Many of us will recall with great detail the disruption the Covid-19 pandemic caused to our travel plans. The unprecedented influx of delays and cancellations; hours spent on the phone with customer service arguing about travel vouchers and refunds (or lack there of) has led policymakers, both in the UK and EU, to protect consumers and businesses by updating its packaged travel legislation.  


The European Commission has adopted a number of proposals, which include: 

  • Stronger passenger rights 

The proposal for a revision of the Regulations on Passenger Rights aims to fill gaps in the rules and implementation shortcomings by introducing rules for air passengers booking via intermediaries. Further proposal on passenger rights in the context of multimodal journeys introduce new rules which protect consumers using different types of transport (i.e. bus and plane) in one trip. Travellers will be entitled to better information on aspects such as connecting times or carrier assistance in event of missed connections. This assistance is enhanced further for passengers with disability or reduced mobility. 

  •  Protection of package travellers 

The revision of the 2015 Package Travel Directive places obligation on service providers to 1) issue cash refunds within 14 days, and 2) limit deposit payments to no more than 25% of the total package cost. Travellers offered a voucher will be informed on its details, will have a right of refusal and the voucher itself will be automatically refunded if not used. 


In September 2023, the Department for Business and Trade announced a call for evidence as part of its package travel legislation update. The call for evidence closes on 13 December and the Government seeks input on the following proposals: 

  • Whether the regulations should continue to apply for domestic packages.
  • Whether the regulations should be applicable to packages above a minimum price. 
  • Whether to change the rules around Linked Travel Arrangements (LTA) or discontinue this category entirely. LTA are those which comprise at least two types of travel service for the same trip, but fall outside the definition of “package”. They are seldom used by businesses. 
  • Whether to increase the flexibility over how insolvency protection is provided. 
  • Whether to update how “other tourist services” (i.e. concert, restaurant or sport event admissions) are defined for the purpose of these rules. 
  • Whether to exclude business travellers from the scope of the rules. 

Take home 

The call for evidence in the UK is part of a wider reform designed to improve industry resilience and financial sustainability, as exemplified by the Department for Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority working on ATOL reforms. Whether in the EU or in the UK, it appears that travel agents will have further obligations place upon them to safeguard consumers, whether or not they are the service provider. On the other hand, this obligation is likely to be offset (in the UK at least) by reforms in the scope of the regulation which are likely to exclude business travel and domestic personal travel packages.