Package Travel Regulations

A Consumer Guide…… to the new Package Travel Regulations

What is the new Package Travel Regulations?

In simple terms, the key change is that ALL holidays sold must now be packaged, meaning that you are fully protected. These new regulations simply build upon our “Customer First” stance as you will continue to benefit from fully protected holidays through Not Just Travel, and we will of course, continue to offer you the most amazing customer service!

Why has the law changed?

The new laws have been designed to give consumers more protection from unscrupulous Travel Agents who don’t offer any protection – financially or logistically in resort –  if a holiday goes wrong. The main culprit is Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), who sell cheap holidays with no concern for you the customer.

An example of an “un-packaged” holiday

If you are delayed at Gatwick or stranded abroad what happens next depends on the sort of trip you have booked. If you have put your own holiday together through various websites – separate flights, accommodation, car hire, etc. this gives you greater flexibility and may be cheaper, BUT you are not protected at all if any of those separate elements go wrong.

All the elements will have been paid for before your trip but if there is a problem with any part of the trip – you have to try and get hold of different travel companies, airlines, hotels, etc. And no-one wants to help or give you your money back! How frustrating! And suddenly your dream holiday becomes a nightmare!

Why a holiday must be packaged under the new rules

If, however you chose to book a package holiday instead – you would have been completely protected and the tour operator/travel agent would sort everything out for you –  it’s someone else’s problem to rescue your holiday.

The same also applies if you buy flights and accommodation (and/or a rental car) in a single transaction – this will now be classed as a package holiday too.

What does this mean for me? Will I be better protected?

There is no guarantee, of course, that everything will proceed according to plan. But when things go wrong the tour operator or travel agent must pick up the pieces and either come up with a rescue plan or provide a full refund – not just of the disrupted element (typically a cancelled flight) but of the whole holiday.

What should I look out for?

If you see an online travel agent offering “cheap holidays” and you book a combination of flights and hotel in a single transaction, you might think that you have booked a package holiday. But read the small print and you will see that you have a separate contract with each supplier, and the online agent will disclaim all responsibility for the failure of any component of the trip.

Do I need to check the small print?

Yes, you do! For example, other major holiday companies say in its small print: “You may decide to make one or more booking with us at the same time. Please note that, irrespective of the various products you book, for example a flight booking or a hotel booking, each booking is a separate booking and your bookings, even though they may be linked to the same dates of travel, do not constitute a package.”

This will no longer be compliant with the new package travel regulations and companies that continue to do so will be breaking the law after 1st July.

When does the new law come into effect?

Sunday 1st July – after midnight on Saturday 30th June

How do I know if I am booking a package?

If it looks like a package, then it’s a package. If you book with an online travel agent, the new Package Travel Regulations specifies: “The organiser is liable to the traveller for the performance of the travel services included in the package travel contract.”

What if I have already booked my Summer holiday?

The new rules apply only to trips bought from July onwards – not to summer holidays already booked. Or indeed any future holidays already booked – for next year or beyond.

Will the Government enforce these new rules?

Yes – the authorities must now ensure that the holiday firms comply. And they can expect hefty fines if they don’t. Finally, customers will get the full protection they deserve when booking holidays in future.

And finally, what’s your advice to consumers?

Always book with a professional Travel agent or personal Travel consultant. That way you can be sure that your holiday is protected and that you will be well looked after in the event of any issues with your holiday.