The Package Holiday Regulations

Consumer Rights were reinforced by the introduction of the Package Holiday Regulations, which imposes liability on the tour operator for any failure to suitably perform any aspect of the contract. This means the tour operator takes responsibility for flights, accommodation, transfers etc, even if it was not their fault directly. As the name suggests, these regulations only apply to holidays booked as a package and consumers who book travel and accommodation separately are not afforded this protection. The regulations dictate that:

  • Specific information related to accommodation, meals, itinerary, price, deposit etc must be included in the brochure, and these shall be legally binding. Changes to these particulars may be made but the consumer must be informed of them before the contract is concluded
  • Essential information (such as passport or visa requirements, health precautions and repatriation in event of insolvency) must be provided to the customer before the contract is concluded.
  • Price will be fixed unless the contract specifically states how the revised price is to be calculated
  • In the event that the operator becomes insolvent, they must still have enough to refund or repatriate any consumers affected.

Complaints & Remedies

As with other consumer legislation, failure on the part of the operator to comply with the terms of the contract will enable the consumer to claim damages. This refers not just to the cost of any additional expenses the consumer has made, but compensation for mental distress, upset, disappointment and injury to feelings.

In order to make a complaint, there will usually be a procedure offered by the tour operator and will usually consist of a complaints form or the requirement to put it in writing. One thing is important however, the remedies offered to the consumer under these regulations require complaints to be made quickly – i.e immediately after (if not during) the holiday.

Trade Association Assistance

If the complaint has not been dealt with to the consumer’s satisfaction in the first instance by the tour operator, the consumer may take their case to the relevant trade body (e.g ABTA; AITO) who have a dispute resolution service. Additionally, if a credit card was used to pay for the holiday, consumers can also take advantage of Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act which imposes equal liability on the credit card provider for any claims.

Statutory entitlements for flight delays

For all travellers who experience flight delays are automatically entitled to monetary compensation for overbooking (where they are ‘bumped off), and compensation ‘in kind’ for delays due to late arrivals and technical faults – these are refreshments, free telephone calls etc. For further details on this go to the CAA website (

Leave a Comment

33 comments… add one
  • Barbara Middleton 23 November, 4:04 pm

    Hi! In September, we travelled with Newmarket Promotions on a weekend visit to Buckingham Palace and Windsor.The accommodation advertised in the brochure was at the Thistle Barbican Hotel or similar. This is a central London hotel and ranked as at least 3 stars. However, a few days before, we were told that the hotel would be the 2 star Ibis at London Docklands.

    I wonder if anyone else has had this poor experience. It spoiled the weekend as we were not able to meet our family as planned. I believe that they have contravened the Package Travel Regulations.

  • Catriona 26 November, 4:05 pm

    Barbara, yes, you are correct in your belief that they are in breach of the above regulations, as long as your trip was longer that 24 hours and the travel and accommodation were booked together as a package. The information contained the brochure was legally binding and any changes should have been notified to you, with the offer for you to cancel the booking – and claim any compensation for financial loss as a result. You should go back to the travel company as soon as possible requesting a copy of their complaints procedure.

  • Zhanna Harris 28 January, 3:06 pm

    Hi there, I have just came back from snowboarding holiday in Bulgaria. I was travelling through Crystal Holidays. overall it was great, except of the fact that on the 3rd day it started heavily raining and continued for 2 days. We all recieved a letters from ski schools, confirming the closure, so those that had insurance can claim.

    But I havent got the insurance, is there any way I can claim some money back. It was me and my boyfriend and 2 days (our holidays included ski lifts passes, rent of equipment). At the end of the day I know it is not the fault of holiday provider that it wasnt snowing, but it wasnt my fault either, as the only reason I took a week holiday was to snowboard and you cant do that without the snow!

  • Catriona 3 February, 10:54 pm

    Zhanna, if there was provision in law for compensation due to poor weather on holidays, travel companies would constantly be paying out. Unless you have insurance which contain weather clauses, there is nothing you can do in this case.

