Opinion: It's vital we raise questions about package travel law reform

Opinion: It's vital we raise questions about package travel law reform

Last week, I took part in one of Abta’s member workshops on the Package Travel Directive, held in our offices here in London.

We’re holding six workshops around the country in August with the aim of reviewing the key changes to the PTD that are being proposed and discussing what these may mean for our members’ businesses.

We’re running the workshops, alongside our PTD questionnaire, because it’s very important that we understand the practical impact of every aspect of the revisions and gather feedback on some of the elements of the proposals that may need closer review, better defining or in some cases changing.

It’s by no means ideal that we’re having to conduct this process during the summer holiday season but we need to ensure that by September we’re in a position to go back with a well-informed and robust response to the policy-makers in Brussels.

The session that we held in London was very constructive: we discussed the fact that the proposed revisions, on the whole, look to be sensible in the way they’re trying to bring the PTD into the digital age.

And in many respects they reflect the way the travel market works here in the UK (recognising the different responsibilities of pure retailers and package organisers; recognising the need to take steps to bring airline click-through arrangements into the scheme).

We also discussed specific questions and concerns among members about some aspects of the revised directive draft.
 
These included: 

- How do the proposed new Assisted Travel Arrangements (ATAs) differ from packages and how do they differ from Flight Plus?;

- How will consumers know if they’ve bought a package or an ATA?;

- What sort of framework contract is being proposed for business travel?;

- If a package is sold, who will be primarily responsible for assistance in the event of say an ash cloud: the airline or the organiser?

These are precisely the sorts of questions we need members to raise through the workshops and the questionnaire, and if the answers are not yet clear in the revised directive as it is currently worded, we will seek revisions when we respond to the proposals in September.

In the meantime, we will continue to update our dedicated website area: abta.com/ptd with more updates as we have them, including Frequently Asked Questions.

Later this week, we will publish a video for members to review, which will be particularly useful for anyone who isn’t able to attend a workshop.

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