The law is changing regarding Package Holidays. Here is what you need to know

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In November 2015 the new Package Travel Directive (2015/2302/EU) was introduced, bringing the EU legislation up to date to current developments in the travel market. This is going to affect Package Holidays.

When will the new Package Travel Directive come into effect for consumers?

As of the 1st January 2018, the new Package Travel Directive (2015/2302/EU) will be applicable. These changes will give holiday-makers extra holiday protection.

What changes can consumers expect because of the changes?

The new Directive will now apply to 3 forms of travel combinations, these are:

  • Pre-arranged packages– This is your ‘typical’ package holiday. Ready-made holidays from a tour operator made up of at least 2 elements: transport, accommodation or other services, e.g. car hire. You can read more about this in the question above.
  • Customised Packages– A selection of components for the same trip, booked by the traveller and bought from a single business, online or offline. In short, this will allow the traveller to create a unique bespoke package holiday, and still be covered under EU regulation.
  • Linked Travel Arrangements– This will include looser combinations of travel services. For example, if the traveller books a flight from one website, and then they receive a confirmation email which includes an advert for a hotel offer. If the second hotel booking is booked within 24 hours this will be covered by the EU regulation. In these cases, the traveller should be informed that they are not being offered a package holiday, instead, their pre-payments will be protected.

Customers must receive understandable information on the package and should be informed of the protection they benefit from under the new package holiday rules.

Consumers can expect more predictable prices, with an 8% cap for possible price increases from the trader. Beyond the 8% travellers will have the right to cancel their holiday free of charge.

Free cancellations before the departure when unpredictable events take place. This would include:

  • Natural disasters
  • War
  • Other serious situations at the destination (e.g. political unrest)

Package holiday customers will also be able to cancel their holiday irrespective of such circumstances by paying a reasonable cancellation fee (in addition to the right to transfer the package to another traveller!)

In all EU member states, the organiser of the package has to deal with the problem if something goes wrong. The retailer or travel agent may also be fully liable.

Traders will be made explicitly liable for booking errors in relation to packages and linked travel arrangements.

The organiser of the package holiday will be required to assist travellers in difficulty, e.g. where health assistance is necessary.

If the package organiser goes bankrupt (e.g. the way Monarch has in recent weeks), these guarantees will apply, and in many cases the rights will also link to other travel arrangements.

If you have any questions regarding your package holiday get in touch with our Holiday Sickness team on 01924 675039 or visit our website www.sarahwaddingtonsolicitors.co.uk/holidayillness.

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