New rules to protect those booking online package holidays
Travellers putting together their own package holidays online will get the same protection as those buying from traditional travel agents under the draft EU rules voted on Tuesday 27th of October 2015.
The updated rules widen the definition of “package holidays” to include most types of travel arrangements booked online with various parts, such as flights, hotel accommodation or car hire, so as to protect holidaymakers in the event of problems.
Package travel rules will cover two types of contract: package deals (pre-arranged by the tour organiser or customised by the traveller) and a new way of travel booking, called linked travel arrangements, where consumers are guided, for example, once they have booked a flight, to book additional travel services through a targeted online link.
Before holidaymakers enter into any contractual commitments, organisers and retailers must make it clear that they are buying a package and inform them of their rights and who is responsible if something goes wrong.
Parliament added the obligation for the organiser to give travellers approximate departure and return times and an indication of the nature of any possible extra costs. It also secured the right for travellers to cancel a package-deal contract and get their money back if the price of the package rises by more than 8% or if “unavoidable” events such as natural disasters or terrorist attacks strike the place of destination.
Member states now have two years to incorporate the new rules into their national law and a further six months to make them applicable.