GREATER PROTECTION FOR HOLIDAYMAKERS
Nobody dreams anything will go wrong on a holiday. In the past, package holiday travellers have enjoyed a degree of protection from operators, who should be able to offer practical and financial assistance when things go awry.
In the digital age, however, our holiday booking habits have changed considerably, giving rise to operators who bundle holidays together with elements from third-party operators. Reflecting this change, new regulations will be effective from July 1, meaning holidaymakers will have greater protection than ever before.
What changes will come into effect?
In the past, operators such as Expedia, On the Beach, Travel Republic and Loveholidays.com weren’t covered by the legislation. So holidays with the option to add a flight from another provider didn’t enjoy the same protection as packages bought from one source. Now, though, any companies packaging up holidays with flights from a third party will carry similar liabilities. A “package” now has to involve the combination of at least two travel services, including transport, accommodation, vehicle rental or another tourist service.
How will this benefit consumers?
If you fall ill or suffer an injury while away, it’s now possible to ask your operator or booking agent for assistance.
Joanne Brine, partner at JMW Solicitors and a travel litigation specialist, explains: “Should anything happen while you’re on holiday, subsequent claims will be more straightforward to deal with. Plus, if an operator goes bust, you’re guaranteed to receive a full refund or, if you’re already abroad, to be brought home. Added legal protection also gives the right to help if weather conditions or industrial action hamper your plans.
“Holidaymakers can pursue the tour operator for compensation when back home, through the courts if necessary, rather than trying to seek compensation against a foreign supplier through the foreign courts.”