  • david welsh 18 February, 7:29 pm

    booked an appartment in manchester was told on arrival we were to be relocated to another location as the room we first booked had no hat water. when we got to the next appartment that had no hot water either some guy came who played with the switch for an hour and a half for the hot water whilst he left all the residents bank details and security numbers in full view of me and my girlfriend which i think is very worrying then he did a runner, we were told that the manager was coming which he didnt then we were relocated again to a different one to only find that that had no hot water either then asked if we wanted to move to another room. as i had a schedule i refused as i had to leave because of this i missed a very important financial buisness meeting and was late for a show .I think this is disgusting i lost a lot of money and we were upset because our night was ruined. please can you help me get money back or compensation

  • Jamie T 12 April, 6:09 pm

    I booked a holiday yesterday for a group of us (5+1 baby)
    One member of the group has since been told he cannot get the time off work.

    We have also since read rather disturbing reviews of the hotel and surrounding area.

    The holiday was paid for over the phone by credit card, and is booked for the end of June.

    Do I have the right to cancel with the company?
    If so should I expect to loose some of the money paid?

    Can my credit card company assist with canceling the holiday?


    • amy 10 August, 12:10 am

      Hi Jamie what happened in regards to cancelling your holiday? Were you able to cancel under the distance selling act? I’m in a similar situation and just wondering if you had any luck with cancelling the holiday.

  • Alex M 31 July, 6:20 pm

    Hello, Hopefully someone has some advice. I booked a holiday apartment through Serviced Aparments in Glasgow. I made the required deposit of 10% to hold the booking. The day I was due to arrive I called them to confirm the booking. They told me they had cancelled it and sold it on, as I had not made payment in full 24 hours in advance of check in. They left me and the four other family members travelling with me, high and dry. They have stated they will keep the deposit. It is a substantial amount of money as I was booked in for five people for two weeks. What is my best course of action to get my money back. At no time was I notified that I would need to pay in full, before I arrived.

  • heather stuart 8 August, 5:59 pm

    Delayed by 7 1/2 hours (on a 2 hour flight) from Minorca to Gatwick on Thomas Cook Airlines.

    They got us to the airport at 8:30, where they told us about the delay. Left at 18:20, originally scheduled for 10:50.

    We were given ‘light refreshments’ of a roll, drink, crisps and a cake bar at 12:30. We requested some more water at 16:30, but this request was turned down.

    Lots of families with children having to spend lots of money.

    It was a frustrating end to what was an otherwise fantastic holiday, are we entitled to any compensation?

  • v leech 7 January, 10:37 pm

    On the 29 dec we purchased a first choice holiday 2 adults 1 infant for a holiday to florida. since booking this we have had second thoughts on the whole long haul with a infant. the flight long plus 1hr 40 drive to property. we feel that the agent pushed us into this not reaaly explaining the trauma of taking this holiday with one so young even though we or selves love folrida. Do we have a cooling off period/can we change this holiday for something with a shoeting travelling time. We are conserned that with only a week holiday this is not for us

  • michael doughty 21 January, 3:42 pm

    please tell me what my rights are for being brought back from tunisia we was told to leave tunisia by the gov we didnot ask to go insurance wont pay stil have 5 weeks left on our holiday

  • tony 28 January, 3:31 pm

    I have a holiday booked through Thomas Cook in tunisia which my family and i are due to travel in april. Due to the on going problems in country and the advice given by the embasey ( 6-7 months to get back to normal at least ) would this apply as a change that should activate regulation 12. The company at present seems to have different reactions in different countries (germany and africa branches have cancelled for the next 6 months ) we would be happy with a change in location but not happy with the admin fees of £35 per person per change for a holiday that will not be what we were expecting.

  • susan 19 July, 2:52 pm

    Hi, I am going to Cuba in October. My problem is that the hotel I am due to go to is closed due to there being no hot water, and air conditioning. It has been closed since the end of June. The travel agents are denying it is closed at all, but I have been on the various trip advisor forums and people are not finding out about the closure till they arrive at the airport in Cuba and being taken to another hotel, which is not one I would wish to stay in. I have mananged to find out it could be a couple of months before the problems are sorted out, they are completely redoing all the pipes etc for water. My question is, do I have the right to cancel my holiday, and get a full refund or change to other hotel,destination of my choice, not theirs, which is what they are doing at the moment. If I wanted to get a allocated on arrival holiday, I would not have paid full price for the one I have booked. It is the Cayo Cacos islands, and there are only four hotels on the island, and the other three alternative ones, are not ones I would want to stay in. What are my rights, can I go to the travel agent now, and say I want to change my holiday? would I incur any charges, I know they will say, wait and see, but I do not want to get there and be “allocated on arrival” and dumped at anothr hotel not of my choice. Please HELP.

