What’s the difference between package holidays, dynamic packages and flight-plus?
There was a time when if you wanted to go abroad you would go to your local high street travel agent, flip through a few brochures and talk to a person about where you want to travel. While you can still do this, many people now choose to book online where you’ll encounter phrases such as “package holiday“, “dynamic package” and “flight-plus“, and these phrases can make a big difference to your consumer rights. In this article, we’ll explain how each one works, as well as what you can do if something goes wrong.
What is a package holiday?
Although things may change in the coming months, presently, The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 defines a package holiday as either lasting for over 24 hours or including overnight accommodation, and must also include 2 of the following elements:
- Accommodation – This can include a hotel room, a berth on a cruise ship or other significant accommodation.
- Transportation – This can cover flights, ferries, trains, coaches, transfers and more.
- Other services – These services need to be quite significant to qualify and can include all-inclusive food and drink, car hire and substantial excursions.
These elements need to be sold at a single inclusive price that covers all of the travel arrangements that you make under a single contract with your tour operator, and all elements should be financially protected through a service such as ATOL.
What is a dynamic package?
Dynamic packages are somewhat different, as although they can include transportation, accommodation and other services, dynamic packaging enables you to build your own holiday, rather than relying on something that has been purpose-built.
Each element can come from a different supplier that may or may not be a member of ABTA, and you may find that you have a unique contract with each supplier. Equally, you might find that only some parts of your holiday are ATOL protected.
Pricing isn’t just based on availability, but how much you want to spend on each individual element of the package, meaning that there are circumstances where dynamic packages can work out cheaper than predefined ones. You may have come across dynamic packages on price comparison sites such as Expedia.
What is flight-plus?
Flight-plus holidays are essentially the same as dynamic packages, although as the name implies, they must include a flight.
What are my rights if I’m sick or in an accident on holiday?
One of the biggest advantages of a package holiday is that you’ll be covered by The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018. This powerful piece of legislation that places a responsibility on tour operators to ensure that they take reasonable steps to ensure that you aren’t harmed by any aspect of your holiday, including anything that is supplied to you under your contract with them.
Depending on your contract, this makes your tour operator responsible for ensuring that you aren’t injured during your flight, transfers or while at your resort. They are also responsible for ensuring that any inclusive food or drinks that are made available to you don’t make you sick.
If your tour operator fails to act on the cause of an accident or illness that could have been prevented, then under the legislation they could be seen as being in breach of the contract you hold with them, and because of this, you may be able to make a compensation claim directly through a travel law specialist.
At present, those purchasing flight-plus or dynamic packages won’t necessarily receive the same degree of consumer protection, but there are other avenues to consider if you need to make a complaint that doesn’t require the help of a travel lawyer.
How can I make a complaint?
If you booked a package holiday, or if a supplier of an element of your flight-plus or dynamic package is an ABTA member, then you may find that you can make use of ABTAs arbitration scheme to resolve your complaint. If they aren’t an ABTA member, then you may want to contact Citizens Advice to find out which arbitration methods are available to you.
Am I financially protected?
To be classed as a package holiday, you should be provided with some degree of financial protection through a system such as ATOL. ATOL protection ensures that in the event that of your tour operator being unable to fulfil their contract with you, you shouldn’t lose your money.
Although flight-plus and dynamic packages can also be covered by ATOL, this isn’t always the case, so it’s important to ask when you make a booking, ensuring that you’re issued with an ATOL certificate. You may also be financially protected through your credit card provider, although this might not be as reliable as ATOL protection.
Can I make a compensation claim?
If you’re not sure whether you require help from a travel law specialist, just ask. We provide everyone who contacts us with a free no-obligation consultation, during which we can advise you if we can help, or if arbitration or a direct complaint is the right option for you.
You won’t lose the option to pursue your complaint through another means by contacting us, but you might find out a bit more about your legal rights and how much your claim is worth. If we’re able to represent you, we can do so on a ‘no win no fee‘ basis.