The High Court of Australia has ruled that scarfs should
not be worn if you are hot air ballooning.
The ruling came out of a fatal accident on 13 July 2013,
when a passenger was boarding a hot air balloon at a
location near Alice Springs for a flight at sunrise.
Passengers had been advised to wear beanies, scarfs and
gloves, because it could be chilly at that time of day. Ms
Bernoth wore a long scarf, wrapped twice around her neck,
tied loosely at the front.
The fan to inflate the balloon had started, and three
passengers had boarded the basket. As Ms Bernoth approached
the basket, she passed by the inflation fan. The long
lightweight tassels on her scarf were sucked into the
inflation fan, causing her to be dragged towards the metal
guard around the fan. The scarf was pulled tightly around
her neck as it became entangled in the fan. She later died
from the injuries sustained.
The photo shows the actual balloon as it started to
inflate. Note how closely the fan is positioned to the
Why was the High Court involved? The issue the High Court
had to decide was whether WHS (Work Health and Safety) law
applied. It decided it did, exposing the balloon operator to
a fine of up to $1,500,000. This is in addition to its civil
liability to compensate Ms Bernoth's estate for her death.
The moral is - don't wear a scarf on a hot air balloon
because it puts the passenger at risk of injury or death and
the operator at risk of a large fine.
There’s a world of opportunity for you to organise safaris
in Africa, treks in Nepal, meditation and yoga retreats in
Bali and in India; and in Australia, tours of the outback
and National Parks, bicycle and motor bike tours on the east
These are the seven legal essentials, as I explain in
10 minute video:
#1 Business Structure
#3 Business Insurance and Travel Insurance
#4 Passports and Visas
#5 Booking Forms and Terms and Conditions
#6 Consumer Law Compliance
#7 Business Name Protection
Four legal essentials for Tour Operators when organising
tours, as I explain in this 2 minute video:
#1 Get your product quality right for your clients
#2 Hire a good lawyer for your ground operator and
#3 Take care with supplier contracts
#4 Insurance – professional indemnity & travel insurance
It's frustrating to be waiting at an airport and watching
your flight being delayed on the Flight Directory. It's even
worse if it's late at night and the flight is cancelled
because it cannot take off before the curfew.
The airline will offer refreshments, meals and accommodation
for overnight delays. But what if you don’t want to take the
When it comes to giving a fare refund for flight delays and
cancellations, airlines have been very reluctant:
Jetstar policy was that its 'Economy Starter' fares
and 'Plus Bundle' fares were non-refundable unless the
passenger purchased a flight bundle at additional cost.
Qantas policy was that refunds were not available for
its 'Red e-deal' fares.
Tigerair policy was that a "refund admin fee" was
payable for a refund, and the refund was only available as a
fare credit valid for 6 months only.
Virgin Australia policy was that refunds were not
available for its 'Domestic Getaway' and International
Short-Haul fares, and the refund was only available as a
fare credit valid for 12 months only.
The consumer regulator, the ACCC, has used its threat of
legal action for breach of the consumer guarantee that
services must be supplied within a reasonable time to have
these four airlines agree to offer fare refunds to any
passenger who requested one over the past 2 years and in the
In addition, it proposes to fine Jetstar $1.95 million
because its policy to offer refunds only if a more expensive
fare was purchased was far worse than the refund policies of
the other airlines.
The result is by no means perfect. Often a passenger has to
pay more to another airline for a fare if the flight is
cancelled and they may lose their connections. These extra
costs are not compensated. Nor is there any fixed
compensation available as there is in Europe where up to
E600 is payable for a flight delay or cancellation (as an
alternative to a fare refund).
There are some travel professionals who still think that
they can book an international flight, and leave it to the
customer to look after the visa requirements. They do this
even though as travel professionals, they know that without
a valid visa the customer will be denied boarding on the
flight they have booked.
The words All-inclusive are a powerful marketing
tool which is used by many tour operators, accommodation
providers and cruise lines.
So what does a traveller think when they read this in a
brochure which is labelled All-Inclusive : WHAT'S
INCLUDED? Coach travel throughout ... Six nights dinner, bed
and continental breakfast at the Hotel ...
Is lunch included?
According to a ruling by the UK Advertising Standards
Authority, the traveller was entitled to expect that lunch
was included because that was the overall impression given
by the description.
The lesson is that to avoid giving a misleading
impression, if lunch is not included then it needs to be
specifically stated - Lunch is not included. If nothing is
mentioned about lunch then it is misleading to not include