When you're booking a holiday, you'll probably hear about the Package Travel Regulations - so what are they and how can they help you?
In the UK, anyone who sells package holidays has to comply with the Package Travel Regulations 1992. The Regulations were brought in to set out tour operators' (and other travel organisers') responsibilities, and what consumers can do if they have a problem.
These rules have been put into place in the UK to implement a European Directive which affects all member states, so if your holiday is booked in Europe, you should be covered by the Regulations. UK Regulations don't apply to packages sold in other countries by operators established in the UK.
What is a Package Holiday?
A package holiday is defined by law as having at least two of these three components, all as part of a 'package' that you pay an inclusive price for:
transport (such as flights, transfers etc)
another tourist service which makes up a significant proportion of the package.
To be a package holiday, it also has to last for more than 24 hours, or at the very least include overnight accommodation as part of the trip. As an example, a day-trip to a tourist attraction in the UK which includes entry and travel to the attraction wouldn't count.
The package also has to be sold as one - If travel and accommodation (for example) are paid for separately, it's not a package holiday.
What Do The Regulations Mean for Me?
There are certain rules that apply to selling a package holiday.
Brochures - although there's no legal requirement for an agent or tour operator to provide brochures, if they do, the brochure needs to contain information about:
the destination and how you'll get there
full details of the accommodation, where it is, its rating and main features
which meals which are included
basic information about passport, visa and health requirements
when and how much you have to pay
minimum traveller requirements if necessary
deadline for informing customers in the event of cancellation
arrangements covering inward and outward delays
how consumers' money is protected and how they'll get home if the operator goes out of business.
Contracts Under The Package Holiday Regulations
When you buy a holiday, you should receive a copy of a contract in writing. The contract needs to include the same information about transport, dates, accommodation, food and location as the brochure, essentially setting out in great detail what you are getting for your money.
If you have any special requirements such as non-smoking rooms, no children, accommodation for pets, and the tour operator has confirmed this will be acceptable, the arrangements should be included in the contract too.
If the operator changes the contract, you can either agree to the amendments, or you can decide to cancel the holiday without penalty. So you should receive a full refund of whatever you've paid to date. A surcharge can only be added if it is due to changes in transport costs, taxes or fees for certain services, and exchange rates.
The Package Travel Regulations are really there to make sure that you know exactly what you're getting when you book a holiday, and to ensure that you aren't unfairly treated by a tour operator adding charges or making changes to your holiday.
I made several complaints about a package holiday to Guernsey and the travel operator said they would investigate and reply with a detailed response within 28 days but probably before that time. It is now 6 weeks and I have heard nothing. Is there any recourse because of their tardiness.
DEX - 10-Sep-21 @ 8:31 AM
We land in Birmingham, no special assistance to get off the plane.
We wait for 35 minutes, eventually it did turn up.
In the terminal no one is around, just our 4 suitcases going around the conveyer belt!!
We head to what we believe to be some exit and there was no one around to guide us.
We ask a taxi driver where we are supposed to go for a coach transfer to Gatwick, he told us it's the one pulling away now, someone flagged it down and we got on it.
We arrived at Gatwick a fair few hours later.
We put this complaint to Tui, we got back the flight compensation which everyone on the original flight that was cancelled was entitled too.
But nothing else, we were offered £100 gift voucher off another flight/holiday. When I told them it was an insult for 4 days of holiday being ruined through the whole saga, it was soon withdrawn!
Maybe it does seem greedy to want more, but all cancelled flights are entitled to flight cancellation compensation, this is more than that.
All it would have taken was a flag on our booking to be added, so that special assistance was swapped over with the booking. Numerous times (I have photographic evidence of all correspondance) I asked for special assistance to be added to my 1st booking, let alone all the other flight changes too.
It ruined the final part of our holiday. Our daughter was distressed.
Please advise of what I could possibly do next.
Mrssuv - 2-Nov-20 @ 9:17 PM
We were lucky enough to get away for a holiday to Greece in September.
What wasn't so good was Tui and their attitude towards disability and we are after some advice.
We book 1 year in advance of our holiday, as our daughter is disabled and special needs and Autistic.
