Travel Intermediaries and Responsibility for Compliance with EU Travel Law: A Scattered Legal Picture
Journal of European Consumer and Market Law, 2016, issue 3, p. 119-125
13 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2016
Date Written: May 29, 2016
Travel intermediaries, commonly known as travel agencies, are important and well-known actors in the travel sector and online travel agencies such as Expedia, Booking.com and AirBnB are booming. Although intermediaries obviously bring clear benefits for contracting parties, they also complicate the legal picture. From one legal relationship between a traveller and an operator, one goes to three separate legal relationships. In this triangle it is not always clear who is responsible in case a breach of EU travel law occurs.
This paper seeks to clarify who is responsible for compliance with EU travel law: the travel intermediary or the travel operator? It will discuss that, despite the many harmonisation efforts in EU private law, the legal rights and obligations of parties remain largely unclear if they contract through intermediaries. In fact, in general EU consumer law the matter is hardly addressed at all. By contrast, most instruments of EU travel law do clarify – at least to some extent – whether the travel operator and/or the intermediary is responsible vis-a-vis the traveller.
Keywords: travel agencies, intermediaries, EU law, private law, liabitlity, auxiliary persons, pre-contracual duties
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