Can I get compensation for my package holiday?
As a sole traveler or a family, it is sometimes easier and more convenient to book a package tour with its various travel arrangements. You book the entire package of accommodation, food, transportation and rental car all from one source and do not have to deal with each individual provider. However, as with any other trip, there are of course circumstances that cannot be foreseen. The airline could suddenly change the departure times, your suitcases could get lost or delayed or you could be refused check-in at the airport. All of these are potential problems that can occur during any trip, whether it is an organized package holiday or individual travel services. Many travelers are not aware that in the event of the above occurring problems, there could be a possible claim for compensation or refund against the tour operator. We at MYFLYRIGHT are happy to help you. We want to make sure that all travelers are well informed about their air passenger rights on package tours. We will help you solve problems related to your package tour.
If you have booked a package tour and there have been sudden unexpected flight changes, you might be entitled to the following:
- In the event of a package tour cancellations by the tour operator, you are entitled to a refund of the entire package tour price.
- In the event of a flight schedule change, you are entitled to be transported at the originally booked flight time, or if this is not possible due to organizational reasons, you are entitled to withdraw from the contract free of charge. Consequently, the tour operator must refund you the amount paid.
- In case of a flight delay of more than 3 hours, a flight cancellation, denied boarding or a change of departure time, you are entitled to a compensation of up to 600 € per person according to the EU Passenger Rights Regulation.
- In the event of a flight delay of more than 4 hours, you are entitled to a reduction of the total price of the trip.
- In case of lost or delayed luggage you are entitled to the refund of necessary replacement purchases.
- In case of deficiencies on your trip, which do not correspond to the booked service, you are entitled to a reduction of the travel price.
What is a package tour?
A package tour is a journey where the traveler books a combination of at least two different types of travel services with the tour operator or travel agent. A package tour usually applies if the booked travel services have been put together under one contract. The traveler is often able to select the travel services from the organizer’s portfolio. Package tours usually include the following components:
- Passenger transportation, e.g., by plane, train, bus or boat
- Accommodation, e.g., in a hotel, hostel or vacation home
- Vehicle rental, e.g., a car or motorcycle
- Excursions, e.g., visiting museums, sightseeing
- Any other type of touristic services
Consumer rights during package holidays
In principle, package tour travelers are protected by clearly defined consumer rights. Similar to individual trips, travelers are entitled to a compensation of up to 600 € in the event of a flight delay or flight cancellation. If a flight gets delayed during a package tour, the claim can be made against both the tour operator and the airline. The decisive factor here is the delay time at the destination airport. In the event of a 3 hours delay at the arrival airport, passengers are entitled to a compensation from the airline. In the event of a flight delay of more than 4 hours at the destination airport, passengers are additionally entitled to a reduction of the package tour price by the tour operator. However, if there is a flight or luggage irregularity during a booked package tour, you are still obliged to be punctual at the check-in desk. If you do not show up on time at the check-in counter, the airline or the tour operator can use it as a reason to exclude you from the trip and deny you the right to compensation. It is also important to note that in the event of a flight delay or cancellation, the two compensation payments mentioned above can be mutually offset by the airline or tour operator.
Package tour - extraordinary circumstances
In order to make a claim against the airline, the delay must not have been caused by extraordinary circumstances. When the reason for a flight delay is out of the airline's control, for example in case of a lightning strike or bad weather, this is deemed as an “extraordinary circumstance” and the airline is exempt from financially compensating passengers. In contrast, if the travel service is significantly affected by extraordinary circumstances, a value comparison must be made between the services owed by the tour operator and those actually provided. If the total duration of the trip has been shortened, the tour operator should refund a pro rata daily tour price to the customer. In the event that the travel service is severely impaired, or the trip has been significantly shortened, you can withdraw from the package tour entirely.
Frankfurt table: package tour
The Frankfurt table serves as a guideline for package tour travelers in Germany. It is a court judgements summary by the District Court in Frankfurt regarding package travel rights with a historic overview of package tour price reductions according to the travel irregularity severity.
