EU package travels laws brought into the 21st century

An EU law protecting holidaymakers’ rights is set to enter the online age when the European Parliament green lights tomorrow an update taking into account people now booking different parts of their holiday online.

Flemish MEP Anneleen Van Bossuyt, European Conservatives and Reformists group negotiator on the legislation, is pleased with the content that will be put to vote: “With these new rules Europe wants to offer an increased level of protection to consumers booking their trips online. We believe that people who book their travel through websites should enjoy the same protection as people who book with a travel agent.”

This applies particularly to websites through which you can select multiple travel-services such as flights, hotels, rental-cars, etc., by using a click-through system. You are, in other words, putting together your own travel package. “It was often unclear on what level travellers were protected if one of the services forming a part of the same trip went bankrupt. The rules provided by this legislation, will create more clarity on this matter,” Van Bossuyt says.

The legislation ensures that travellers are amongst others protected against price increases, bankruptcy of one or more service providers, and unforeseen and unavoidable situations such as natural disasters. Clear rules are also set out on how to transfer your trip to another traveller, the termination of your contract and on information requirements before, during and after the conclusion of the contract.

The negotiations with EU governments were not always easy, says Van Bossuyt. “It was important that we reached a balanced agreement, which adequately protects consumers. At the same time, we had to be careful not to ruin the sectors concerned, by over-regulating them or making harmful and burdensome rules. I have always seen this as a priority during the negotiations within the European Parliament and with the Council.”

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