  • Katie 26 July, 11:21 pm

    I am travelling to Ibiza with my b/f and 3 children, the youngest being 1 year old.
    We booked out holiday with thomas cook 12 months ago.
    We chose good day flights for obvious reason but 2 days before travelling the have changed the flight to a night flight that will get us to the holel for about 1.30AM.

    The travel agents has said they have the right to change the flight times at anytime before printing.
    I recoived no notice whatsoever before picking up tickets.
    Can they do this? . Its too late to do anything about ti now but i am fuming.


  • M. Palmer 25 October, 10:00 pm

    we am booked with Thomas Cook for a cuban holiday 3 weeks prior to our travel date we are advised that our departure date hade been changed by 4 days and that a flight transfer from Havana to Cayo Coco would transfer now be by road a distance of between 265 and 311 miles.
    we habe been offerd £30 each for the change in departure date and £75 for the change to the transfer(this is the cost of an internal transfer flight with no compensation for the inconvenience of a 300 mile road trip).
    when we requested compensation we were advised that we could have a full refund, we do not consider this adiquate at 3 weeks notice

  • Karen Naylor 18 February, 6:05 pm

    My parents recently booked a uk trip with shearnings holidays which included transport, hotel accomodation and a drinks package for three hours each evening of their stay. They have paid in full but have now been advised that the drinks package has been withdrawn. They have been told that there will not be refunded and monies as a result of this change nor are they being given the option to cancel and request a refund. This seems extremely unfair – are they allowed to do this?

  • Jo.B. 26 May, 9:24 pm

    Husband & I booked a 5 night stay in a B&B on the south coast.
    When we arrived we were shown to a flight of stairs, at the top of the stairs… was another flight of stairs. Because of a chest condition I declined to go further, we were offered a room in another part of the building. It was only after we started to settle down we found no basic room items, such as wardrobes, hooks , coat hangers, mirrors, shelves, cupboards…. the list continues, but also it was very dusty & unclean. Breakfast was not to be believed, and we left for a days outing. On our return , we found the room untouched, not even the tea cups moved. As usual no one around, so next morning at breakfast asked why etc.
    The reply was they only had one key. We uttered our feelings regarding the state of the room & on suite, and it ended with us deciding to leave, we asked for a refund for the remaining 3 nights we had paid for. This was refused, ‘ WE dont give refunds’ was the reply.
    As OAP’s we can hardly afford a 5 night stay, our time away had to be cut short, as we had to pay for two nights elsewhere.
    Can they do this ?. Also the Credit card people are very vague, & not helpful at all.
    Many thanks.

  • kelly 2 July, 8:06 pm

    Booked cruise through Thomas Cook
    They did not tell us about surcharges – automatic for tipping.
    They did not tell us about 15% surcharge on every bar bill.
    I asked questions specifically about the food and drink procedure on board.
    Only found this on brochure she gave us AFTER booking it.
    Went in withing 24hrs to express concern; and to cancel but was told no.
    And told that they have no obligation to tell us everything?!

    Any advice please??

  • Amy Morris 19 January, 4:21 pm

    Hi I would like to know if anybody has got anywhere with a cooling off period for a package holiday, I booked online and over the phone with holiday gems, who I have since read all sorts of bad reviews about.
    Misleading online pricing and the dates are wrong. I called immediately after receiving confirmation to explain this and they have said there is no way of changing unless I pay an extra £400, eventhough its the same airline and hotel just for a longer period, or they will take £600 if i cancel altogether.
    My credit card company are disputing this as they also took an unauthorised payment but need to gather as much info as possible.

  • Alice B 24 January, 2:39 pm

    Amy, as the owner of an independent tour operator I have also been investigating whether we need to offer clients a cooling off period after they have booked. Essentially, I think holidays are exempt but we offer a 14 day cooling off period out of good will.