It is important to note that the Frankfurt table is not legally binding and serves only as a reference for passengers. Each case is assessed individually, and travel price reductions are calculated accordingly. However, the Frankfurt table helps affected passengers to find some orientation on what to expect in case of a similar travel incident.
Package holiday – compensation for flight delay
As a rule, you are only entitled to cancel your entire package tour if a flight delay would significantly impair the course of your holiday. In such cases it is best that you inform your tour operator that you do not agree with the changed times. You must inform the tour operator in writing, so that you have a proof if you need it later on. If you decide to fly according to the new flight times and it results in additional expenses for you, you should keep your receipts and invoices and send them to your trip organizer. Additionally, if you were informed about the change in flight times less than 14 days before the originally planned departure time, you might be entitled to a compensation payment of up to 600 € depending on the flight distance and route. This amount should be claimed directly from the airline and not through the tour operator. Here is an overview of the compensation in relation to distance and flight delay:
- 600 € - For routes over 3 500 kilometers (with origin or destination in the EU) and a flight delay at the destination of at least 4 hours
- 300 € - For routes over 3 500 kilometers (with origin or destination in the EU) and a flight delay at the destination of between 3 and 4 hours
- 400 € - For routes between 1 500 and 3 500 kilometers (with origin or destination in the EU) and over 1 500 kilometers (with origin and destination in the EU) if the flight is delayed at the final destination by at least 3 hours
- 250 € - For routes up to 1 500 kilometers (with origin or destination in the EU) and a flight delay at the destination of at least 3 hours
Routes with compensation claim
Whether there is a claim for compensation also depends on the location of the airline (EU vs. non-EU airline). The EU regulation has very clear guidelines on this as well:
- For all flights within the EU, the law applies without exception, regardless of which airline operated the flight.
- For all outgoing flights from the EU, the law applies to all airlines without exception, regardless of whether the airline is based in the EU or not.
- However, for inbound flights to the EU, the law only applies if the flight is operated by an airline based in the EU (including Switzerland, Iceland or Norway).
The table below illustrates for which flights you are entitled to compensation:
Flight delay: How to claim compensation
You have a few options when making your claim against the airline. Either you choose to make the claim yourself or you ask for help and let someone else do it. If you choose to handle it yourself, it is more than likely that you will need to get legal support, as the airline will be able to argue skillfully against your claim with help of their legal team. If you decide to enforce your claim independently, it will also cost you a lot of time and raise your stress level significantly. To support you, we have prepared a letter template that you can use, to claim the compensation by yourself. You can find this template in the Flight delay article. Considering the time it takes to gather all necessary documents, finding the relevant information such as airline address, preparing the actual writing - which can be several hours - as well as how stressful it is dealing with airlines, it may be worth delegating your claim to MYFLYRIGHT instead.
Claiming independently is also a risky process since you might get stuck with the legal processing costs that might occur during your dispute with the airline. Furthermore, you most likely will not have access to accurate flight data and all the background information of a flight. Airlines usually do not disclose all relevant flight information regarding a flight incident, in order to keep their customers in the dark and to avoid compensation payments. An example of this is when you make a claim against the airline due to technical issues, whereas the delay was caused by a bird strike, in which case the airline does not have to pay a compensation. By the time this is made clear, you have spent a considerable amount of time, effort and money. However, in the event of a rejected case when making your claim through MYFLYRIGHT, there is no need to worry about the costs, because commission is only charged when there is a successful outcome. You simply need to enter your flight details at www.myflyright.com. We are happy to help you with your claim for compensation and/ or ticket refund and there is no cost risk for you at any point.
Package holiday – flight cancelled or flight postponed
A flight incident due to a flight cancellation is very similar to the case of a flight delay. Passengers are also entitled to a compensation of up to 600 €, depending on the flight distance, flight route and the point of time when a passenger gets informed about the flight cancellation. However, in some cases, tour operators reserve the right to change flight times in their contracts. As a conclusion, it always depends on the individual case and on the time at which the customer was informed of the changed flight times. You can find more detailed information on how to deal with cancelled flights in our article Flight cancellation.