This also includes booking Special assistance for her, to get to the plane, on and off the plane with the ambilift and specific seating.
Our holiday this year was going wonderfully, even tho Boris said we had to isolate when we got back home!!
Before we had even left the UK, the correspondence was poor, our flight number and the terminal had changed but with no email notification. I found this out by downloading the Gatwick app to see what restaurants were open for breakfast!!
On the Tuesday before we were due to fly home (on the Friday morning), we were sent a message stating that due to operational reasons our Tui flight had been cancelled.
We were rebooked on a Easyjet flight instead.
No problems with this but, at this point I asked if special assistance had been added to our booking, as it's on our original booking? From here, for the next 3 days, I messaged back to them about special assistance being added.
I kept being fobbed off that someone would get back to me, I even involved the resort rep whom contacted his offices, who tried to get Tui to sort it out with Easyjet, with the special assistance.
On the Thursday night, I contacted them yet again, they did fob me off, but as out flights were Fri morning, they magically came back to us saying it had now been added.
Our flights were again cancelled but this time due to a Medicane/cyclone, I was notified in early hours of Fri morning, and I rebooked on the app from one of the 2 choices we were given, for the Saturday instead, with Easyjet again.
During the cyclone we lost power, water and electricity meaning no WiFi either.
Our phones were buzzing with civil protection Greece messages to stay safe. All Greek schools were closed too, all flights from Thursday were diverted or cancelled.
12.10 pm we had a knock at the door, we were told our transfer was here for the airport??!!!!
After a long discussion it was agreed that we would chuck everything in the suitcases and throw some clothes on and go.
But no, the coach transfer had refused to wait for us!
We got a taxi to the airport and was overcharged, not Tui's fault!
We got to the airport with 20 minutes until our flight was due to take off.
We still had the PLF details for the flight for Easyjet, so this was illegal, but we had no notification about new flight, with Tui!
We were now flying to Birmingham, and no special assistance had been sorted.
We now had to sort this all out, ourselves at the Greek airport.
We had a stressful flight, due to a screaming baby for 3.5hrs, as our seats were not allocated correctly for our special needs daughter.
Mrssuv - 2-Nov-20 @ 9:15 PM
We went to Jamaica in 2019 but it was booked 2018(June ) so under old regulations. There was substantial building work going on (4different locations) also the hotel had gone from 5T to 4T since booking. We are in court with Tui in May. What are the rules on building work etc under the old act regulations please?
Kayla - 1-Apr-20 @ 5:47 PM
Booked Amsterdam spring break (package)and they have cancelled it, and have now told us we will not get a refund, but actually states this regulation on there page but still won’t give us a refund? Is there anything we can do?
Edes - 14-Mar-20 @ 7:29 PM
We've booked a package holiday to New Zealand and Australia departing at the end of March.New Zealand have now announced a mandatory self-quarantine period for all incoming passengers from tomorrow. I guess our next stage is travel insurance since the circumstances fall outsidethe Package Travel Regulations 1992?
Rich - 14-Mar-20 @ 1:13 PM
A cruise we are due to go on in a couple of weeks has had the last two destinations cancelled due to Coronavirus. We had extra days in Singapore in a hotel booked and a flight back from there, which have also been cancelled and changed. We have been told there would be extra time in the ports we would still go to, onboard credit which we don’t need or want, and extra sea days we don’t want.
Can we turn down this offer under the regulations and get a full refund for the holiday ?
MERV - 13-Feb-20 @ 5:58 AM
Our hotel has been struck down with salmonella vomiting and Diarrhea! We travel out on monday, first choice have said we can swap holidays due to this! There are no holidays the same price, we can’t afford to pay anymore! They won’t let us cancel! And book elsewhere, we have video evidence of hotel staff cooking using same utensils on raw chicken and cooked meat!They told us either travel to this place or lose your money!! Please help us we have 2 young children with us
Claire - 10-Aug-19 @ 9:49 AM
Our travel company has changed our hotel 2 months after booking our package holiday.
They’ve emailed today to inform us that the they have changed our accommodation because they believe it is not suitable for our daughter who will be 10 months old at the time.
They’ve also downgraded us from all inclusive to a hotel that only covers half board.
