The government has announced proposals to better protect travellers booking package holidays online. Will these proposed changes help you?
The government has outlined its approach to implementing the new European Package Travel Directive, which comes into force in July 2018. And it claims that these proposals could help protect an extra 10 million UK package holidays booked online.
These new EU-driven rules (which have to be bought in by July next year regardless of the last year’s Brexit vote) on refunds aim to plug the gap in UK consumer rights between online customers and those who visit a travel agent.
The government is consulting on changes to ensure better information is provided when booking package holidays. These changes aim to ensure holidaymakers’ rights to refunds are clearly set out, along with an extension to current protections to cover the millions of UK travellers who buy package holidays online.
The government is looking to introduce changes for when you’re booking through an online travel portal. This is where it appears you are making one booking, but actually, the booking is split between different providers – known as linked travel arrangements. The government proposes to extend Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (Atol) protection to cover these bookings.
Currently, Atol protection only kicks in when overseas accommodation or car hire, or both, are requested with a flight. It protects your money if a company involved in the holiday goes bust before you depart and guarantees you will be brought home if the company collapses while you are abroad.
The problem is, protection hasn’t kept pace with how holidays are sold. Protection often slips through the net when using online booking sites to build personalised holidays.
And with Association of British Travel Agents (Abta) reporting in 2016 that more than three-quarters of UK consumers now book their holidays online it;s time to make sure that protections for package holidays match those you get when you book on the high street.
These proposals should be good news for UK holidaymakers, and we need the government to make sure any gaps in protection are properly addressed so that everyone has peace of mind however they book their package holiday.
How do you book your holidays? Will the government’s proposed changes help you?