Package tour – denied boarding
For the booked package tour, it applies without restriction that passengers enjoy the same rights as individual trip bookers according to the EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation. Therefore, the right for a compensation payment of up to 600 € also exists in the event of denied boarding or an overbooked flight. In the event of a boarding refusal and the corresponding consequences for a trip, it is best to contact the travel provider directly. You can find more information on this subject in our article Denied boarding.
Package holiday – baggage lost
If your suitcase gets lost or delayed, you might be entitled for a partial refund of the price you paid for the trip. In addition, passengers can purchase necessities such as clothes and toiletries at the expense of the tour operator or the airline of up to 1 500 €. Excessive expenditures on branded clothes and expensive technology are usually not paid out. The local service provider, for example the hotel, is usually not the right contact to address when you lose your luggage. If your missing luggage does not appear, you need to inform your tour operator immediately to claim your price reduction. You can expect a travel price reduction between 5 and 30 % of the daily rate of the trip. The complaint should be made in writing or in the presence of a third party. You will find more information on how to deal with luggage problems in our article Baggage Claim.
What should I do as a package traveler?
In cases of flight delays and flight cancellations, the airline must also provide you with additional services, depending on the length of your delay and waiting time. These additional services include free meals and refreshments, which you are entitled to when your flight is delayed by at least 2 hours. Passengers should also receive a free overnight accommodation and a transfer to and from the airport if the flight is shifted to the next day(s). Even in the event of extraordinary circumstances the airline is still obliged to provide these additional services to the passenger. The following overview shows the rights and services you are entitled to in case of a lengthy waiting time:
It is also advisable to ask the airline to confirm the reason for the flight irregularity in writing. This way you have a concrete written confirmation, which will come handy when you decide to enforce your claim against the airline. You should also gather evidence: photos of the gate information, receipts of your expenses, tickets, vouchers, etc. Below you will find an overview of the important documents you should keep:
Refund rights for my package holiday
Whether a delay has been significant enough to cancel the travel contract has so far always been determined by the local courts on the basis of the respective circumstances. This means that a right to cancel the trip can only exist if the flight delay calls into question the purpose of the entire trip and has a considerable impact on the travel service.
According to the EU regulation, on the other hand, you can withdraw from the flight if the delay is longer than 5 hours and you can have the ticket price refunded. However, this right is only against the airline and not against the tour operator. For package tours this can be a bit complicated because you have not booked directly with the airline, it is not always easy to find out the exact price of the flight from a complete package price. In addition, you are only entitled to a refund of the ticket price, but not of the entire trip. So, if you decide not to fly, you will usually have to pay the cost of the package tour. You should therefore consider carefully whether you want to take a flight booked in connection with a package tour.
Can I withdraw from a package tour?
In general, you can cancel your package tour at any time but the question always arises whether you will be able to get a refund. One can hope for the entire refund of the package tour only if the flight irregularity significantly affects the entire travel service and its expected recreational value. This is true, for example, if passengers miss the departure of their cruise ship due to a flight irregularity and cannot take part in the cruise, or the trip cannot be taken due to new pandemic regulations. In other cases, you should read the contract you signed with a tour operator thoroughly and decide whether to accept new flight times or discuss further options directly with your tour operator.
If your package holiday was severely affected by a flight delay or flight cancellation, you can always contact MYFLYIGHT. To avoid the financial risk, as well as the time-consuming and stressful nature of the process, you can delegate your case to us. We are experts in passenger rights, and we can help you get the compensation you are entitled to. With MYFLYRIGHT you can check if you have a claim for compensation for free – www.myflyright.com. If you wish, MYFLYRIGHT will pursue your case against the tour operator without any cost risk.
In case of a 3 hours flight delay at arrival
In case of a cancelled flight 14 days before departure
In case of overbooking / denied boarding
Delayed / Lost luggage
In case of arriving without the luggage
In case of a missed / not boarded flight