Since July 1st 2018, the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations have been protecting consumers across the UK while on holiday. This guide has been written to break down all aspects of the Package Travel Regulations, explaining exactly what they are and how they apply to you, as well as answering any questions you may have.
- The Package Travel Regulations are a set of rules that those selling and booking package holidays and linked travel arrangements must follow. They came into effect on the 1st of July 2018 to cover both package holidays and linked travel arrangements. Previously, it only covered the package holidays.
- These regulations do not cover:
- Packages under 24 hours in duration that don’t include over-night stay
- Business trips
- Individually booked ‘elements’ (elements being the individual components that make up the holiday, such as, accommodation, transport, car hires, etc. This means that if you book your flight and hotel separately, you will have no legal protection under the Package Travel Regulations, so please bear this in mind when booking your holiday!)
- Non-profit trips (for example, scouts, friends groups and some sports groups)
- The Regulations do cover linked travel arrangements, but to a far lesser degree than package holidays. This is because there are multiple companies involved at the booking level, so you’ll be protected through the lead provider, but not any further companies.
- Packages including flight bookings will also be protected by the ATOL schemel. However, a booking that includes only flights will not be covered by either ATOL or the Package Travel Regulations.
- These regulations do not negate the need for travel insurance. Travel insurance and the Package Travel Regulations generally cover different things, and to different degrees.
- A package holiday (a holiday containing more than one ‘element’ sold together under one price) is the most protected form of travel booking. This type of booking will be covered by the Package Travel Regulations and the PTS trust account, as well as ATOL protection if you have booked a flight with your package.
- Companies are required to provide to you all the necessary information in a permanent format, and further information must be provided if you request it.
- Companies are also obliged to tell you if you’re booking a linked travel arrangement which is not fully covered by the Package Travel Regulations, and if your elements are suitable in terms of disabilities, etc.
- In light of the COVD-19 pandemic, your package holidays are still fully protected by the Package Travel Regulations, but some additional restrictions and levels of protection have been temporarily added. You can find through the Government FCDO Travel Advice page. This includes the ability to cancel or reschedule up to 24 hours before the start of your package, should your destination be severely affected by the pandemic (for example, if a country has fallen from the green list to the red list).
If you have any queries about the Package Travel Regulations or your rights as a consumer, the full legislation for the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 is open to the public. Alternatively, you can always visit our consumer protection page, or you can contact a member of our friendly Protected Trust Services team on 0207 190 9988, or via email at email@example.com.
This guide may contain a number of terms from the Package Travel Regulations which may be unfamiliar to you. For your convenience, we have laid out an alphabetically ordered glossary of terms to help you better understand the terminology used throughout the legislation.
- ATOL – Abbreviation for ‘Air Travel Organisers’ License’, an ATOL is the license needed by anyone who sells flights. It is implemented by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), who created the ATOL scheme to protect package holidays that include flights. For more information about specific types of ATOL, please visit our guide on the different types of ATOL.
- ATOL Certificate – This is a certificate given to the consumer to prove that the service provider has sold an ATOL protected flight(s).
- CAA – CAA stands for ‘Civil Aviation Authority’. They are the organisation that created and implements the ATOL scheme.
- Consumer – This is the person purchasing a holiday.
- Domestic Packages – A domestic package is a package holiday that does not take place abroad. For example, if you live in Surrey and book a package holiday in Cornwall, this would be a domestic package.
- Durable Medium – A durable medium is any form of documentation that allows future reference and reproduction without changes. This could be a paper hardcopy or a digital file that is not alterable.
- Elements – These are the things that make up your holiday. This may include flights, accommodation, car rental, tourist attractions, etc.
- Exchange Rate – This is the rate at which currency values change, and therefore the rate at which the price of exchanges changes. Hedging can reduce the risks of this, but it is still an issue for any travel companies that sell travel abroad.
- Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) – This is a governmental office that provides up-to-date advice for travelling abroad.
