Agreement on the final version of a revised Package Travel Directive, anticipated this week, appeared set to be postponed as Europe’s Council of Ministers and the European Parliament failed to agree on treatment of ‘click-through’ sales.
These fall under the definition of Assisted Travel Arrangements (ATAs) in the draft directive, covering sales where a consumer clicks from a flight-booking site to a partner to book accommodation or car hire.
Airline association Iata, European online travel agency association Ettsa and other groups issued a last-ditch appeal for a postponement last week. Calling for change “before it is too late”, the associations wrote to the council, parliament and European Commission, urging them to “rework the text substantially”.
The letter labels the directive “ineffective, confusing and unenforceable”, claims it will “affect trust in the online marketplace”, force companies “to remove targeted consumer discounted offers” and “add unwarranted costs”. Ettsa members include Expedia, Opodo, ebookers and eDreams.
Iata director-general Tony Tyler said: “The PTD contains a number of elements which essentially rule out the offer of click-through services.
“It makes it more difficult for businesses to transfer from one website to a partner. We’re not against consumer protection but it has to be done in a practical way. We expect to see a delay and it sent back.”
But Abta head of public affairs Stephen D’Alfonso said: “I’m still reasonably confident we’ll have a directive by July 1. ATAs will continue to exist in the directive one way or another. Click-throughs will be in this directive – all three institutions have agreed to that.”
D’Alfonso added: “Abta and other organisations have been lobbying on this for years, and this fight will go to the wire.”
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