Amended Package Travel Directive (EU) 2015/2302: What Every Traveler Needs to Know
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In the last quarter of 2023, over 132 million travelers bought some form of travel package and the numbers are only expected to grow.
If you’re planning to travel to Europe as a package traveler, then you’ll be protected by some of the strongest and most comprehensive traveler protection laws in the world.
While EU 261 protects airline passengers, another set of regulations (EU) 2015/2302 protects your rights when you purchase a travel package. Recently, the rules of this Directive were extended to offer travelers even more rights. So keep reading, because we’re going to explain what these regulations are and how they affect you as a traveler in Europe.
- The Package Travel Directive EU 2015/2302 is a set of regulations that protects package travelers in Europe.
- The Directive was amended in 2023 to further broaden package travelers’ rights requiring organizers to provide detailed information and traveler protection especially in situations where the organizer goes out of business or when extreme circumstances occur.
- Under the directive, travel organizers are required to provide clear information about vouchers, their validity dates, and give passengers the option to get a refund
What is EU 2015/2302
EU 2015/2302, also called the Package Travel Directive, is a set of regulations that went into effect in 2018. They were designed to protect the rights of European travelers who book travel packages.
- A clear definition about which services can be combined to form package travel
- Extends protections to encompass new modes of travel bookings
- Provides EU travelers stronger rights
What is Package Travel
A travel package is a set of travel services combined and purchased together. Airlines and travel sites like Expedia are good examples of how and where travel packages are sold.
There are 3 kinds of travel packages arrangements:
Prearranged packages are a combination of at least 2 services: flight, hotel, car rental, and a tourist experience like a concert or theme park tickets all purchased from one place with one price. Think of ready-made holidays.
Dynamic packages (or customized travel packages) are not prearranged. With a dynamic package, you can choose from various services like flight, hotel, car rental, etc and you make the purchase from one place.
Linked travel arrangements (LTAs): With LTAs, you buy at least 2 travel services from different sellers (or traders) in different contracts, but all the services are linked and purchased for the same vacation. A travel arrangement is only considered to be linked if an additional service is at least 25% of the total trip value or an essential feature.
An example of a LTA:
You book a fight with an airline. After you complete your purchase, you’re offered a link to purchase another travel service from a different provider like a hotel.
More specifically, package travel is when:
- You book a set of bundled travel services that are arranged by tour operator or an online or offline travel agency in one contract or
- You book travel services separately and you meet one of the following conditions:
- You buy the services from one place like a website, call center, or travel agency and choose the services before you pay for them. One example of this is when you add travel services to your cart online or choose various travel options before finalizing the first contract.
- You buy the services in one combined price
- You buy services that are sold as a “package”
- The travel services you choose are combined after you sign a contract that allows you to choose from different services like a flight, hotel, car rental, etc.
- You purchase services from different travel companies via online booking where the first company sends your personal info to the second company and the second contract is completed within 24-hours of the first.
How Does the Package Travel Directive (PTD) Protect EU Travelers
EU 2015/2302 protects passengers by requiring travel agencies, or anyone who sells travel packages, to provide you with the following:
Details and information
The organizer must give you pre-contractual information with all the characteristics of your travel services as well as:
- The full contact information of the organizer
- Your total cost
- Payment arrangements
- Visa and passport requirements
- Details about your cancelation rights
- Your full itinerary details
- Information about whether a travel service will be in the form of a group, and if so approximately how many people will be in that group
- Information about available languages at the point of destination
- Details about whether the trip would be suitable for individuals with reduced mobility.
Information about your rights and protections
You must be given a clear explanation about whether you are buying a package or an LTA. You must also be given all the information regarding your protections.
The organizer of the trip needs to give you this information even if your contract with the second organizer hasn’t been completed. If it has been confirmed, then they need to give you this information within 24 hours after the initial reservation is confirmed.
Price increase information and limits
Under the Package Travel Directive, prices can only go up if price increases were part of the contract. If it is part of the contract and the price increases more than 8% then you have the right to cancel without paying a cancellation fee.
The right to cancel
If any part of your trip changes, like flight times or other issues that negatively affect the overall value, then you have a right to cancel.
You can also cancel your trip at any point before the trip begins, but you may have to pay cancellation fees as a result.