My question is can they change our accomodation based on what they think is best for my child even after we have already booked it?
And what can we do about the downgrade from all inclusive to half board? And a downgrade in hotel that I have previously stayed in and did not enjoy?
SH - 4-Apr-19 @ 6:23 PM
Re my posts and your reply question of 01/08/18.No the holiday did not go ahead and we were returned to Bristol Airport as the flight was cancelled by Easyjet after 12.5 hours in flight. Fleetway did not offer an alternative holiday or refund.In fact they stated that Easyjet would refund the airfares and the balance of our the package holiday cost (£1153.19) should be claimed back from our travel insurers. Is this correct as my reading of the Package Travel Regulations 1992 indicates that Fleetway are incorrect.How do I pursue Fleetway?
kev - 28-Aug-18 @ 8:53 AM
kev - Your Question:
Please advise, can we claim a full refund from Fleetway Travel, provider of package holiday as they have refunded only Easyjet airfares todate.Purchased Fleetway package holiday to Madeira, depart on Easyjet flight 23/04/18 from Bristol, flying to Madeira, high winds at Madeira divert to Lisbon refuel return to Madeira, again high winds divert to Porto refuel and for refreshment break then return to Bristol, landing 12 hours after departure.Just before arrival at Porto Easyjet announced cancellation of flight.
Did the holiday not go ahead? Sorry it's not clear from your comment.
YourTravelRights - 1-Aug-18 @ 10:31 AM
Please advise, can we claim a full refund from Fleetway Travel, provider of package holiday as they have refunded only Easyjet airfares todate.
Purchased Fleetway package holiday to Madeira, depart on Easyjet flight 23/04/18 from Bristol, flying to Madeira, high winds at Madeira divert to Lisbon refuel return to Madeira, again high winds divert to Porto refuel and for refreshment break then return to Bristol, landing 12 hours after departure.
Just before arrival at Porto Easyjet announced cancellation of flight.
kev - 31-Jul-18 @ 3:46 AM
We paid for a package holiday, paid the balance and when received the e-tickets, we received the outward flight was a later flight then what we paid for (what was on our invoice) and what we wanted. They said it was an admin error however when we asked for it to be corrected, they said that we were booked on that flight and cannot be changed as they have already paid for that flight, we have said its not our fault you have made this error and we want to be on the flight we paid for! They will not change this, so what are our rights?
SJ - 24-May-18 @ 11:08 AM
JohnT - Your Question:
I booked a tailor made holiday that included, transfer from airport to hotel, a total of 14 nights accommodation in 4 hotels, transfers between hotels and a number of day tours. I separately booked my international flights. The tailor made holiday was not as described, so I ma trying to make a claim. However, the travel company says it is not a package, and not covered by the package travel regs, as it was tailor made? Could they be correct?
It's not covered by the package holiday regulations becuase you bought your flights separately. You can still try and claim compensation (via the usual civil system) for the specific part of your holiday that was not as described...a particular hotel or excursion etc, but you would have to do so directly from the provider of that part of the holiday.
YourTravelRights - 6-Dec-17 @ 12:12 PM
I booked a tailor made holiday that included, transfer from airport to hotel, a total of 14 nights accommodation in 4 hotels, transfers between hotels and a number of day tours. I separately booked my international flights. The tailor made holiday was not as described, so i ma trying to make a claim. However, the travel company says it is not a package, and not covered by the package travel regs, as it was tailor made? Could they be correct?
