Organising your holidays as associated travel arrangements
European Union (EU) commitments in the area of associated travel arrangements are notably aimed at providing a high level of protection for travellers.
Travellers are legally protected and entitled to compensation in matters of pre-contractual information, and if the travel agent goes bankrupt. They are also guaranteed repatriation if needed.
All disabled persons or persons with reduced mobility are covered by this legislation.
Anyone may choose to book a trip in the form of:
- an associated travel arrangement;
- a package holiday or holiday stay.
In terms of their organisation, both package holidays and associated travel arrangements are categorised as holiday-related services. These services include:
- the transportation of passengers;
- accommodation which:
- is not included in the transportation;
- does not have a residential purpose;
- car rentals (category-B driver's licence) or motorcycle rentals (category-A driver's licence);
- any other tourism-related services that are an essential characteristic of the traveller's trip.
Who is concerned
Any person seeking to travel can organise their trip as a combination of independent but connected contracts.
Such a connection is established when the traveller visits the point of sale of a particular professional, or contacts the latter, and that professional facilitates the purchase, within 24 hours, of a second travel service from another professional.
The traveller pays each professional separately and only for the specific travel service(s) they are providing.
The traveller's trip is also considered as an associated travel arrangement when the second professional offers a travel service that complements a travel package within 24 hours of confirmation of that travel package.
Travellers' trips do not fall within the scope of associated travel arrangements if the purchased trip:
- lasts less than 24 hours, unless an overnight stay is included in the trip;
- is organised on an occasional and not for profit basis for a limited group of travellers;
- is a business trip.
How to proceed
Obligations of associated travel arrangement service providers
Observance of the right to information
The professional must inform the traveller by means of a standardised form.
The information provided by the professional must be:
The professional must provide the following information to the traveller:
- whether the purchase falls into the category of an associated travel arrangement;
- that the rights and entitlements applicable to package holidays do not apply;
- that the professional is only responsible for the proper provision of their own service, and they are not responsible for the proper provision of the services of other providers;
- that in the event of a problem regarding the provision of a service included in an associated travel arrangement which is not their responsibility, the traveller must contact the appropriate provider;
- whether the service is covered by the insolvency and repatriation guarantee;
- the identity of the organisation providing protection against insolvency and repatriation;
- the contact details of the organisation providing protection against insolvency and repatriation.
This information is indicated on a form, which is not presented as a table with checkboxes. The form is a standardised information list with sentences to be adapted according to the identity of the parties to the contract and the identity of the travel guarantor.
Modification of the clauses in the service provision contract, and termination
If the service provider modifies or terminates the associated travel arrangement contract, the traveller protection arrangements will revert to those stipulated in the general provisions of the Consumer Code: there are no specific protection arrangements comparable to those that apply for package holidays.
Traveller protection during the provision of the associated travel arrangement service(s)
Unlike with a travel package, the service provider is responsible only for the proper provision of their own service.
The flight provider is not responsible for the actions of the car rental provider. Only the car rental provider is responsible for the non-compliance of the rented vehicle.
Recourse against the consumer
Points of contact prior to litigation
In the event of a dispute, consumers can obtain information and assistance from:
- the Luxembourg Consumer Association (Union Luxembourgeoise des consommateurs – ULC), in the event of a dispute between a consumer and a Luxembourg-based provider of associated travel arrangements;
- the European Consumer Centre (ECC Luxembourg), in the case of a cross-border consumer dispute, i.e. a dispute between a consumer and a provider of associated travel arrangements located in another EU Member State.
Filing a claim
In addition to filing a complaint with the professional directly, the traveller may also take the matter before the Luxembourg Commission for Travel Litigation (Commission luxembourgeoise des litiges de voyage – CLLV), which is the mediation body responsible for resolving travellers' complaints.
The CLLV's mission is to seek to reconcile the parties. If reconciliation fails, the CLLV issues a written legal opinion, based on the principle of equity. However, that opinion is not legally binding: it imposes no obligation whatsoever on the parties, but the moral authority it carries may suffice to resolve the dispute. If the decision is contested, the parties may still take the case to court.
In principle, the CLLV's opinion cannot be used as evidence in court, unless the parties so agree.
Should the professional fail to meet their contractual obligations, the traveller must seek redress through the competent civil court in the consumer's place of residence. In Luxembourg, this may be:
- a magistrate's court; or
- a district court.
The applicable law is that of the country where the consumer is normally resident.