What is this type of sale?
The New Package Travel Directive introduces a new type of regulated holiday package, which will be called Linked Travel Arrangements (“LTA”).
BEIS, in its guidance describes LTAs as:
Linked Travel Arrangements (LTAs) are travel combinations that have looser commercial connections than that of a package.
BEIS goes on to explain why LTAs have been brought under the 2018 PTRS:
This type of arrangement, where a trader has facilitated the combination of travel services … but where the ties between the businesses concerned do not fully constitute a package that is sold or offered for sale, should also be subject to some level of regulation.
Travellers who purchase LTAs will receive some protection although they will not benefit from the same rights that they would do if they bought a package. For instance, there is no requirement for one party (the organiser) to be liable for the performance of all the travel services that are part of an LTA. There is a requirement for some insolvency protection, but this is limited when compared to a package.
In addition to additional (limited) consumer protection, the introduction of LTAs aims to level the playing field amongst travel providers. While LTAs do not constitute packages within the meaning of 2018 PTRs, they constitute an alternative business model that often competes closely with packages.
Essentially, an LTA will be formed where the consumer purchases a minimum of two different types of Travel Services (with different travel providers) and which does not therefore fall under the definition of a package. An LTA is formed where the travel organiser facilitates:
A travel organiser facilitating the sale of an LTA is obliged to provide financial protection for the refund of payments it receives when a Travel Service is not performed as a consequence of the travel organiser’s insolvency. If it is responsible for the carriage of passengers, the insolvency protection must also cover the travellers’ repatriation.
However, one very significant difference is that the 2018 PTRs do not impose liability on a facilitator of LTAs for the negligence of its suppliers; neither does it impose the same requirements concerning the provision of information to the traveller and the terms of contracts with the traveller.
ABTOT Affiliate TravLaw LLP comment about the inferior level of financial protection attached to LTAs below:
Even the insolvency protection for an LTA is weak, applying as it does only to the first element booked, and only for such time as the agent who sold the first element (and it almost always will be an agent) holds the consumer’s money before passing it on to the service provider e.g. airline or hotel.
So for example, a consumer buys a hotel stay from one website, then is directed to click through to another site to buy transport. (Names/emails/credit card details are not transferred).
The only financial protection is for money paid to the hotel company and is only effective whilst that company (maybe a booking agency) holds the money, before passing it on. There is no financial protection for the flight or other transport booked via Trader B.
ABTOT as an approved body can provide financial protection for LTAs as well as flight-inclusive and non-flight packages under the Package Travel Regulations.
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