JohnT - 5-Dec-17 @ 4:53 PM
I bought a return flights to Cali Colombia since 26 /09 /2017 to departure fromUk on the 04/12/2017 to 29/01/2018.To visit my elderly mother and attend her 93 Birthday and join all family for Christmas,but for health problems of my son I cancelld it with one month in advance at the agency, in order to stay in England to support my son through his illness, at the agency asked me for £175.00 penalty and for change the dates for next year,I am the main carer for my son,they asked as well for medical letter which i sent but nothing has been done i requested as well at firts for a refund and they unswered that will take two or three months with no guarantee.I called Avianca airline in Bogota'and they said that the agency should put things wright in UK but they are not doing what they should do,to support and help the custmer to sort out the situation.Please can you advise me what to do?.Many thanks.Vick
Vick - 3-Dec-17 @ 9:57 PM
Bev - Your Question:
I booked an expensive 'one off' trip to see the Victoria Falls and spend a night at the Falls Hotel in the presence of a noted celebrity who would be conducting a talk and having dinner with the people on the trip and lunch the following day before boarding the Rovos Rail for a seven night trip to Pretoria. The package did not include flights but included the night at the Falls Hotel and all meals there and whilst on board the train. The company recommended the international flight with BA but as their price was more expensive I booked our own return international flights. I did let them book the domestic flights. Unfortunately our outward flight with BA was delayed for over four hours and we therefore missed our connecting flight to the Falls, as did a large number of other people booked on the same trip. We had to stay overnight in Johannesburg and book and pay for new flights to the Falls the next day. We are claiming from BA for the costs but to date still haven't heard anything yet. We therefore missed our one night at the Falls Hotel, the dinner and lunch the following day plus the talk with the celebrity. People in our party who had booked the exact same flight via the agent have been paid compensation by them but they have refused to pay us any saying that we were not part of the package. Is this correct as booking flights with them was an option?
If you booked your flights separately from the rest of the package, your agent will not be responsible for any compensation due because of flight delays.
YourTravelRights - 20-Oct-17 @ 11:33 AM
I booked an expensive 'one off' trip to see the Victoria Falls and spend a night at the Falls Hotel in the presence of a noted celebrity who would be conducting a talk and having dinner with the people on the trip and lunch the following day before boarding the Rovos Rail for a seven night trip to Pretoria. The package did not include flights but included the night at the Falls Hotel and all meals there and whilst on board the train.The company recommended the international flight with BA but as their price was more expensive I booked our own return international flights.I did let them book the domestic flights.Unfortunately our outward flight with BA was delayed for over four hours and we therefore missed our connecting flight to the Falls, as did a large number of other people booked on the same trip.We had to stay overnight in Johannesburg and book and pay for new flights to the Falls the next day.We are claiming from BA for the costs but to date still haven't heard anything yet.We therefore missed our one night at the Falls Hotel, the dinner and lunch the following day plus the talk with the celebrity.People in our party who had booked the exact same flight via the agent have been paid compensation by them but they have refused to pay us any saying that we were not part of the package.Is this correct as booking flights with them was an option?
Bev - 17-Oct-17 @ 7:44 PM
Marn - Your Question:
I paid £7000 for a familyHoliday that was promised as being 5* - it however wasn't! Building work was still going and the water park was shut amongst other things. I accepted an exclusion from the hotel due to a leak in our room leading to a required room change. I was asked to sign a disclaimer for the excursion and now I'm back in UK I am complaining to the tour operator because they sold me an expensive over priced holiday for what it was- every English family in the resort was angry and complaining too. The tour operator is now saying that the disclaimer I signed relinquishes them from from any responsibility. Could someone advise me please - thanks
We don't think any disclaimer signed while you were in a state of distress will make any difference. If the tour operator will not compensate you, try the small claims court.
YourTravelRights - 4-Oct-17 @ 9:23 AM
I paid £7000 for a family
Holiday that was promised as being 5* - it however wasn't! Building work was still going and the water park was shut amongst other things.
I accepted an exclusion from the hotel due to a leak in our room leading to a required room change. I was asked to sign a disclaimer for the excursion and now I'm back in UK I am complaining to the tour operator because they sold me an expensive over priced holiday for what it was- every English family in the resort was angry and complainingtoo. The tour operator is now saying that the disclaimer i signed relinquishes them from from any responsibility.
Could someone advise me please - thanks
Marn - 2-Oct-17 @ 5:34 PM
I have several coach holidays booked and fully paid for with a local coach tour operator.One has been cancelled at short notice (apparently due to the failure of the Agent acting for the coach company) and a full refund was immediately made by the coach company.It now appears that other customers have had cancellations for trips this week, the local Office is closed and there is a notice saying it is closed for the rest of the week and the telephone is not being answered.The Owner is not answering his mobile phone either.It looks unlikely that trips next week will go ahead and I am very concerned that the Company may have gone out of business.My travel insurance does not apparently cover such eventualities.
