Knowledge Platform

‘Pre-Arranged Combination’

The PTD does not expand upon what constitutes a ‘pre-arranged combination’. However, it is generally accepted that the two or more components of the package can be ‘pre-arranged’ and ‘combined’ at any point prior to conclusion of the contract with the consumer and still fulfil this element of the ‘package’ definition. In practice, this means that the definition of ‘package’ encompasses arrangements put together at the direction of the consumer [4] as well as the more traditional ‘package’ type arrangements that are put together by the tour operator or travel agent prior to promotion in a brochure or on a website – the consumer typically being unable to select or de-sect any particular component of the package (save for choosing dates and flight times for example).

Some Member States’ secondary legislation goes further than the strict text of the PTD [5] and explicitly states that the fact that a combination is put together at the request of the consumer, shall not of itself mean that it should not be treated as being other than pre-arranged. This has been confirmed for example in the English case of ABTA v CAA [6] where it was determined that whether or not it is found that a combination is ‘pre-arranged’ will not depend exclusively on whether it is tailor-made at the consumer’s request [7]. The point has also been more usefully confirmed at EU level in the Club-Tour case [8], with the CJEU finding that holidays

[4] See Club-Tour, Viagens e Turismo SA v Alberto Carlos Lobo Gonçalves Garrido, and Club Med Viagens Ld, (Case C- 400/00) 

[5] See the Package Travel regulations 1992, SI 3288/1992 of England and Wales

[6] ABTA v CAA [2006] EWCA Civ 1356, [2007] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 249 

[7] However, in that same case the Court also stated that “…suppose that the agent has informed the customer that the cost of flights will be £X, the cost of accommodation will be £Y and the cost of transfers will be £Z; and has explained to the customer that he can purchase any one or more of those services, as he chooses, without any need to purchase the others. He has explained, in effect, that the customer can choose to purchase the other services elsewhere; or to make other arrangements. In that case as it seems to me there would be little doubt that the services are not offered for sale as a pre−arranged combination and at an inclusive price”

[8] Club Tour, Viagens e Turismo SA v Alberto Carlos Lobo Gencalves Garndo (Case L – 400/00)

[9] Although contrast this position to the decision of the English Courts in Civil Aviation Authority v Travel Republic [2010] EWHC 1151 (Admin) where it was held that where “we are dealing with a situation where the customer chooses his or her own combination of services from a wide range of options, in circumstances where TRL [an online travel service provider] does not know whether a customer will select only a single service or a combination. The customer is putting together his own combination for himself” – in which case there is no ‘package’ – meaning that the arrangement falls outside of the scope of the PTD.