Travel websites selling Linked Travel Arrangements are not being regulated

Travel websites selling Linked Travel Arrangements are not being regulated

Legal expert Rhys Griffiths tells Abta seminar they are like doing 75mph on a motorway

A leading travel industry lawyer has claimed Linked Travel Arrangements, which are regulated under the Package Travel Regulations (PTRs) and offer partial financial protection for consumers, are “just not regulated”.

Rhys Griffths, partner and head of travel at City law firm Fox Williams, compared selling Linked Travel Arrangements (LTAs) to “doing 75 mph on the motorway”, suggesting: “No one ever gets pulled over for it.”

LTAs were introduced under the 2018 Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements regulations (PTRs), in line with the EU Package Travel Directive (PTD).

The aim was to offer consumers much more limited protection than on a package holiday, with none of the additional liabilities, if travel businesses sell flights and accommodation completely separately or sell a flight and then offer a link to an accommodation platform.

Griffiths told an Abta Travel Law conference on Monday: “Linked Travel Arrangements (LTAs) just aren’t regulated. I cannot remember a single occasion when a regulator has challenged a client over an LTA.

“I don’t think regulators have any interest in them.

Most travel companies have steered clear of selling LTAs since 2018 and no one, including the CAA or Abta, has published an estimate of the number of LTAs sold in the UK.

However, Griffiths insisted: “There are a huge number of sites out there selling LTAs and no one cares.”

He explained that LTA bookings can be made in two ways, saying: “A customer buys a flight, then makes a completely separate booking journey for a hotel – that is an LTA 1.

“An LTA 2 is created if an airline sells a flight and there is an offer in the booking confirmation to click through to [or another accommodation site] to book a hotel.

“That is a targeted cross sale and if there is second booking within 24 hours there is an LTA 2.”