Travelling is often synonymous with pleasure, but it can happen that your plane is cancelled, your train is delayed, your bus is overbooked or that you incur issues when getting ready to embark on a cruise. So various circumstances can indeed ruin your trip. In order to avoid such situations, the European Union has adopted several legislative acts to guarantee your rights as a traveler in the EU.
Package travel, also known as organized travel, is a set of tourist arrangements offered by a travel organizer. It can be a "turnkey" holiday or a holiday composed of a selection of personalized elements offered by a professional. Directive (EU) 2015/2302 of 25 November 2015 strengthens the rights of consumers that book travel packages.
In Luxembourg, the Directive was transposed by the law of 25 April 2018 amending the Consumer Code (“Code de la consommation”) with respect to package travel and related travel services..." (applicable to contracts signed as of 1 July 2018). Among other things, it establishes the following rights:
Duty to inform before the conclusion of the contract
Travelers must receive clear information through standard forms regarding the essential elements of their trip (destination, itinerary, departure and return dates, price...). This obligation to inform is incumbent on the organizer, but also on retailers (e.g. travel agencies) if the trip is sold through a retailer.
Changes to the trip before departure
The tour operator may not unilaterally change the trip before the departure, unless it is a minor change. Price increases are only permitted if they are the direct result of changes in the price of transport (i.e. increase in fuel prices) or in the amount of applicable taxes (e.g. tourist taxes).
In the event of an increase in the total price of the trip of more than 8%, the traveler is entitled to cancel the trip free of charge. No price increases are permitted less than 20 days before departure. In any event, the traveler is entitled to cancel the package travel contract at any time prior to departure. A reasonable and justifiable cancellation fee may however be charged.
During the trip
The tour operator is now responsible for the performance of the travel services included in the package travel contract, regardless of whether these services are to be performed by themselves or by other travel service providers. In particular, the organizer must duly offer similar services at no extra charge in the event that certain services are cancelled.
If no comparable services are offered or if they are of inferior quality, the traveler is entitled to a refund of a part of the price of the trip.
In the event of problems, travelers can either contact the tour operator directly, or contact the retailer who is obliged to pass on complaints to the tour operator.
In case of bankruptcy
Insolvency protection for tour operators exists to ensure that all payments made by travelers are refunded in the event of the organizer's bankruptcy. If passenger transportation is included in the package travel contract, the organizers also provides for a guarantee to repatriate travelers.