- Independent Trust Account – An account in which consumer money is held and protected during transactions. PTS are proud to operate as an independent trust account holder for all our members, providing complete financial protection throughout the booking process.
- Lead Organiser – As pertains specifically to linked travel arrangements, this is the person who arranges your trip. They will be the one responsible for any protection you get from the Package Travel Arrangements.
- Linked Travel Arrangement – Similar to a package holiday, this is a holiday that must include more than one element. However, it is sold through targeted marketing, resulting in the separate booking of multiple elements via the same provider.
- Package Holidays – These are holidays with more than one element, sold under a single price, by a single travel agent or tour operator.
- Package Provider – This is the person who sold the package holiday to the consumer.
- Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 – These are the regulations that dictate how travel business must be operated in regard to package holidays and linked travel arrangements. These have been in effect since 1st July 2018.
- Package Travel Directive – This is the directive that dictates how package travel is operated throughout the EU. It contains many of the same rules as the Package Travel Regulations, which were adapted for the UK from the directive.
- PTS Member – These are the wonderful travel agents and tour operators that are members of Protected Trust Services (PTS). We ensure that everything they sell is Package Travel Regulations compliant, and that it is protected through our trust account solution.
- Refund Credit Note (RCN) – This is issued to consumers as evidence of a company’s intention to provide a refund. It may be issued if the company is unable to provide a refund within the allocated time, and acts as a promise to provide this refund by a certain date.
- Supplier – This is the company that provides the elements of a package. This could be a hotel owner, an airline, an activity provider, etc.
- Surcharges – This is any extra payment that the consumer is asked for after the conclusion of the contract.
- Tour Operator – This is the company the creates package holidays or holiday elements and either sells them through a travel agent, or directly to the consumer.
- Travel Agent – An individual or company who sells package holidays to the provider. The travel agent does not create the packages.
- Travel Insurance – This is the insurance you will need for any travel you may embark on. It will protect you against medical issues, cancellations and theft (for the most part). You can find out more about how travel insurance will protects you via our travel insurance guide.
- Travel Provider – A travel provider is a company that provides travel services. This includes travel agents, tour operators and suppliers.
The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangement Regulations 2018 cover two forms of travel. These are package holidays and linked travel arrangements.
These have both legal and financial protection as they are sold via a organiser or travel provider, such as a travel agent or tour operator.
Linked Travel Arrangements
These only provide financial protection, and to a lesser degree than is provided for a package holiday. This is because the Package Travel Regulations only protect the consumer through the lead organiser (the person who arranges your trip). If any of the companies supplying the elements goes out of business, you will most likely be protected by the lead organiser, but if something goes wrong with an element of your holiday, the organiser has no responsibility.
These Package Travel Regulations only apply to package holidays and linked travel arrangements booked with a UK travel agent or tour operator.
If you decide to book elements individually, such as booking a single flight with an airline, these will not be protected by the Package Travel Regulations or ATOL.
However, this might be somewhat protected if you have excellent travel insurance, or through the protection on your credit or debit cards (though you will have to check with your provider for this).
The Package Travel Regulations are specific to the UK; however, they operate under the same rules as the Package Travel Directive that covers EU travel. There may be some minor differences specific to the UK, but otherwise your travel is protected in the UK and EU alike.
Any travel you are sold outside of the EU or UK does not fall under the Package Travel Regulations or the Package Travel Directive.
Whether you are booking your package holiday online, in person, or over the phone, you will be provided with all the same information as is required by law.
All package holidays and linked travel arrangements booked with a Protected Trust Services (PTS) member are also financially protected through our market leading independent trust account system.
If you’re unsure whether your travel agent or tour operator is a PTS member, you can find our logo and their individual PTS number on their website, or you can call our friendly staff at 0207 190 9988.
What Is A Package Holiday?
