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                       Prix Fixe                                                                   May 12, 2015

Transpacific Airlines Class Action Settlement

A $39.5 million price-fixing class action settlement has been reached with eight out of 13 airlines accused of conspiring to fix the prices of airline tickets for travel between the United States and Asia/Oceania.   
As a result, ticket purchasers may have paid more than necessary.  
If you purchased an airline ticket that included at least one flight between the United States and Asia, Australia, New Zealand or the Pacific Islands, and the airline ticket was purchased from Jan. 1, 2000 and the present, you may be eligible for benefits from the transpacific airline class action settlement. 
The settling defendants include: Air France, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Malaysian Airlines, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, and Vietnam Airlines. However, there are still five non-settling airlines, who are also defendants in this class action lawsuit: Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, China Airlines, EVA Airways and Philippines Airlines. 
The consolidated class action lawsuit, called “In re Transpacific Passenger Air Transportation Antitrust Litigation”, was filed in 2009, alleging “a long-running, international conspiracy” by several airlines that fly from the United States to Asia and the region to impose “airfair increases, including surcharge increases, on international air passengers that were in substantial lockstep both in timing and amount.”  
The class action lawsuit alleged that the airlines violated antitrust laws. 
The consolidated transpacific airline class action lawsuit came after several lawsuits were filed against some of the airlines by the U.S. government and investigations by the Justice Department. 
The plaintiffs included residents from California, Washington State, New York, Canada and Japan, and the defendants in the initial complaint included 19 airlines. 
The airlines in the price-fixing class action lawsuit were charged with violating the The Sherman Act, which includes the federal antitrust laws. 
The airlines have agreed to pay $39,502,000 into the settlement fund. There are separate subclasses for each of the named airlines above [see below for more details on who is included in the settlement]. 
Persons who purchased tickets between the US and Asia, Australia, New Zealand, or the Pacific Islands since 2000 may be eligible for a cash award.
  • Air New Zealand (Non-Settling Defendant);
  • All Nippon Airways Company, Limited (Non-Settling Defendant);
  • American Airlines, Inc. (Alleged Co-Conspirator);
  • Asiana Airlines, Inc. (Alleged Co-Conspirator);
  • British Airways, Plc. (Alleged Co-Conspirator);
  • Cathay Pacific Airways Limited (Settling Defendant);
  • China Airlines Limited (Taiwan) (Non-Settling Defendant);
  • Continental Airlines, Inc. (Alleged Co-Conspirator);
  • Delta Airlines, Inc. (Alleged Co-Conspirator);
  • Deutsche Lufthansa AG (Alleged Co-Conspirator);
  • EVA Airways Corporation (Non-Settling Defendant);
  • The International Air Transport Association (Alleged Co-Conspirator);
  • Japan Airlines International Company, Ltd. (Settling Defendant);
  • Korean Airlines, Ltd. (Alleged Co-Conspirator);
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (Alleged Co-Conspirator);
  • Malaysian Airline System Berhad (Settling Defendant);
  • Northwest Airlines Corporation (Alleged Co-Conspirator);
  • Philippine Airlines, Inc. (Non-Settling Defendant);
  • Qantas Airways Limited (Settling Defendant);
  • Scandinavian Airlines System (Alleged Co-Conspirator);
  • Singapore Airlines Limited (Settling Defendant);
  • Societe Air France (Settling Defendant);
  • Swiss International AG (Alleged Co-Conspirator);
  • Thai Airways International Public Co., Ltd. (Settling Defendant);
  • United Airlines, Inc. (Alleged Co-Conspirator);
  • Vietnam Airlines Company Limited (Settling Defendant); and
  • Virgin Atlantic Airways, Ltd. (Alleged Co-Conspirator).
It does not appear that proof of purchase is required to fill out the claim form, but all claims are subject to audit and may require proof of purchase in the future.

Objections to the settlement have been filed by the Class Action Fairness Center and a class member alleging that the settlement should include actual notice to class members instead of just publication,  that the legal fee claims of over 40% are excessive and other details need to be disclosed and clarified.  

The plaintiff lawyers filed their responses on May 8th and a final hearing is set for May 22 in San Francisco.

This appears to be a settlement that should provide affected travelers who file claims with very significant cash awards unlike most class action settlements.

For further info contact Paul Hudson at: paul@flyersrights.org or 800-662-1859

To file a claim, see below.

Claim Form Deadline: 9/19/2015 ESTIMATED 
If the Court approves the Settlement, class members will have 120 days after the Settlements become final and effective to file your claim. The earliest this deadline will be is Sept. 19, 2015. 

Case Name:
In Re Transpacific Passenger Air Transportation Antitrust Litigation, Case No. 07-CV-5634-CRB, MDL. 1913, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. 
Final Hearing: 05/22/15, 10 am
  
Settlement Website: https://AirlineSettlement.com 

Claims Administrator:
Rust Consulting
Transpacific Air Settlement
P.O. Box 2209
Faribault, MN 55021-1609
800-439-1781
info@airlinesettlement.com 

Your Letters!
Dear FlyersRights:

The claim “passengers have no way of knowing what data is captured, how long it is retained, how it is used, and who it’s shared with” has always been true; way back when, in the days of calling the airline or visiting a travel agent to buy a ticket, they recorded your name, your fellow passengers, where you wanted to go, and when you wanted to get there. You went to the airport and you checked in with your paper boarding passes, which were collected and aggregated or were electronically counted by the boarding agent. There were DEC and VAX mainframes in the background recording this data and there were analysts building new products and pricing models on this data. You were never presented with an option for opting out of this process. If you left your mailing address or telephone number, the airline may even have sold your information to junk mailers, who proceed to send you postcards on timeshares in Florida. After all, you flew there, right?

