Package holidays

When you book a package holiday, you are protected by consumer law. The European Union (Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements) Regulations 2019 amended the previous legislation (Package Holidays and Travel Trade Act 1995) to extend consumer rights to people who book non-traditional packages or Linked Travel Arrangements (LTAs). The regulations aim to make sure consumers are given relevant information about their holiday and are looked after if something goes wrong. The law applies when you book a package holiday or LTA in Ireland or abroad, when certain criteria are met. However, an LTA is not considered a package holiday and your rights are limited to situations where the provider of the first service you book goes out of business.

Package Holidays

What is a package holiday?

Your holiday is a package holiday if:

  • it has been pre-arranged/is ‘ready-made’
  • it is bought at a single point of sale
  • it is sold at an inclusive price by a travel agent or tour operator
  • it covers at least 24 hours (or includes an overnight stay)
  • it is made up of at least two of the following:
    • transport
    • accommodation
    • car or other vehicle hire
    • other tourist activities that are not directly linked to the above but which make up a significant part of the cost and package (e.g. guided tours)

There are other types of packages known as customised or dynamic packages. With this type of package the consumer chooses the components of the holiday, therefore, it is not pre-arranged. The booking must be made through a single point of sale, either online or offline, and all the components must be part of the same trip or holiday. In order to be classified as a ‘package’, there must be a single contract for all of the components, or there are separate contracts but one inclusive or total price is paid and the holiday is booked from a single point of sale, and all of the components are chosen before you pay.

Cruises are considered package holidays. Under consumer law the tour operator or travel agent is responsible for making sure that your holiday arrangements run smoothly.

Linked Travel Arrangements

What are linked travel arrangements (LTAs)?

Linked travel arrangements (LTAs) are when you buy two or more travel components (flights, accommodation, car rental etc) from different businesses as separate transactions. They are classed as linked when one business enables you to buy additional components as part of the same trip or holiday.

LTAs only apply if the combination of travel components is not a package holiday and the business:

  1. allows you buy more than one travel component in a single visit, e.g. during one visit to a travel agent or website, or
  2. invites you, by a targeted link (a link to another business website), to book a second component of your holiday which is booked within 24 hours.
Examples of LTAs
  • You book a flight through an airline or travel company and during the same visit to their shop or their website you also pay for, or agree to pay for, a hotel.
  • You book a flight with an airline and then receive a confirmation email offering car rental from another business. If, within 24 hours of your original flight booking, you avail of the offer booking the car rental, this is considered a linked travel arrangement.

A combination of travel and tourist components

A combination of one travel component, e.g. accommodation, and another tourist component, e.g. a guided tour or a match, can only be a linked travel arrangement if the additional tourist component is worth 25% or more of the overall value of the trip, or is an essential feature of the trip.

LTAs lasting less than 24 hours are not covered by the Regulations, unless overnight accommodation is included.

An LTA is not a package holiday and you have less rights.  Your rights for LTAs are limited to the provider of the first service going bankrupt. In this case you are entitled to your money back and, if necessary, to be brought home if stranded abroad.

What happens if the organiser goes out of business?

A business offering LTAs must refund all payments to you if they are unable to fulfil your booking if they become bankrupt. They must also ensure they can cover the cost of getting you home.

When you make the second booking under an LTA, you must be told that you are not booking a package holiday and that you can only claim insolvency protection.

Last updated on 6 June 2023