A package holiday will be over 24 hours in duration (or include overnight stay) and involve at least two of the elements outlined below:
- Transport – this can include a flight, coach or train but does not include airport transfers
- Car rental
- Tourism service such as a cookery course, event ticket, excursion, or tour guide. This service will be a substantial part of the trip either through time or value
The tourist service must always be a substantial part of the holiday for it to qualify as a package. For instance, a golfing break that includes a one-night stay at a hotel in Kent with a round of golf, would be considered a package. Your holiday will also count as a package in the following scenarios:
- You have been charged one price for all the services purchased together
- You have been allowed to select elements, such as a flight and accommodation, before a purchase has been agreed
- You have been asked to pay a set price in one payment. How the consumer pays, either through BACS, card, or cheque, is inconsequential
- The holiday is described or sold as a package or a term that implies a package
A package holiday can include flights, but it doesn’t have to. When a flight is included, an ATOL certificate must be sent to the consumer as soon as the holiday has been paid for.
However, if a package without a flight has been reserved, then a confirmation should be received with a full description of the holiday and an outline of the amount charged. There should also be a full explanation about how consumer money is protected and through which solution. For instance, all package holidays booked through a Protected Trust Services (PTS) member are financially protected.
Examples of a Package Holiday
1. You are the consumer and you go to a travel agent’s website and select a pre-made booking that includes:
- A flight to Madeira on the Monday
- Accommodation at a hotel scheduled for when you arrive
- A tour of the island
- A return flight on the Wednesday
You pay one price to include all the above elements and the travel agent provides you with the contract, the relevant tickets, the relevant legal information, and an ATOL certificate.
2. You are the consumer and you call a tour operator on the phone wanting to go to London for the weekend. The tour operator offers you a tailor-made package where they offer:
- 3 different hotels to choose from
- 5 different tourist attractions that you can select 1-2 of
- Either coach tickets or train tickets (both returns)
You make your selections and then agree upon a price depending on your choices. You pay one price to include all your chosen elements and the tour operator provides you with the contract, the relevant tickets, and the relevant legal information.
When you are booking a package holiday, as displayed in the above examples, it is not necessary for it to contain a flight, domestic packages are just as thoroughly protected by the Package Travel Regulations.
All Protected Trust Services (PTS) members are 100% compliant with the Package Travel Regulations with all the packages they offer, if you’re looking for a PTS member to book a package holiday with, you can find the PTS logo with their individual PTS number on their site.
What Is a Linked Travel Arrangement?
The Difference Between Protection on a Linked Travel Arrangement and a Package Holiday
A package holiday is more protected than a linked travel arrangement. A package is both legally and financially protected where a linked travel arrangement is only protected financially and to a lesser degree.
The legal requirement for any package provider is to supply you, the consumer, with the promised holiday and services as sold. If there is one part of the booked holiday that isn’t as sold then the travel company has a responsibility to correct this, offer an alternative of the same or higher standard, or provide either a partial or full refund.
Examples of Differences in Protection on a Linked Travel Arrangement and Package Holiday
You have booked a package holiday containing a flight, accommodation in a 5-star hotel, and cooking classes:
- You arrive at your destination and find out that you have been booked into a 3-star hotel, rather than the 5-star agreed upon
- You contact the travel business to inform them that they have not delivered what they agreed upon
- They either give you a partial refund until the price is appropriate for a 3-star hotel rather than a 5-star OR they arrange for you to be transferred to a 5-star hotel
When speaking about financial protection, all travel companies selling packages have a legal responsibility to adhere to Package Travel Regulations and to financially protect consumer monies in case of going out of business.
All Protected Trust Services (PTS) members are fully protected, so always check for the logo and individual PTS number when booking. If your travel company were to go bust then all monies would be returned by the protection in place, either through PTS or CAA.
When booking a linked travel arrangement there is only financial protection in place, and this is still less than a package would receive. As you would have booked with different suppliers, the only monies protected in the scenario of the leading travel company going bust is the monies the leading company is holding.
This means that if a company goes out of business, the leading company can return your money to you, but if something goes wrong with one of the elements of your holiday, that is not the lead company’s responsibility.
In essence, the only protection in place is with the company that arranged the linked travel arrangement.
Am I Protected by Package Travel Regulations If I Book Elements Individually?
