Package Travel Directive raises ‘horrific’ data issues warns lawyer

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A leading industry lawyer has warned the new Package Travel Directive (PTD) will raise “horrific” data issues when it comes into force.

The directive expands the definition of a package and will introduce the concept of a Linked Travel Arrangement (LTA), which will apply when a customer buys a travel product and the provider “facilitates the customer to buy another product”, such as a room to go with a flight.

The new package travel rules will operate in combination with a new data protection regime under the European Commission’s General Data Protection Regulation, which comes into force in 2018. ‘Linked’ traders will be required to share customer information.

For example, a trader who sells a first service, such as a flight, will have to inform the purchaser of the financial protection which applies if they make a second purchase on a linked site. The second trader will need to provide information on the second booking to the first trader.

Rhys Griffiths, partner and head of the travel group at law firm Fieldfisher, said: “The directive will give rise to a Rubik’s Cube of data issues that will only get more difficult as you try to fix them.”

Addressing a travel industry audience at a Fieldfisher briefing in London, he said: “The directive gives rise to a number of unintended consequences, in particular around the ways customer data has to be shared among companies.”

He said lawyers were struggling to come to clear conclusions about the impact, warning: “It will give rise to some horrific data issues.”

He added: “It’s bad law. It has not been thought through and it’s going to give rise to problems.”

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