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Package travel and Linked travel arrangements

Know your rights when travelling around Europe.

The current structure of the market, the emergence of the Internet and the use of emerging technologies have given rise to new forms of contracting travel products and services. Therefore, current European regulations have adapted to the new needs of the market and offer greater protection to travelers when booking or contracting Package travel and Linked travel arrangements.

If you buy a package, you have well-defined rights before and throughout the booking process, and up until your holiday ends, for example the right to pre-contractual information, the organiser's liability for the proper performance of travel services included in your package and insolvency protection. These rights apply to packages purchased online or face-to-face, from a tour operator, travel agent, or any other trader that is acting as the organiser of the package. More limited rights apply to so-called "linked travel arrangements".

These rules do not cover stand-alone travel services (such as a flight or accommodation which are booked separately), the trips that are offered occasionally by non-profit organizations and for a limited group of travelers, as well as packages lasting less than 24 hours unless they include accommodation.

Related documents

A package traveI is that which combines at least two services for the same trip or holiday (for example, transport + accommodation), at a global price and whose duration exceeds 24 hours or includes one night's stay. They must be contracted at a single point of sale and must be advertised or sold as a "package travel" or under a similar name denoting a close connection between the services, such as "combined offer", "all inclusive" or "tour package or vacation".

Regardless of the conclusion of different contracts with different entrepreneurs, we talk about package travel in the following cases:

  • They are hired at a single point of sale, regardless of whether the reservation is made in person or online, and selected before the traveler agrees to pay.
  • They are offered, sold or invoiced at a lump sum or lump sum payment.
  • Advertised as a package trip or with a similar denomination.
  • Combined after the conclusion of a contract on a selection of different types of travel services.
  • Contracted through connected online booking processes, with data transfer.

Package travels are also the combination of travel services made at the request of the traveler who designs their place of departure, route, intermediate destinations, stays, return, as well as the duration of the travel.

It is a new contractual modality that often competes with package travel. In this case, an entrepreneur helps travelers to conclude different contracts with each of the individual travel service providers, in person or online, through connected reservation processes. This is the case, for example, of travel services that are accessed in a single visit or point of sale of an entrepreneur if the selection and payment of these services are provided separately or if the company facilitates the hiring of at least, an additional travel service with another entrepreneur and it is contracted at the latest 24 hours after the confirmation of the reservation of the first travel service.

In these cases, business owners must inform travelers that they are hiring linked travel arrangements and, therefore, travelers will not be able to avail themselves of any of the rights that apply exclusively to package travel.

  • The trips that are offered occasionally by non-profit organizations and for a limited group of travelers. For example, trips organized punctually by charities, clubs or schools offered only for their members.
  • Accommodation for residential purposes, including accommodation for long-term language courses.
  • Services that are an intrinsic part of another travel service should not be considered "travel services" per se. For example, the transport of luggage as part of passenger transport, the transfer between a hotel and an airport, meals and drinks provided as part of the accommodation service, access to swimming pools, spas or gyms included in the accommodation.
  • Financial services such as travel insurance.

 

Clear and accurate information.

Before booking a package trip, the point of sale (the web or booking application, for example) or the travel agency should provide standardized information about the trip:

  • The destination of the trip (itinerary, dates and length of stay, detailed information on transfers, visits or excursions) and a list of services included.
  • The name and contact information of the organizer of the package travel and, when sold through a retailer, of the retailer.
  • The total price, including all taxes, and, where applicable, all additional fees and payment methods.
  • Information on how to terminate the contract before the start of the package travel in exchange for payment of a reasonable penalty.
  • Information on passport and visa requirements.
  • Information on the procedures for handling claims, alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and, where appropriate, the alternative litigation resolution entity, and the online dispute resolution platform.

Clear information on traveler's rights should also be provided on a standard form of the European Union indicating that a package trip is being offered.

Modification or termination of the contract.

Increase in price. The organiser may increase the price of the package only if specific costs rise (for example, fuel prices). This must be clearly explained in the contract and cannot be applied any later than 20 days before the start of the package. If the price increase is more than 8% of the total price of the package, you have the right to end the package contract without a termination fee.

If you cannot travel you may:

  • Transfer the package to another person: under certain conditions, you can transfer your package to another person, although you can be charged a reasonable fee for this, up to the actual cost incurred by the organiser to transfer your package travel contract.
  • Terminate the contract: the organiser may however deduct a reasonable fee from your refund, depending, in particular, on the timing of your cancellation.

These rights are independent of any rights you may have under a cancellation insurance policy that you have taken out.

Cancellation by the organiser. Under normal conditions, if the organiser cancels the sale before the start of your package, you are entitled to a refund and compensation, where appropriate.

Cancellation in exceptional circumstances. If a natural disaster occurs or if there are serious security problems at your holiday destination that are likely to affect the package, the organiser may cancel the package. As a traveller, you are also free to cancel your package free of charge for the same reasons. In these cases, you are entitled to a full refund of any payments you've made but you are not entitled to additional compensation.

Liability for proper performance of travel services.

The organiser is responsible for the proper performance of all travel services included in your package.

If a travel service can't be provided as agreed, for example if a provider can't carry out an agreed service or can't do so in the agreed form (such as providing transport to or from your destination, providing the agreed type of accommodation, or carrying out a guided tour that you booked), the organiser has to resolve the problem at no extra cost to you.

If it is impossible to make alternative arrangements or you reject the arrangements offered to you on valid grounds, and the package includes your transport, the organiser must offer to repatriate you. If the travel services do not reach the agreed standards and this cannot be resolved on the spot, you may also be entitled to compensation.

Assistance to travellers.

If you get into difficulty during your package holiday, for example if you have health problems or lose your passport, the organiser has to give you assistance, such as information on health services or on consular assistance, and should help you find alternative travel arrangements if necessary.

Right of withdrawal.

The traveler has a period of 14 calendar days to exercise their right of withdrawal without need of justification when the travel has been contracted outside the commercial establishment, for example, if it has been made online.

Linked travel arrangements: Clear and accurate information.

The trader facilitating your linked travel arrangement must give you clear information on your rights, based on a standardised EU form, explaining that you have been offered a linked travel arrangement (not a package) and outlining your rights.

Package travel and Linked travel arrangements: Liability for booking errors.

When you book a holiday, the responsible trader (the travel agent or online travel agency) is liable if any of the following occurs during the booking process: technical defects in the booking system, or errors made by the retailer if they are responsible for arranging the booking of a package or of travel services which are part of linked travel arrangements.

Traders are not responsible for any booking errors made by you, or problems which are deemed unavoidable or are due to extraordinary circumstances.

Package travel and Linked travel arrangements: Protection in case of bankruptcy.

If the trader you booked your holiday with goes bankrupt, you are protected by insolvency protection. This can be a fund, an insurance or any other mechanism in place in your EU country. This will refund any payments you may have made and will, if required, repatriate you if transport was included in your package or linked travel arrangements.

European legislation

Directive (EU) 2015/2302 of the European Parliament and the Council, of 25 November 2015, on package travel and linked travel arrangements, amending Regulation (EC) 2006/2004 and Directive 2011/83/EU of the European Parliament and the Council and repealing Council Directive 90/314/EEC.