Today, many consumers book all elements separately online. In this instance, there is no financial or legal protection under the 2018 Package Travel Regulations. Nor is there any protection under ATOL unless you are given a plane ticket that isn’t valid after you’ve already paid.
However, if you book through a credit card, or if you have excellent travel insurance, these two vehicles could offer their own form of protection. Though you will need to check the level of cover with the provider of either of these services as protection may vary.
If you book with a Protected Trust Services (PTS) member, then you can also be covered for single elements and you can always check with your PTS member or directly with a member of PTS staff for peace of mind on your consumer protection.
What Information Should I Receive from My Protected Trust Services (PTS) Member When I Book a Package Holiday or Linked Travel Arrangement?
When you have booked a package holiday the travel company is under legal obligation to provide certain necessary information. This includes but may not be limited to:
- Evidence/Receipts of booking
- ATOL certificates (where applicable)
- Tickets/Passes/Entry to services – these can be supplied closer to the travel date. This is normal.
- Relevant sections of Package Travel Regulations
- Limitations of their booking – how accessible the events are to disabilities etc.
- A copy of the contract
These must be supplied on a durable medium, for example, as a paper hard copy or a digital file that you can store as evidence of purchase/agreement.
If you wish, you can also request copies of other relevant information on a durable medium and the provider is obliged by the Package Travel Regulations to comply.
When you have booked a linked travel arrangement the travel company must provide all these things, in addition to informing you that you are booking a linked travel arrangement and not a package holiday. This is to ensure that you understand your rights as a consumer and understand when you will and won’t be protected.
Who is Responsible if Something Goes Wrong on My Package Holiday?
The travel company that organised your package will be the person you contact if anything goes wrong.
This could be anything from a hotel not being the quality you paid for, to flights getting cancelled because of political unrest. Whatever the issue is that arises with your package, your organiser will be responsible for taking action to fix this for you.
If they cannot fix the issue, they will offer alternatives or compensation appropriate to the issue.
For example, if you are the consumer and you arrive in your destination to find that the accommodation that you agreed upon being on beach front, is actually in the centre of the city, several miles from the beach, you would contact your organiser. They would speak with the supplier on your behalf and offer you a reasonable alternative, such as:
- Different accommodation on the beach front, at same or a higher standard as agreed upon in the package.
- Different accommodation on the beach front, with a partial refund if it is of a lower standard than agreed upon in the package.
- Or a partial refund to cover the difference in cost between where you agreed to stay, and where you have ended up staying.
As the consumer, you then have the option to accept or refuse the alternative offered. If you are happy to stay in the accommodation provided with only a partial refund to cover it, then you can choose that option over relocation, and vice versa.
What Are the Rules Around Termination of the Package Travel Contract by the Traveller or Organiser?
In the case that the consumer wishes to cancel their package holiday, they may do so at any time before the start of the trip. However, the organiser reserves the right to charge a reasonable cancellation fee.
The organiser might charge a cancellation fee because of the time at which you cancel, or the cost of cancelling the services involved in the package. If they cannot provide one of these reasons, you, the consumer, do have the ability to refuse these costs.
You can also request the organiser provide you with reasons for the costs if you’re not sure how reasonable they are, they are legally obliged to provide this information to you.
Outside of this, if there are extraordinary or unavoidable circumstances that affect your package holiday, you can terminate it at any point before the beginning of the trip and you will be entitled to a full refund.
In the case that the organiser needs to terminate a contract, the consumer is entitled to a full refund, but no extra compensation from the organiser as long as they are notified within reasonable time before the beginning of the holiday.
This means that if the trip lasts more than 6 days, the consumer must be made aware of the termination at least 20 days prior to the beginning of the holiday. If the trip lasts 2 to 6 days, the consumer must be made aware of the termination at least 7 days before the beginning of the holiday. And if the trip lasts less than 2 days, the consumer must be made aware of the termination at least 48 hours before the beginning of the package.