    In terms of your payment to Holiday Gems to date, some elements of a holiday need to be paid for by the holiday company to an airline or local hotel/supplier straight away, so they often cannot get any money back themselves even if you cancel within 24 hours.

    However if you have been booked on a holiday which is on different dates to the ones you requested, and the total is higher than you agreed to, you should be able to get them to cancel your booking with a refund and absorb any extra costs they may incur as long as you can prove that the error is theirs, not yours.

    If there error was yours I am afraid they are within their rights to stick firmly to their terms and conditions as they have confirmed the holiday in good faith. Don’t forget that airfares can be very different on different days, depending on how full the flight is, so that could account for the higher price they are charging for the change of dates. This could also include an amendment fee levied by the airline itself – many don’t allow changes at all and those which do nearly always charge for them.

    It doesn’t look like Holiday Gems is a member of ABTA but if they have made an error and are refusing to fix it or refund you your deposit then I would suggest calling ABTA anyway as they may be able to give advice based on what their member agencies would do in the same circumstances. Hope this helps.

  • Stephanie Roberts 20 February, 4:30 pm

    I booked a holiday online. On the page that shows the selected hotel, flights and extras, I made sure the luggage for our party was added for the flights. I double checked all this information, then clicked the ‘Book Now’ button which took me on to the payment page. There was a new price on the page which was lower and I presumed this was an online discount, as this has happened on their website before. I filled in my details and paid. After, I received an email confirming I’d paid, it then showed me that the luggage hadn’t been added even though I had selected it. At no point until after I’d paid was I notified that the luggage had been removed. This is why the price was lower but I didn’t remove the luggage, their website did. If I had known the full price inc. luggage, I wouldn’t have paid for it and would have selected less days as the cost is way over our budget. Do I have a case?

  • James Taylor 25 September, 1:11 pm

    I Book a Cruise with Planet Cruise. I had to cancel the first cruise as a few weeks after booing & Paying for the Cruise I had a coronary
    this was August 2012 the Cruise did not go until March 2013. My surgeon told me I would be okay to go by-then. Unfortunately I developed more problems in my health. I was worried about loosing the payment for the Holiday in March. Planet Cruise gave me £2.000 towards another Cruise. so I would only loose £1.000. But after they had got my monies, I found they would answer my e:mails or letters nothing. I was booked on Celebrity cruise. I wrote to the Cruise Company they did not respond at all. I tried to borrow a wheel Chair to take on the Cruise. No good. On the Ship I borrowed a wheel chair but could not use it. Nobody gave way for people in wheel chairs it took me 4 attempts to get into a lift. so the rest of the cruise I had to rely on my stick. This made me really tired by Lunch time. The problem I had made it ruing my Holiday. James

  • Carol 9 October, 8:50 am

    we went on a package holiday to Turkey with Thomas Cook and had a 14 hour flight delay, they provided us with a hotel,food,snacks etc.
    however becuase of this we got home at midnight and I had to be at work the next morning – can we claim any compensation for the delay please

    thank you

  • michelle brattley 9 October, 7:56 pm

    ive recently come home from a holiday to bulgaria sunny beach with my two six year old girls, i was mis sold this holiday as wen i booked it i was told resort was still open and hotel was a four star hotel. on arrival i found resort was closed all water parks too and no entertainment such as mini club closed. i spent all my holiday in hotel this was the worst holiday ive ever had, while me and my children were sat in lobby germans were partying till half two in morning i know this as we went to bed early as are entertainment was turned off at half ten and my children got woke up by the germans returning to there rooms, i have videos and pictures to back this up. i have complainet to thomas cook by phone for them to offer me 350 pounds back in vouchers, i refused this offer as i payed by debit card (not credit card) wat else can i do im in process of going to the press at minute. can u advice me to do anything i havnt already,,,, miss m brattley

  • Diane Gilfillan 7 February, 12:26 pm

    We travelled to Mexico and whilst staying at the hotel there was extensive building work at the hotel which we weren’t informed of. The building work consisted of a whole floor being closed off and the paint fumes and noise, which started at 5.30 am until well after midnight most days meant that we could not stay in the room. We complained in resort and when we returned home, but Thomas Cook insist we are not being compensated because guests at the hotel before we arrived did not have any problems. However, they have compensated other people that we travelled with on the same holiday, do I have a claim?

