ATOL scheme updated to protect online bookers

| February 9, 2012 | 0 Comments
ATOL scheme updated to protect online bookers

ATOL, a financial protection scheme managed by the Civil Aviation Authority, is being extended to protect up to six million more holidays a year.

The scheme ensures that holiday makers do not lose out financially if a travel company collapses, and that they are not stranded abroad.

An increase in the number of holidays booked online and of flight-only trips has meant that many holidays are not covered by the ATOL scheme.

From 30 April 2012 “flight-plus” holidays, which are not currently covered by ATOL, will come under the scheme’s protection.

These are holidays comprising a number of elements, including a flight, where the different elements were bought within specified period of time.

The reforms also mean that passengers will be given a certificate when they purchase their holiday, clearly stating whether their trip is protected by ATOL or not.

Further changes could be introduced under the Civil Aviation Bill currently going through Parliament, including bringing holidays sold by airlines, and holidays arranged on an “agent for the consumer” basis under the scheme’s protection.

The fund which covers ATOL’s payouts to holiday makers is running at a deficit and it is hoped that the reforms will strengthen its financial position.

Travel organisation Abta has warned that the reforms could lead to rising prices for holidaymakers.

In related news AA Travel Insurance revealed that nearly one fifth of travellers do not take out insurance for their winter holiday, even though winter sports such as skiing pose considerable risks.

Eighteen per cent of respondents to an AA/Populus study of 2,000 AA members who are taking a winter holiday said they don’t bother to buy travel insurance.

Only 34 per cent of those who do buy insurance make sure that the cover is adequate for their needs.

Alan Purvis, director of AA Travel Insurance, said: “More than a million people go on a snow holiday every winter so potentially, up to 200,000 are uninsured”.

Tags: , Civil Aviation Authority, flight-plus holidays,

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