However, if there are unexpected or unavoidable circumstances, then the organiser must simply notify the consumer as soon as they are aware of the need for termination of the package.
It is most likely that the organiser will not terminate your package outright, you might be offered to rearrange the package for another date instead. However, in the case that they do terminate your package, you should be notified within one of these reasonable time frames.
How Am I Protected Against A Travel Company Going Out of Business?
If one of the suppliers goes out of business and you have booked a package holiday, this will be protected by the Package Travel Regulations. These services could still go ahead, or your organiser will arrange for alternative services and either partially refund you or send you an extra cost that’s appropriate with the price change between the old element and the new element.
If your organiser goes bust, there are still ways that you can continue your holiday if you so wish. In the situation that you can continue your holiday, the responsibilities of the package will be transferred to another source other than the organiser.
Though no Protected Trust Services (PTS) member has never gone bust, in the instance that one did, the trustees would provide complete protection for you booking, you would likely find no change in your booking.
However, in the case that you do not wish to continue your holiday after your organiser goes bust, you are covered for a full refund of the services in the package without cancellation fee.
If you have booked a linked travel arrangement, this is a little more difficult. For example, in a linked travel arrangement, if the supplier goes bust, you may not be protected by the Package Travel Regulations. Whereas, if the lead organiser goes out of business, you will still be covered for any monies in their care.
Will My Package Holiday Still be Covered After Brexit?
Yes. Though there are some changes to travel to the EU after Brexit, as a UK established Legislation, the Package Travel Regulations will still protect your package holiday the same after Brexit.
If you would like to learn more about what will change in travel after Brexit, you can visit our page on travelling after Brexit.
If My Holiday Was Booked Before July 1st, 2018, Does This Still Apply?
If your package holiday contract was not concluded on or after the commencement date (July 1st, 2018) then it will not be covered by the 2018 Package Travel Regulations.
However, this would be covered by the 1992 Package Travel Regulations that you can find on the government website.
Who Enforces the Package Travel Regulations and How Can I Contact Them?
This is dependable on your package and who it’s booked with. In the situation that you are making a claim relevant to the flights in your package, then you will want to contact the CAA as they enforce the ATOL Scheme that protects package flights.
However, if you are booking with a Protected Trust Services (PTS) member, then we at PTS should be those you contact for any issues if they have not been resolved by your travel business. But it is important that you do all you can to resolve this issue with your travel business before resorting to other methods. You can contact us by calling 0207 190 9988 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
All travel companies should state the protection methods they use, and you can ask them for this list if need be.
How Long Do I Have to Make a Claim Under the Package Travel Regulations?
Generally, most issues on a package holiday can be resolved with the travel company that organised the package. If something is wrong with an element, or you were misinformed, if you were charged extra etc. these can all be fixed by contacted the travel company.
However, in the case that you need to make a claim under the Package Travel Regulations because the organiser has not provided appropriate compensation or action under the Regulations, you must do so within a year of the prosecutor noting the offence or within 3 years of the commission of the offence, whichever comes sooner.
In this situation the prosecutor will need to sign a certificate stating when the offence was noted to perform as evidence of such.
If I Purchase Two or More Travel Services for A Trip from A Trader but Pay for Them Separately (e.g. A Flight and A Hotel) Would This Be A Package?
This is reliant on how the elements are sold to you.
If this is a tailor-made package where you can select the elements of it and all the elements come under one agreement or contract, then it doesn’t matter if you pay for them through separate transactions.
If they are bought at separate times, as separate bookings, and they are under separate contracts, then this is no longer a package.
Do the Regulations Apply to Organisers Who Are Not Established in the UK?
Yes. It is important, however, to make a clear distinction. Any package holidays sold in the UK, no matter where the company is based, are protected by the Package Travel Regulations.
Therefore, if they are established elsewhere, that is irrelevant to the sale. This means they will advertise in the UK; they might hire a UK based company to do this for them, they will sell the packages under the PTRs and they will do so in pounds, not other currency.
Their website will also be a UK domain, which is an easy way to tell if a company is selling in the UK, regardless of where they’re established.
