ATOL protection – What it is and why it’s Important
Aside from travel insurance, when planning your trip it’s wise to check the ATOL status of your holiday company. After all, you’ve spent a lot of time, effort, and money on your perfect getaway, so it can only help to be vigilant. Some travellers don’t check whether their holiday is ATOL protected, to the result of losing thousands of pounds in the event of a claim. Keep yourself protected and informed, by following our handy guide to ATOL protection.
What is ATOL protected?
ATOL stands for ‘Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing’. It’s a Civil Aviation Authority scheme to protect customers who buy packaged holidays and flights from a tour operator.
How do you check if your holiday is ATOL protected?
Head over to the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) website and complete an ATOL database search. There’s also a useful list of companies to avoid booking with!
Be sure to ask your travel agent for the ATOL license number. Often this is combined with the logo on their brochure materials, and if not already supplied to you, request a certificate with their details on.
What does being ATOL protected cover?
ATOL stops you losing money or becoming stranded abroad if your travel company collapses:
- If the company folds while you are on holiday, ATOL will make sure you can finish your holiday and get home as planned.
- If the company collapses before you for your holiday, the scheme will provide a refund for the holiday you had booked.
- In some cases, you may be able to continue with your original plans.
The law states your holiday must be protected when you’ve booked the following with one travel provider:
- Cruise, flights and accommodation.
- flights and car hire.
- flights, accommodation and car hire.
When are you not ATOL protected?
If you book different parts of your holiday with different companies, it is unlikely you will meet the requirements for being ATOL protected.
So what can you do?
First, check whether you have ABTA protection. Agents and tour operators who are members of ABTA sign up to a code of conduct that sets out how they will deal with any complaint, and this dispute reconciliation service could serve as a useful fall-back should anything go wrong with your holiday. As with ATOL, ABTA is there to help if your travel agent fails, or if the holiday goes wrong. However, it does not offer financial protection for holidays that involve travel by air.
Lastly, paying for your holiday using a credit card or Visa Debit card can also give you added protection.
How to make an ATOL claim:
Go to the CAA website, and navigate to the ‘Making an ATOL Claim’ section and follow all the instructions.