Proposed changes to rules governing consumers’ holiday rights announced today will see more consumers given protection previously restricted to traditional package holidays.
The European Commission is planning to reform the Package Travel Directive, which dates from 1990, to take account of changes in how consumers book holidays, brought about by the internet and no-frills airlines.
The original directive applied only to traditional packages normally organised by one tour operator, and sold to the public either by that company or a travel agent.
Changes proposed today will extend the directive to cover holidays sold by one online or high street retailer when a consumer chooses from several different suppliers, selecting their own flights, accommodation and other holiday components.
In the UK, holidays such as these are already protected against the financial failure of the companies involved by Flight Plus rules under the Atol protection scheme, administered by the Civil Aviation Authority.
The proposed changes would give European consumers buying this type of holiday more rights, including making the travel organiser responsible if the holiday is not as described in the contract.
Package holiday rules
The proposals may also extend protection to ‘click-throughs’ where a consumer buys one holiday component, such as a flight from an airline, and then clicks through to another site to buy another component, such as a hotel. However, this protection is likely to only cover financial insolvency.
The proposals will now have to be debated by the European Parliament and are unlikely to become law before 2016.