However, if the company is established somewhere else, but also selling in that country, this is not covered by the Package Travel Regulations. You might come across this if you are booking an element individually in your destination after you have already booked transport.
This is generally why it’s easier to book a package holiday through a travel business that will work with the supplier to put together the elements for you. They will communicate with the suppliers based and selling in the destination, and the whole package will then still be covered by the Package Travel Regulations.
Advertising and Pricing Requirements Under the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018?
When a travel company is advertising a package holiday to you, whether on a website or brochure, they are required under the Package Travel Regulations to state in a legible and accurate manner, the price of the package holiday.
They must also state the basis of the price, for example, the standard of accommodation, the date of departure, or the length of stay. This should include any extra costs that aren’t optional, which shouldn’t be stated as additional prices.
If this is a tailor-made package holiday, then how the price is calculated must also be stated alongside the initial price of the package. This should be easily available to the consumer and directed to by the travel company.
The travel company must also make it clear if they reserve to right to add additional costs after the agreement has been concluded. However, under the Package Travel Regulations this is restricted to increases in these specific situations:
- Increase in transport costs due to fuel prices or other power source prices increasing
- Changes in taxes imposed by third-party sources that aren’t related to the performance of the package, such as tourist taxes
- Changes in exchange rates relevant to the package.
This also allows for price reductions in the package for the same reasons. These changes also cannot be made unless the organiser notifies the traveller at least 20 days before the start of the holiday. If these changes constitute more than 8% of the overall cost of the package, then the traveller does have the right to terminate the package with no termination fee.
Organisers are also advised against any misleading advertising. For example:
- A travel company advertises a 15% discount on all package holidays, but this excludes Iceland
- The provider states that there is a limited sale, encouraging consumers to rush to book, but the sale is commenced by a similar sale
- A travel company states that there are ‘additional costs’ but they are mandatory as part of the basic package.
If I Book a Tour, Day Trip, Event Ticket or Experience, Will It Be Covered by Package Travel Regulations?
If you are booking a ticket alongside an international flight, then it will be covered by ATOL, but both elements must be booked together.
If a package is booked without a flight, then it is not covered by ATOL. In this instance you must make sure that you are booking with a company that is Package Travel Regulations compliant and a Protected Trust Services (PTS) member.
Fundamentally, a trip must be 24 hours or more, or include overnight accommodation to constitute a package. When booking just tickets for an event, please always be aware of whether it’s a package or not and absolutely ensure that if it isn’t, you have some other form of protection for your trip.
Ticketing is considered incredibly high risk due to the amount of fraud that takes place in the ticketing industry. Some ticketing companies do offer PTS protection, and this can be incredibly valuable to you. Booking with one of these companies is best to assure peace of mind.
Day Trip, Event Ticket and Experience Examples
- You are the consumer and you book a day trip to Stonehenge including train fare. The train leaves at 7 am and you arrive back home at 10 pm. This would not be covered by the Package Travel Regulations because it is a package under 24 hours in length and it doesn’t include overnight stay.
- You are the consumer and you book a day trip to Edinburgh to see an opera. You rent a car to drive there and stay overnight in a hotel. If you booked these elements together or through targeted marketing, this would be protected by the Package Travel Regulations as a package holiday or linked travel arrangement.
Are Overnight Ferries and Sleeper Trains Covered by The Package Travel Regulations?
This is dependent on how this is sold to you. If the overnight ferry or sleeper train is sold to you as transport alone, then this is not covered by the Package Travel Regulations. Because it is a single element, a tourist element is not the majority of the package, and it is transport alone, intent only to get you from one point to another. However, if the overnight ferry or sleeper train is sold to you as a tourist element, then it might be covered by the Package Travel Regulations. In this way it is being sold to you as the holiday, not the means to get to the holiday. It is much like a cruise in this regard, as the ferry or train is the attraction, not merely transport.
If you are booking with a Protected Trust Services (PTS) member, it will most likely be covered, but you are always welcome to ask or check.