  • elspeth 7 February, 8:18 pm

    I booked a holiday to Majorca for my sister and granddaughter. Last week I got a telephone call from Thomson holidays to say the flight has been changed and instead of leaving at 6am we are now leaving at 3,40pm. We will lose a day of our holiday and our evening meal.
    I have sent messages to Thomson and am told that there is nothing that can be done.
    I was not informed by the tour company that this could happen. Surely a big company like Thomson could at the very least offer us some compensation for the loss of a days holiday and our evening meal.

  • donna sage 11 June, 6:07 pm

    Hi we are travaling on the 1 st of july and have jusst found out that there is building work going on next to the resort so we asked to be moved hotels and the travel agents said they were going to moniter the siguation we are travaling with a 2 year old after already experiencing a bad hoiliday through them what can we do about this ?

  • mrs vera crandle 20 June, 5:54 pm

    booked a holiday for 20th july 2014 in november 2013 didnt do insurance due to us moving in dec 2014 and planning a party for my 70th in june the 2 weeks ago we were told my husband of 74 yrs old has bowl cancer tried to get my money back from thomas cook and got no joy do i have any rights the surgeon at the hospital said he would give me a letter to confirm he has cancer
    many thanks for your reply

  • Charlotte 6 August, 10:41 am

    Hi All,

    Need a bit of advice. I booked a holiday with Thomson for the price of £2300+ for 11 nights to Mexcio. Six days later the price of this holiday had decreased by £600 and was now being sold for 14 nights. Obviously this seems like a huge discrepancy in such a short amount of time, I understand changes in prices over time, but £100 per day seems excessive.

    Having spoken to Thomson and they have said they offer ‘flexible pricing’ and essentially tough luck. Is this the case? Can anything be done to mitigate the disappointment I feel about this or is it just something I should suck up?

    Any advice really appreciated.


  • r williams 19 September, 6:10 pm

    Booking a flycruise with imagine cruises via phone they were to email additional cost but did not then invoiced me without our agreement and are overcharging by £2000 and say we agreed to there choice of accommodation they are dishonest bullies what can we do we trusted them and paid. £6000 deposit

  • Lisa Moss 24 February, 1:11 pm

    We had decided on our trip to Florida in December a very long time ago, as we are going for a 40th birthday and Christmas, so was in no rush to book it.
    I had a look at some prices, and on the 27th January I found a good dea lon the internet with Kenwood travel (who we have previously never booked with).
    We had decided on this trip we wouldn’t use a car, but I was a bit unsure about the transfers so decided to give them a call about the full price, at this point I was not planning on booking, just finding out some prices.
    The sales woman ( which she definitely was) gave me a price of £4177, and told me this was SALE price and would end on the 30th January.
    The deposit for 4 of us would be £420, which I thought was a bit steep, but I had a good deal and like she said it was in the sale.
    I decided on the 17th February, out of curiosity, to have a look to see what we had saved.
    To my utter dismay, the holiday was now £3627!!!
    Well to a family with 2 small children, this is a huge difference!!
    I would not have booked the holiday, which I was led to believe, was in the SALE, if I had known it wasn’t in the SALE.
    I have contacted Kenwood travel numerous times, and have been told they cannot alter the price.
    I fully understand this, but as a customer I have been misled into buying something, by a pushy sales person.
    I have booked many holidays with different tour operators, and have never been treated this way.
    3 weeks after I book a holiday, and it goes down £500, surely I am entitled to some courtesy compensation??

    Hope you can advise me,

    Kind Regards
    Lisa Moss

  • Frank 31 March, 10:37 pm

    Book package holiday 24 hours is there cooling down period

  • Tasos Demetriou 17 June, 8:16 pm

    EXPEDIA’s customer service SUCKS! They have promised to reimburse me for my trip 7 months ago and I am wasting my time talking to them every day and THEY DO NOTHING to help me! They are just finding excuses to avoid reimbursing me, finding novel reasons every time. I have been on the phone with them for more than an hour everyday for the past week, and they make promises that they do not keep! It is unbelievable and unacceptable behavior from their behalf! Any help of how I could take this legally will be greatly appreciated! Many thanks