Do I have any recourse under the package tour regs ?
tbw - 20-Sep-17 @ 5:29 PM
Since booking our holiday to Cuba staying at the grand paraiso hotel there has been a very large amount of food poisoning illnesses reported online. There are significant complaints regarding health, hygiene and safety, maggots in the food, rotting food, blood and excrement on towels and sheets, dead flies in food. We have spoke to Thomson to report this and to change our hotel but as we travel in 2 weeks they won't help us. They state that as Thomson haven't reported a problem yet, nothing can be done. There are obviously very serious issues going on here and we just want to change our hotel as we don't fancy being ill with food poisoning the entire trip, being on iv drips and having to go to hospital as various previous customers have had to.
Jen - 22-Aug-17 @ 10:29 PM
Brian - Your Question:
Hi - We have recently returned from a holiday in the Maldives. Whist on holiday my wife contracted Novo Virus, as diagnosed by the Island Doctor. She was ill for most of the second week. I have read that we may be able to claim for the illness? Is this true and how should we proceed?Thank you Brian
Check your travel insurance to see what is covered, the only alternative is to claim compensation via the legal system unfortunately.
YourTravelRights - 13-May-16 @ 10:58 AM
Hi - We have recently returned from a holiday in the Maldives. Whist on holiday my wife contracted Novo Virus, as diagnosed by the Island Doctor. She was ill for most of the second week. I have read that we may be able to claim for the illness? Is this true and how should we proceed?
Brian - 12-May-16 @ 8:46 AM
Joed - Your Question:
I have been notified by my tour operator that my accommodation has been downgraded from a four star to a 3plus.The official rating of the hotel has not altered. I booked the holiday based on the operators star rating and they say it is only a minor change therefore there is nothing I can do.Is this correct?
If it's only a minor change there's not much that can be done. If when you get there you are not satisfied, there is a range of things you should do; please see our guide for information
YourTravelRights - 11-May-16 @ 11:06 AM
I have been notified by my tour operator that my accommodation has been downgraded from a four star to a 3plus .The official rating of the hotel has not altered. I booked the holiday based on the operators star rating and they say it is only a minor change therefore there is nothing I can do.Is this correct?
Joed - 8-May-16 @ 12:52 PM
I booked with a travel company I believed reputable that only caters for the over-50s.Because I am disabled I got the basic contract changed to include my daughter (who is under 30) coming with me as a carer.I was subsequently told that the holiday is unsuitable for disabled persons.Of major concern is that I am being given a load of guff, such as that the rules re. information in brochures are different because the accommodation is on board a river vessel and that the holiday company are unable to have any influence in respect of the facilities provided by their suppliers outside of the UK.(The suppliers are in the Netherlands, another EU country.)I have been offered the opportunity to cancel free of charge but my daughter has booked time off work she can't change and we were both looking forward to the holiday..I want the holiday company to honour the original contract that recognised the fact I am mobility impaired..What is the best way of ensuring that they do so?
Bam's Mam - 24-Jan-16 @ 12:48 PM
@frosty. Here is the Foreign Office advice on travel to Tunisia. If your resort is included in any of the places they advise against travelling to, then you should be able to cancel.
YourTravelRights - 30-Mar-15 @ 12:05 PM
Due to the terrorist attack in Tunisia last week my 3 children, aged 11,8 & 5 do not wish to travel there. All I've had from Thomson is terms & conditions and other stuff you'd expect from a company only caring about £ not customer happiness. Want to cancel but being refused.
What can I?
Frosty - 25-Mar-15 @ 8:25 PM
@sierrasam. The Package Travel Regulations 1992 say that the travel agent (or tour operator) should not provide misleading information in relation to the package holiday itself, the price of the package holiday, or other conditions related to the contract between you and the tour operator.Any travel agent (or tour operator) in breach of this regulation is liable for any loss which you suffer as a consequence. Similar requirements cover holiday brochures.
How much will this affect you holiday? You will need to assess what level (if any) amount would compensate you. Then write to the tour operator quoted the above act.