If I Book a Domestic Trip/UK Holiday is That Still a Package Holiday?
Absolutely. This question tends to get asked a lot surrounding package holidays. If you book accommodation and a tourism event from your PTS member under one price and one contract, and it lasts over 24 hours or includes overnight stay, that is still a package holiday and covered by the Package Travel Regulations. The inclusion of a flight or international travel is not necessary to be protected by the Package Travel Regulations. However, if you booked a single element, your holiday isn’t over 24 hours, or it doesn’t include overnight stay, this will not be protected as usual.
Are Financial Services Such as Travel Insurance Considered Travel Services?
No. Travel Insurance is a form of financial protection that you should invest in alongside protection from the Package Travel Regulations and ATOL. PTRs are not equivalent to Travel Insurance as they cover different situations.
Package Travel Regulations cover issues with the package holiday and the travel services selling, creating, and performing them.
Travel Insurance is there to protect you against medical issues, cancellations, and lost or stolen items. Travel Insurance also has limits and will vary depending on the provider, where the Package Travel Regulations are the same across the UK, don’t cost you, and are government supplied.
If something goes wrong with your Travel Insurance provider, Package Travel Regulations will not provide any protection for this issue.
However, having travel insurance is very important as protection for issues Package Travel Regulations don’t cover. If you want to find out more on why travel insurance is so important, you can visit our blog.
What If the Travel Company Wants to Increase the Price After I’ve Booked My Package Holiday?
Each travel business must have excellent terms and conditions to ensure you are aware of the booking conditions. Within their terms and conditions, they can (but may not always, so be sure to check) include a caveat that allows small surcharges to be passed to you.
Some valid reasons that price increases may occur include:
- Fluctuations in exchange rate
- A change in the taxes
- Fees that third parties impose; or
- Fuel increases
This must be stated to you within their booking terms before a contract is concluded. Always ensure you read the terms and conditions all the way through before you book. If this caveat is not included in the company’s booking conditions, then they cannot ask you to pay an increase, and you are within your right to refuse.
What If a Supplier Makes a Significant Change to My Package Booking?
Many travel companies may also offer an alternative holiday that may be suitable for you. A significant change should only take place if an incident occurs that is out of the travel company’s control.
Some instances could be:
- A terrorist attack in the area
- A natural disaster that has caused extensive damage; or
- An airline moving the flight times and dates
These examples are not exhaustive, but they highlight the types of situations that can result in a valid significant change.
Firstly, the leading travel company must contact you to explain the situation. You must be given the option to proceed with the changes, accept an alternative holiday, or be offered a full refund. You must also be given a reasonable amount of time to make this decision. If you opt for a full refund, then the monies must be cleared in your account within 14 days.
It is, however, good to keep in mind that there could be things that cause some delay to this time. For example, if the cause for significant change was a terrorist attack and a lot of people had booked a holiday in that destination, it is reasonable to expect the company to be a little delayed because of consumer traffic.
The company could provide you with a refund credit note because of the delay, however this is not a method we provide at Protected Trust Services (PTS) as it has no value over a refund.
Do Package Travel Regulations Apply to Me if I Organise the Package Myself for a Group of Individuals I Know?
At PTS we are asked this by rugby clubs, charities, sports clubs, and individuals who are helping friends. To be clear, the regulations do not apply to you in the instance that you are only arranging trips very occasionally, for a small group, and most importantly if there is no profit involved.
However, if your trips are regular and & profit is made, even if it’s only a small amount such as with a rugby club, you should potentially need to be Package Travel Regulations compliant.
It is a big responsibility to look after others’ money and you must be aware that when organising travel outside of Package Travel Regulations, all the monies are at risk and exposed. In this case good travel insurance is going to be your best friend.
Can I Transfer a Package Travel Contract to Another Traveller?
As long as the new traveller meets all the requirements of the contract, transferring the contract is perfectly acceptable before the beginning of the holiday.
However, it is required that you give reasonable notice in written form. Reasonable notice is considered 7 days or more in the Package Travel Regulations.
