Knowledge Platform

'Two or More Travel Services'

The qualifying travel services under the PTD are accommodation, transport and other tourist services – none of which are defined in the PTD or the Regulations. That said, what constitutes accommodation or transport for the purposes of the definition is relatively straightforward in most cases.

‘Transport’ of any type is likely to be considered a qualifying component for the purposes of the definition as there is no requirement that it form a significant proportion of the package. This means that ‘transport’ includes the modes of transport used by the consumer to reach the eventual holiday destination, i.e. flight, train, car hire etc. but also transfers to and from and airport or train station to the accommodation, and can also include car hire and city centre/beach shuttle buses.

There is no requirement that accommodation should account for a significant proportion of the package. The ECJ has held that “the duration of the accommodation is of no importance in the scheme of the directive”, save as expressly stated, that the package must be longer than 24 hours or include an overnight stay.

Accommodation in a hotel, villa or apartment is clearly ‘accommodation’ as envisaged under the PTD. However, the situation may become less clear where for example you are dealing with overnight journeys on a train, where overhead racks turn into dormitory style sleeping arrangements. Commentators have suggested that a component will only ‘qualify’ if it is severable or independent from another component [10]. In the example given above, the overnight accommodation is not per se severable from the mode of transport – question therefore whether the ‘two or more’ part of the definition has been fulfilled, if these are the only elements of the purported package. Commentators have also suggested however that the situation might differing the stated example if the consumer were to travel first class and be provided with a cabin, akin to a hotel room – in which case there would be a clearer distinction between the transport element of the package and the accommodation.

Further limiting the type of accommodation falling under the PTD, the ECJ has held that an extended stay with a host family does not fall within the intended meaning of accommodation within the PTD. 

In terms of the facilities included with the accommodation, the English courts have confirmed that despite being booked on a ‘room-only’ basis, ‘hotel accommodation’ involves “access to all the normal public areas of the hotel…” for example to the restaurant and bar.

An additional legal ‘grey area’ arises where the mode of transport may also be considered accommodation; for example where a passenger on a ferry or train is allocated a cabin for an overnight journey.

National guidance suggests that for accommodation to be a separate component of a package “it needs to represent more than a facility which is ancillary to other aspects of an arrangement” [11]. In the context of a ferry-crossing or overnight train journey, the provision of a cabin on an overnight ferry or train is therefore more likely to be considered a facility.

What constitutes ‘other tourist services’ can be more difficult to determine. In order to qualify, the service must not be ancillary to the provision of accommodation or transport and must account for a significant proportion of the package. ‘Significant’ is again not defined in the PTD or the Regulations. However, commentators suggest that the ‘other tourist service’ will be a qualifying component if it is one which when taking the package as a whole and looked at from a quantitative (i.e. measure in time) and qualitative perspective, it is more than minimal, incidental or of casual importance to the consumer and their package experience.

In practice what this is likely to mean is that if the service is specifically identified and promoted in the brochure or through the tour operator’s website, even if in terms of time it is of only limited duration in the context of the package as a whole, when looked at from a qualitative perspective, it is likely to be regarded as ‘significant’.

On that basis, an inclusive excursion, a health club and spa, a lecturer or guide for example may be qualifying ‘other tourist services’ [12]. The provision of refreshments, in-transit entertainment, laundry services, room service, swimming pools, the provision of an additional luggage allowance are more likely to be considered as ancillary to either the transport or accommodation service and are unlikely to qualify as ‘other tourist services’. 

[10] Saggerson on Travel Law and Litigation, Fifth Edition, Matthew Chapman, Sarah Prager and Jack Harding, Wildy, Simmonds & Hill Publishing, Fifth Edition (2013) 

[11] Travel regulations guidance 

[12] A pre-booked excursion is only likely to fall under the scope of the PTD if it forms part of the original all-inclusive arrangement. If it is a pre-bookable option, and charged for separately, then generally it will not form part of the pre-arranged combination. See ABTA v CAA [2006] Civ 1356. If the excursion is booked locally in resort, it will not generally fall within the scope of the PTD. However, see Moore v Hotelplan Ltd [2010] EWHC 276 (QB). In that case, the tour operator was held liable for an excursion booked in resort on the basis that the claimant had been provided with a Welcome Pack identifying the excursion and stating that the tour operator could organise. The Court refused to accept that the tour operator was acting as agent and therefore held that the terms and conditions of the package, i.e. the PTD applied.