New Flight Plus Regulation for UK Travel Industry
From 1st October 2012, UK holidaymakers travelling abroad should be issued with an ATOL certificate. This certificate is proof that the holiday is financially protected. Sounds simple!? Maybe.....
The Civil Aviation Authority have introduced regulations which effect all UK tour operators and travel agencies with the premise that any trip that includes a flight on its own or combined with any other substantial element (such as a cruise, accommodation or car hire) must be ATOL protected (as long as it departs from the UK).
This regulation applies to consumers and not to business travel.
Consumers can now confidently book a holiday with any ATOL protected tour operator or ABTA bonded travel agent who act as agents for ATOL protected tour operators. This brings peace of mind that your money is safe and also that in the event of a failure while you are in resort you will be re-patriated back to the UK for no extra charge.
Airlines are Exempt: A Word Of Warning!
Rightly or wrongly, airlines are exempt from this regulation. Any flight booked direct with an airline does not have to be ATOL protected by law. The same goes for if you book flights and separate accommodation on an airlines website. If in doubt look for the ATOL symbol and check the airlines Terms and Conditions. For example; Easyjet, Ryanair and British Airways do not provide ATOL financial protection. "Airline Ticket Agents" are also exempt from this ruling.
The twist to this is that if a Travel Agency such as ourselves sold you a British Airways flight, we would have to provide you with ATOL financial protection on this by law. Therefore it is recommended that consumers looking for financial protection book their travel arrangements through travel agents or tour operators and not direct with the airlines.
How to be Sure Your Trip is Financially Protected
On the suppliers website you should see the words "Agent for ATOL protected tour operator", "ATOL protected" or the ATOL logo. You should also receive an ATOL certificate soon after booking. If you don't receive this, you are not ATOL protected.
For more information, visit the CAA website.