caribbean and Mexico this time of year—peak hurricane season—may find that travel operators’ weather guarantees don’t provide quite the protective umbrella they expect.
Booking sites, resorts and other travel companies often pitch protection plans this time of year as a way to overcome consumers’ worries about a tropical storm derailing their vacation and leaving them on the hook for the costs. It’s something consumers are seeing more often, as economic uncertainty and more active storm seasons make travelers wary, says Gabe Saglie, senior editor for deal site Travelzoo. “Weather uncertainty creates a lot of deals,” he says, but travel to the Caribbean and Mexico “at this particular time of year always raises the insurance issue.”
Tiger population of India facing ‘total disaster’ due to tourism ban
New York Daily News
Sitting cross-legged on a stage by the main road last Saturday, Yadvendra Singh handed over his business card, decorated, of course, with orange and black stripes. Since 1992 he has run Tiger Eye Adventure Tours, taking visitors from around the world on safari inside the nearby Ranthambore national park.
But for the past three weeks, Singh has not been allowed in the park to check on the 27 adult tigers and 25 cubs who call it home. No one has, after India’s supreme court issued an order banning tourism in all core tiger habitats.
The decree was temporary, until 22 August, when the court meets again to assess whether tigers and tourists can co-exist in India. The decision will have ramifications not just for India’s approximately 1,700 tigers, but for the tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Indians whose livelihoods depend on the big cats.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Singh. “I’ve spent 20 years, half my life doing this. And suddenly I’m supposed to find a new job.”
But Singh, and many environmentalists and conservationists, insists the real losers will be the creatures who have helped pay his bills for two decades. “If the ban on tourism continues, it will be the end of the tiger in India,” he said. “We’re the ones who put energy into tracking them. We deter poachers. Tourists are only allowed in the park for six hours every day, but we guides take it in turns to patrol the park from sunrise to sunset. Voluntarily.”
Belinda Wright, executive director of the Wildlife Protection Society of India, based in New Delhi, said a tourist ban would be a “total disaster”.
3 Emergency Landings Put Focus United’s Fleet
United Airlines says it is conducting a thorough review this morning of three weekend incidents that left hundreds of passengers stranded and some wondering whether the airline’s rocky merger with Continental has undermined its operations.
Since their merger two years ago, the two airlines have combined operations this year. Since 2010, the new United has suffered a rash of bad publicity and now has the worst records in the industry for delays.
In June, the last month for which the government released data, United passengers filed nearly 600 complaints. That’s five times higher than its nearest competitor and five times higher than before the merger.