The European Technology and Travel Services Association (Ettsa) has challenged claims that Europe’s package travel proposals “give a blessing to Flight-Plus”.

Ettsa also takes issue with Abta’s view that the proposed Package Travel Directive, issued earlier in July, would consider Flight-Plus a package.

The association, whose members include leading online travel agents (OTAs), argues the directive “invites interpretation” and warns it will lead “certain industry players” to seek loopholes.

Abta confirmed its belief that EC proposals to revise the directive would extend the definition of a package holiday to many UK Flight-Plus bookings last week.

That would extend the liabilities of traditional tour operators to major OTAs.

But Ettsa secretary general Christoph Klenner (pictured) said: “We find it hard to get behind Abta’s interpretation that the PTD proposal would consider Flight-Plus a package.

“What the proposal says is that only those combinations of products that are booked in one transaction and for a total price are covered, or combinations of products that are sold under the term ‘package’ or a similar term.

“None of these conditions are met by Flight-Plus. To claim that PTD gives a blessing to Flight-Plus is deceptive.”

Klenner told Travel Weekly: “What this debate demonstrates is that the PTD proposal is poorly drafted and presents an arbitrary definition of a package.

“It invites interpretation, will drive certain industry players towards finding loopholes and creates a questionable standard of protection.

“It creates more consumer confusion and will ultimately increase the cost of travel by punishing efficient market players.”

However, Klenner agreed “a large proportion” of bookings currently sold as Flight-Plus in the UK would fall within the definition of a package under the proposed directive.