The right to transfer your trip
Package providers must allow you to transfer your trip to someone else, but you have to provide the travel organizer in writing at least 7 days before the trip begins and pay any fees associated with the transfer.
Under EU 2015/2302, the travel organizer is accountable for any mistakes they make in booking your package or linked travel arrangements. The organizer is also required to fix any problems that go wrong in a travel package.
Help if problems arise
Travel organizers must provide you with any assistance you need without delay. This includes information about:
- Local authorities
- Long distance communication
- Alternate travel arrangements
Rectification of travel service issues
The travel organizer must fix any issues that arise while you’re on your trip. This means that if part of the services you purchased can’t be delivered, the organizer needs to give you another comparable arrangement.
If these alternate arrangements aren’t provided within a reasonable amount of time, then you can claim reimbursement of any essential purchases. You must also be given a price reduction or the ability to terminate your contract. If this happens, you could be eligible for compensation for any difficulties you experience as a result.
Protection in extreme circumstances and trader bankruptcy
You have the right to cancel your trip without cancellation fees if extreme circumstances occur before your trip begins. Extreme circumstances would be situations including:
- Natural disasters
- Other extraordinary and unavoidable situations
You are also entitled to have your expenses covered for repatriation or essential purchases in the event of extreme circumstances. Similarly, you are guaranteed refunds and repatriation if the travel organizer goes out of business.
What is the Amended Package Travel Directive
In November 2023, the European Commission adopted additional protections to travelers. These new rights were added after the COVID-19 pandemic and the Thomas Cook Group bankruptcy as both crises exposed shortcoming in the existing laws.
How will it help travelers
The new rules will offer passengers and travelers more protections and fewer risks, especially during a crisis or insolvency situation.
What are the additional traveler protections in the Amended Package Travel Directive
- Travelers will be given clear and understandable information about whether they are purchasing a package, who is the responsible trader of the package, and their rights.
- Travelers will be able to more easily determine whether they are buying a package or a linked travel arrangement.
- Downpayments for travel packages cannot be more than 25% of the total package price.
- Package organizers cannot require travelers to pay for the package total sooner than 28 days (4 weeks) before the trip begins, but they may charge higher downpayments in some situations that require it.
- If a service (like a flight) is canceled, organizers will have to refund travelers with 14 days
- If a package is canceled, then travelers will be given clear information about vouchers. More specifically, passengers must be told about their right to either accept a voucher or ask for a cash refund. If the traveler chooses to be refunded, then the provider must provide it to them in 14 days.
- If a passenger accepts a voucher, then they must also be told that they have 12 months to use it. If it expires unused, then the traveler will be given an automatic refund.
What is Not Covered in the Package Travel Directive
- Packages or LTAs that last less than 24 hours (unless overnight travel is part of the package)
- Packages or LTAs sold as a not-for-profit basis and offered to only a limit number of travelers on rare occasions
- Packages or LTAs that are purchased as a general agreement for business travel
How to Make a Complaint and Get Compensation
Under the Package Travel Directive, the organizer is responsible for any complaints that you may have about any part of the trip. So, if you bought a travel package through an airline, for example, then you will need to contact that airline if anything goes wrong.
If you do encounter a problem, be sure to contact the organizer right away. This will give them the chance to address the issue with no extra fees.
However, if you have a disruption and the problem isn’t addressed then you should:
- Gather supporting documents, photos, etc
- Submit a written claim to the package organizer within 28 days of your return
If you booked your package travel through an airline and experienced a flight delay or cancellation, then you could be eligible for compensation. Here at AirAdvisor, our legal team specializes in getting passengers the compensation they deserve. We also have a 98% success rate, and we only get paid when you do. So don’t leave money on the table. Check below to see if your flight is eligible.
People Also Asked
If I booked a package holiday through an airline and then found that my hotel was booked full, what do I do?
First, you need to find out if the package was a prearranged package or a linked travel arrangement. If it was a prearranged holiday package, then you will need to contact the airline. If it was an LTA, you will have to make new arrangements with the hotel.
If I’m traveling in Europe and my flight is canceled, do I have to accept a voucher for a future ticket?
No. Under the new rules of the Package Travel Directive, you can choose to take the voucher or insist that the airline gives you a refund. If you do ask for a refund, it must be issued to you within 14 days.