Package holidays: Parliament wants more legal rights for consumers 

Holidaymakers should be guaranteed help getting home if their travel agency goes bust while they are abroad, say new draft rules on package travel to be put to the vote on Wednesday. MEPs want travel organisers to be obliged to offer travellers reimbursement if they raise the price or change the flight times significantly after a sale is concluded.

Online sales have significantly changed the way travel is booked and today many package holidays are either not covered by the current EU rules, which date back to 1990, or leave consumers without clear legal rights. The new legislation will clarify the rules on package travel consisting of a combination of different elements such as flights, hotel accommodation and car hire.

The new rules should ensure that holiday makers are repatriated if their travel organiser goes bust while they are on holiday, say MEPs. They also want travellers in difficulty to be given information on health services and consular assistance or help in making alternative travel arrangements.

If travellers are prevented from returning home on time by "unavoidable" and "unforeseeable" circumstances, the travel agent must arrange accommodation for them at a similar standard to the accommodation originally booked or alternatively pay for a stay of up to five nights at up to €125 per night, MEPs are expected to say. The vote on Wednesday will constitute Parliament's first reading position with a view to negotiations with the member states after the elections in May.

Debate: Tuesday, 11 March

Vote: Wednesday, 12 March

Procedure: Co-decision (ordinary legislative procedure), first reading

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