Airline click throughs ‘the big win’ in EU package law reform

The big win in the proposed new Package Travel Directive is bringing in airline click through sales, according to Abta head of legal and member services Simon Bunce.

He told delegates proposed changes represented a significant move towards the way the UK currently operates.

Tour operators and travel agents selling packages should be happy with what is being proposed because it clarifies what has been unclear in the existing directive, said Bunce.

“Who is not particularly happy with it? It’s those people outside of the scope of the current directive but are going to be brought within this directive.

“If you look at the way Flight-Plus works in the UK currently the vast majority of that is going to be caught.

“The scope of what is a package has clearly been broadened and is going to catch an awful lot more types of business. That really ought not to have come as a surprise to anybody.

“When the Commission started on this in 2009 two companies the commissioner specifically mentioned were Expedia and Lastminute. It’s obvious this was where it was going to end up.

“The Commission saw the way travel selling has developed and they wanted to bring that within the scope of the definition.”

Bunce said the wider definitions in the draft PTD which touch on online booking processes and data transfer were very unclear.

But he said this was clearly intended to cover airline click throughs, something Abta and the UK trade has been demanding.

“Whether they have done it in the right way I’m not sure, but it’s important to realise what that is all about.

“The online travel agents may have been swept up in this but the big win is to get airline click through websites in which is where most of our members have been concerned.”

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