The original traveller must also be made aware of, and is liable to, any additional transfer costs from the organiser, but the organiser must give evidence of these costs. These costs must also be reasonable and can’t surpass the cost of the transfer for the organiser.
Both the original traveller and new traveller are liable to the transfer costs, they are not solely the responsibility of the original traveller. So, if you wish, the new traveller could pay the transfer cost alone.
What Happens If There is a Significant Difference to My Package Holiday from What Was Agreed?
If you have arrived on holiday and the accommodation, or any part of the holiday that has been booked through your travel company is not as described, then the travel company must resolve this for you. One of the most important elements of Package Travel Regulations compliance is ensuring that you receive the holiday you booked.
If the hotel was stated to be 5-star, but you have been placed in a 3-star, then you must contact your travel agent to resolve this and it will be resolved. Whether that is through refund or correction by placing you in the hotel you paid for.
It is important to remember that you must give the travel business a reasonable amount of time to resolve these issues for you, however the mistakes were made. In the rare instance that the situation is impossible to resolve, then you will be offered a refund, but initially, the choice is yours.
We strongly advise all Protected Trust Services (PTS) members to have consistent communication with clients to ensure service levels are met, so you will be easily able to get in contact with your PTS member throughout your holiday.
Will My Personal Circumstances Ever be Considered in Determining Unavoidable and Extraordinary Circumstances in Relation to Cancellations?
This will be covered in the travel company’s terms and conditions, which you should read thoroughly before booking your holiday.
If it is a medical issue that falls under personal circumstances, then this will be covered by your travel insurance if it is covered. Because of this, it is vital that you find good travel insurance if you are going to a higher risk country or you are in a medically delicate position, such as a traveller being pregnant.
We advise if you need to cancel your holiday for personal reasons, to discuss with your Protected Trust Services (PTS) member whether they can assist you or not so that you can make the appropriate decision.
What’s the Difference Between the Package Travel Regulations and the Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (ATOL) Regulations?
The Package Travel Regulations are a government created set of Regulations under the Package Travel Directive that protect consumers booking package holidays and linked travel arrangements. They protect against issues with the package, insolvency, and deal in refunds, repatriation, and reimbursements.
The ATOL Scheme is run by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to protect consumers against issues with package bookings that include flights. Whereas the PTRs deal on a wider scale with UK holidays and packages that don’t include flights.
ATOL will not protect consumers against issues with packages that don’t include flights, nor will it protect against issues with flight-only bookings (except in very rare cases).
How Does Protected Trust Services (PTS) Ensure Package Travel Regulations Compliance?
The trust account solution is now considered to be the only solution to truly protect consumer money, and the only solution that is truly scalable and consistently affordable for a travel business. It’s a win-win situation for you and your PTS member.
At PTS we have built an innovative technological solution that allows you, the travel business, or the supplier to see exactly where monies are at any given time. PTS are the only solution that completes a daily reconciliation for all monies, and this is the very reason we are now the chosen solution for many UK travel companies.
Package Travel Regulations Compliance has always been considered arduous and time consuming. PTS broke the mould and ensured that any travel business could run their business in an independent manner, whilst easily protecting consumer monies with the use of technology. The PTS solution is a game changer for both travel companies and the consumer, and we are thrilled to be having such a positive impact in the travel industry.
Throughout your experience with one of our PTS members you can keep peace of mind knowing that they are the best and most experienced, and that you can call at any time to find out where your money is. Your money is also guaranteed to only go towards the payment of your holiday, so if anything should go wrong, we’re ready to help you out.
What Do I Do if there is Political Unrest or Extreme Weather Warnings?
Since the Package Travel Regulations came out in 2018, you do have the right to cancel if the situation will result in a significant impact on the holiday. The simple existence of political unrest doesn’t necessarily result in the need to refund as it may be the norm for that country, and therefore is a risk you, the consumer, should have been previously aware of when booking.
Generally, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) will issue advice against travel to the destination when situations result in refunds.