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Seatplans.com guides: ATOL's top tips for holidaymakers
Published: 11/03/2011 RSS
With travel companies announcing the toughest trading conditions for a decade, holidaymakers are being urged now more than ever to make sure that their holidays are financially protected.
** Please note that the following information is UK-specific **
ATOL had its busiest summer holiday period ever with;
- Over 42,000 UK holidaymakers abroad being affected but able to finish their holidays and come home on time thanks to ATOL, and
250,000 unable to take their summer holidays because of tour operator failure. ATOL protection means everyone with a valid claim will receive a full refund.
As British families start to think about booking their 2011 summer holidays, the CAA has published its top tips on how ensure your holiday is protected:
For 100% protection, book with ATOL… The ATOL Scheme is the only safeguard that will bring holidaymakers home, as well as ensuring customers get a full refund for forward bookings.
Before you book, ask your holiday company whether all your holiday arrangements are ATOL protected and that all your payments for the holiday are to them and covered. Also, check their booking terms and conditions.
When you’ve booked, double-check your booking documents show you’re covered by ATOL and your card or bank payment statement.
When packing for your holiday, don’t forget to take all your travel documentation: including your ATOL receipt, holiday company and airline contact details, in case something does go wrong.
If you don’t book a fully ATOL-protected holiday you will not be 100% covered, so think about alternative protection that may give you some cover:
- Take out Travel Insurance…. But make sure it includes insolvency protection and any consequential loses, as many policies don’t give this cover. Also check the Ts & Cs for any exclusions.
- Book using your credit card... This may give you some cover, but it will be limited to the bit of the holiday you’ve lost, like flights booked with an airline. It won’t cover you for any consequential loses, like not being able to get to your holiday accommodation.
Some travel companies are doing the DIY packaging on behalf of holidaymakers and in these cases it is likely that the holiday will not be ATOL protected. There are two ways this might happen:
The holiday company books you ATOL protected flights, but sells you holiday accommodation booked with someone else.
The holiday company gives your credit card details direct to the airline they’re booking you with.
Don’t leave you and your loves ones unprotected… make sure you book an ATOL-protected holiday and have peace of mind that your holiday is fully protected.
ATOL is a financial protection scheme for holidaymakers, run by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). If an ATOL tour operator fails, the ATOL scheme ensures customers contracted with the ATOL holder for an air package or a flight, do not lose the money paid over or are not stranded abroad.
Check that you have ATOL protection.
Under the ATOL financial protection scheme, you can make a claim should the ATOL-protected travel company that you booked your holiday through fail. Should your claim be successful, the CAA will issue you a refund, unless you pay with a credit card in which case you should make the application to your card issuer.
Q: But what if I'm abroad at the time?
As long as the failed travel company you booked through was ATOL-protected, then the CAA will arrange for you to finish your holiday and fly home.
Q: How do I make a claim, and how long will it take?
You can make your claim in a number of ways - in writing, by telephone or by email. All details are below. The CAA aims to acknowledge all receipts within 28 working days.
Tel: 0207 453 6350 (10am and 4pm UK time)
ATOL Claims Department
K3 CAA House
Q: Where can I see a list of failed travel companies?
By clicking here to visit the CAA website. Here you'll find a list of failed ATOL-protected travel comanies, starting with the most recent.
** For more on ATOL protection and the CAA, visit atol.org.uk **