On 1st of July 2018 Greece enacted the Presidential Decree 7/2018 which incorporated the EU directive 2015/2302 on package travel and linked travel arrangement in Greek State legislation, giving its provisions mandatory effect. What do the terms package travel and linked travel arrangement mean?
Package travel is the combination of travel services (mainly accommodation, carriage of persons and motor vehicles rental) for the same trip or holiday. Depending on how travel services are combined by the trader, they either constitute a package or a linked travel arrangement and travelers have the respective rights in each case. However, if the travel services have not been combined by a trader, the above directive does not apply.
The main characteristic of a package is that there is one trader (person or entity) responsible as the organizer for the proper execution of the services included in the package. Moreover, the Directive determines the conditions under which travel services constitute a package.
Specifically, it is considered package if there is a single contract for all travel services which have been combined by a trader before signing the contract or – irrespective of whether separate contracts are concluded with individual travel service providers – those services are:
- purchased from a single point of sale and have been selected before the traveler agrees to pay,
- offered, sold, or charged for one total price,
- advertised or sold under the term ‘package’ or under a similar term,
- combined after the conclusion of a contract by which a trader entitles the traveler to choose among a selection of different types of travel services, or
- purchased from separate traders through linked online booking processes where the traveler’s name, payment details and e-mail address are transmitted from the trader with whom the first contract is concluded to another trader or traders, and a contract with the latter trader or traders is concluded at the latest 24 hours after the confirmation of the booking of the first travel service.
Linked travel arrangement
On the contrary, if in the same trip more travel services are provided by the same trader without being combined in a package, or by separate traders each being responsible for the service they provide, the travel services constitute a linked travel arrangement.
In this case, the combination of the provided services could have been made by the traveler himself addressing separate traders. For example, the traveler would book a hotel in Mykonos and ferry tickets from a coastal shipping company, without any collaboration between the two companies.
For that reason, the Directive also applies when a trader facilitates the combination of travel services. In this case, the collaboration between the trader facilitating the combination of services and the trader providing the services is required, and the directive applies regardless of the content of the agreement between the traders.
Facilitating trade takes place when a trader facilitates a linked travel arrangement by promoting separate travel services or extra travel services provided by a separate trader, only if the extra service is booked within 24 hours from the confirmation of the main travel service. For example, there is a linked travel arrangement if a traveler buys tickets from a transport company website and, after booking, the website promotes booking a hotel from another trader.
Why was the new Directive necessary?
Since 1990 the trading practice in organizing and promoting package travel has entirely changed first and foremost due to the internet. It was not clear what protection travelers who booked over the internet had the right to and making it clear was necessary. The new Directive clarifies the rights of travelers within the E.U. and obliges E.U. countries – members to align their legislation to the same rules and provisions. The organizer of a package travel or a linked travel arrangement bears the same liability throughout the E.U., thus facilitating freedom of movement within its borders.
Moreover, the E.U. legislation considers travelers as consumers, and they are protected according to the relevant legislation. In practical terms, this means that if a traveler agreed (verbally or in contract) to terms that go against the provisions of this new Directive, these terms would be invalidated, they wouldn’t apply, and the traveler would have and every right set forth in this directive.
How are travelers protected according to the new Directive?
- The seller of the package or linked travel arrangement has the responsibility to inform the traveler about all main trip services before the booking agreement.
- The organizer has full responsibility for the execution of the trip.
- Traders are obliged to have insurance, so that clients can be compensated for cancellation, return, accident and other renumeration costs and claims.
You can find more for the traveller rights on package travel at the relevant factsheet issued by EU.
*The Directive also applies for traders that are not established in E.U. but they provide travel services to or in E.U.
**The Directive is subject to other E.U. legislation and especially to the Union rules on protection of personal data and the private international law.