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Document 32015L2302

Package travel – consumer rights (from 2018)

Package travel – consumer rights (from 2018)

 

SUMMARY OF:

Directive (EU) 2015/2302 – package travel and linked travel arrangements

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE DIRECTIVE?

It aims to introduce a high, uniform level of consumer protection in relation to contracts for travel packages* and linked travel arrangements*, taking into account the growing use of internet booking.

KEY POINTS

Information

The following information should be provided by the organiser or retailer before a contract is signed, where applicable to the package:

  • itinerary with dates and number of nights included;
  • transport provided, including the times of departure and return, stops and connections;
  • accommodation details;
  • meal plan;
  • visits or other services to be included;
  • where group travel is involved, the approximate size of the group;
  • the language of tourist services where appropriate;
  • suitability of the trip for persons with reduced mobility and, on the traveller’s request, the suitability of the trip or holiday considering the traveller’s needs;
  • contact details;
  • the total price inclusive of taxes and any additional costs;
  • arrangements for payment;
  • the minimum number of persons required for the package to take place and the time limit for possible cancellation for this reason;
  • passport and visa requirements, as well as information on health formalities;
  • that the traveller may terminate the contract at any time before the start of the package in return for payment of an appropriate fee, or standardised termination fees requested by the organiser;
  • optional or compulsory insurance to cover a termination of the contract by the traveller or the cost of assistance in the event of an accident, illness or death.

The contract confirmation will include the items above and the following additional information:

  • special requirements of the traveller which the organiser has accepted;
  • that the organiser is responsible for the proper performance of all travel services included in the contract and is obliged to provide assistance if the traveller is in difficulty;
  • contact details of the insolvency protection organisation and the organiser’s local representative, or of a contact point or any other service which enables the traveller to contact the organiser quickly and efficiently;
  • that the traveller is required to inform the organiser of any lack of conformity of the services with the contract;
  • for unaccompanied children, information enabling direct contact with the child or the person responsible for the child where the child is staying;
  • complaint-handling procedures;
  • the traveller’s right to transfer the contract.

In good time before the start of the package, the organiser will provide the necessary receipts, vouchers and tickets and the necessary travel information.

Price increases

Price increases (limited to 8% in most cases) are only allowed if the contract expressly reserves that possibility (in which case price reductions can also be claimed) and if they directly result from:

  • the cost of fuel or other power sources;
  • third-party tax or fee increases;
  • exchange rates.

Any price increase should be notified at least 20 days before the start of the package.

Contract termination by the traveller

Where the organiser makes significant changes to the contract or increases the price by more than 8%, the traveller has the right to, before the start of the package, accept the change, accept a substitute package (of equal or higher value) or terminate the contract with any payment refunded within 14 days.

The traveller can terminate the contract at any time before the start of the package by paying an appropriate fee.

The traveller can also terminate (without paying a fee) in the event of unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances occurring at the place of destination or its immediate vicinity and significantly affecting the performance of the package or the transport of passengers to the destination. There will be a full refund but no additional compensation.

Performance

The package organiser is responsible for the performance of the travel services in the contract, even if they are carried out by other businesses. There are rules for non-compliance, termination and compensation.

  • If any of the travel services are not performed in accordance with the contract, the organiser will remedy the lack of conformity, unless that is impossible or if the costs are disproportionate.
  • Where a significant proportion of the travel services cannot be provided as agreed, suitable alternative arrangements of equivalent or higher quality should be offered at no extra cost.
  • If the traveller’s return cannot be ensured because of ‘unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances’, the organiser will pay the cost of accommodation for up to three nights.
  • The traveller may terminate the contract without paying a termination fee if a lack of conformity substantially affects the performance of the package and the organiser has failed to remedy it.

European Union (EU) Member States should ensure that messages, requests or complaints can be made directly to the retailer and that the retailer forwards these to the organiser, who must assist without undue delay.

There is increased protection for travellers in case of the organiser’s insolvency. A network of central contact points in the Member States has been set up to improve international cooperation.

This directive does not apply to travel arrangements:

  • covering less than 24 hours, unless an overnight stay is included;
  • offered occasionally, on a not-for-profit basis and only to a limited group of travellers;
  • purchased as part of a general agreement for travel relating to a business or profession.

In general, Member States must not introduce regulations providing a level of traveller protection which diverges from this directive.

The directive repealed Directive 90/314/EEC with effect from 1 July 2018.

FROM WHEN DOES THE DIRECTIVE APPLY?

It had to become law in the Member States by 1 January 2018. It has applied from 1 July 2018.

The directive was incorporated into the European Economic Area Agreement on 22 September 2017.

BACKGROUND

For further information, see

Following the COVID-19 outbreak and the introduction of measures to cope with the impact of the crisis, the European Commission adopted:

KEY TERMS

Package. In most cases, this means:
  • a combination of at least two different types of travel service (e.g. a flight or rail trip and/or accommodation):
    • as part of the same trip, generally purchased from a single point of sale, and/or
    • sold at an inclusive price or advertised as a package;
  • that the services have been selected before the traveller agrees to pay.
Linked travel arrangement. At least two different types of travel services purchased as part of the same trip, where there are usually, but not necessarily, separate contracts with the individual travel service providers. This applies either:
  • where separate services are selected and paid for on one visit to the same point of sale; or
  • where the traveller is offered another travel service within 24 hours of having booked a first one.

MAIN DOCUMENT

Directive (EU) 2015/2302 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2015 on package travel and linked travel arrangements, amending Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 and Directive 2011/83/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Council Directive 90/314/EEC (OJ L 326, 11.12.2015, pp. 1–33).

last update 03.02.2022

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