A recent case has highlighted why it matters so much whether a holiday is a ‘package’ or just a booking of travel. A man and his girlfriend were seeking a ‘last minute’ holiday, and after seeing one advertised online, he telephoned the travel agent and the couple booked their holiday.
After suffering an injury whilst on the holiday, the man sought compensation from the firm with which he had made the booking. However, the firm claimed that their sales agent would have read a telephone script to him, making it clear that it was only acting as the agent for the holiday provider.
Firms providing package holidays are liable for injuries arising from negligence in the provision of services or accommodation that are part of the package. However, according to Claire Bond, a personal injury specialist, “Where a travel agent just organises travel and accommodation which are not a “package”, liability will rest with the individual firm whose negligence caused the injury.”
After initially failing in his action, the man took his case to the Court of Appeal, which decided that as the man was not specifically told that he could book the flights without the accommodation or vice versa, and secondly, that the original invoice included ‘service charges’, which were not explained, these represented the cost of creating a package out of the cost of the flights and accommodation. Claire comments: “In light of this important distinction, the man was able to bring his action against the travel agent for compensation. People need to be aware of this crucial distinction.”
Further, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is now more important than ever to check the terms and conditions of your booking and understand whether you are booking a package, a linked travel arrangement or a single travel service. The type of booking you make can influence whether you are entitled to a refund, should you need to cancel your booking due to Covid-19.
Claire recommends checking the terms and conditions before booking to see what happens if you need to
- isolate and cannot travel
- if travel guidance changes in the UK or at your destination
- you choose to postpone due to Covid-19.
Claire also recommends carefully checking the terms of any travel insurance to see whether Covid-19 is covered.
Things to look out for include
- holiday cancellation terms
- what happens if you catch Covid-19 abroad and need treatment
- if travel guidance changes before or during your holiday
- vaccination requirements.
If you feel you may need advice in relation to a potential claim, we can advise you. Call Claire on 02392 820747 for further information.