You need to understand your status when buying and selling travel services; this can affect your ABTA membership, financial protection and liabilities to consumers.
Travel agents sell travel arrangements and products on behalf of a principal. They do not sell their own products. Travel agents bring about a contract between the consumer and the principal but they are not party to the contract.
As a travel agent you:
Principals are contractually bound to consumers to provide travel services. Examples of principals are traditional tour operators, suppliers and airlines. Principals may sell direct to the consumer or through travel agents.
You are a principal if:
A principal’s business can be to sell licensable products – these are travel arrangements (packages that include flights and Flight-Only) covered by an ATOL.
However, a principal can also sell non-licensable products – these are travel arrangements with no flight included (packages such as cruise, coaches and ferry, and single element [non-inclusive] e.g. accommodation-only).
Remember The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018; if you’re selling travel services together they may form a package within the regulations and you will be acting as a principal.