Fast forward to today, and nothing much has changed, except that the data is more accurate and there is much more of it.

RS

Dear FlyersRights:
I don’t understand “And through the Freedom of Information Act, Disney reportedly hands over to the Department of Defense all data on their customers” – FOIA governs/mandates access to government-held data, has nothing to do with private businesses — let alone mandating their providing it TO government.
And regarding…
By grabbing the cookies that each web user brings with them when they visit an airline’s e-commerce website, an airline can find out what other sites a given consumer visited and what other searches they performed before purchasing a ticket.
…I don’t think cross-site cookie access is possible — modern browsers prevent that. But third-party cookies work. Still, you’ve oversimplified cookies as though every site can read every other site’s cookies.
The problem is that cookies set on one site CANNOT be read by another site. In other words, cookies set on siteA.com cannot be read by siteB.com.
So the work-around used is to store a third-party cookie (i.e. a cross-domain cookie). When a user visits siteA.com, a cookie is not only set for siteA.com but also for a common domain which is accessed by all sites that use the ad-company’s code.
GG
To the second issue: 
How do advertisers use cookies to track your online behavior?
Advertisers follow your movements from site to site and build a database of your online activity with so-called “third-party cookies”.
How do these tracking cookies work? To begin with, you are always the first party, and the cookies you receive when you visit a website are the second-party cookies. 
Usually, websites let advertising networks place ads within their pages. If you click on an ad, another cookie is sent to your browser by the advertiser – that’s the third-party cookie. With every new site you visit that’s related to that particular advertiser, the third-party cookie can be traced. This way, the advertiser learns about your online habits and can build up a consumer profile of you – that’s behavioral tracking.

To the first issue: Freedom Of Information Act requests are requests for information to government entities or private entities performing governmental functions with public monies. 
According to documents that came to light under FOIA, Disney’s ties to the government go back to the 1940s.
FlyersRights has been following the increase in surveillance of travelers for years – via airport beacon tracking, with inflight wifi, and the airlines datamining of frequent-flyer programs or when passengers buy tickets.

Disney is mentioned because much of the technology originates with Disney. They are the pioneers of data warehousing and surveillance and going back decades. 
Some have commented that a certain amount of surveillance is essential for the public good. But there is a line between what is essential for the public good and invasive total-information awareness technologies, and that line is easy to cross if unattended. 
As Congress debates renewal of the Patriot Act, it is timely to weigh in on this with your elected representatives.
Kendall Creighton
FlyersRights 
Dear FlyersRights:
AA canceled my flight at the very last moment, ruined a one-day trip that I had meticulously planned months ahead of time, AA refused to rebook me even on sister carriers or non-direct routes, and then AA refused to offer any refund or credit back and then had the audacity to proceed to continue to charge me extra money for the nonexistent premium aisles seats that never materialized on the plane that was never sent and never showed up, for a flight that was canceled but not rescheduled.
AT

Sorry for your difficulties with American Airlines. We are working on a new passenger Bill of Rights which would create automatic compensation for delays and cancellations such as yours. 
If you do not receive a satisfactory answer from AA you should file a complaint with the Department of Transportation at www.dot.gov/airconsumer and consider a small claims lawsuit against American. If you have further questions do not hesitate to contact me. Please consider a donation to flyersrights at www.flyersrights.org.

Regards,
Joel
Joel J Smiler DVM
Hotline Director
Hi Paul,
Heard you on WWL radio New Orleans.
Could you send me information on compensation for flight delays?
Thank you,
Michael A.

Dear Michael,

Here you go.  If this info is helpful to you, we hope you would consider a donation to Flyersrights.org as we depend entirely on contributions from the traveling public.

Also, as we attempt to get the DOT to stop airlines from hiding flight delay compensation rights, and to correct their obsolete publication Fly Rights that incorrectly claims passengers have no compensation for flight delays and cancellations, we would appreciate your relating any stories where you or people or company have been affected by flight delays, particularly those not based on bad weather.   

This is not a small matter, as there are about 40 million passengers a year that suffer from international flight delays from the US alone.
Regards,

Paul Hudson, Pres.
877-FLYERS6 hotline
800-662-1859
News of the Week:
Rep. Bill Shuster Aided Virgin Islands-Then Asked For Cash:
Dear Reader: Any citizen can ask the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate potentially unethical behavior by members of Congress. 
This agency is independent of Congress and has the power to recommend the House Ethics Committee conduct an investigation. 
It is located at: http://oce.house.gov/

Getting on a Plane? 
Put This Number in Your Phone:
1 (877) Flyers6
  1 (877) 359-3776
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