Holidaymakers warned as travel industry gears up for busiest day of the year

Date: 07 January 2013

As travel companies gear up for their busiest day of the year today (Monday 7 January), hundreds of thousands of people booking summer getaways have been warned not to risk being left out of pocket by buying an unprotected air holiday.

With the Christmas decorations packed away and memories of a rain-soaked 2012 still fresh in mind, hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers are ready to beat the winter blues by booking trips to sunnier climes this week. But only people booking air holidays with ATOL protection can be confident they’ll be protected if their travel company goes bust.

Richard Jackson, Director for Consumer Protection at the Civil Aviation Authority, said:

“Millions of people in the UK will be planning their summer getaway this week. They can get peace of mind that their holiday is safe whatever happens to their travel company by booking an ATOL-protected air holiday. And with the new ATOL certificate, holidaymakers will know exactly what protection they have.”

ATOL ensures holidaymakers can continue their air holiday and return home safely if their travel company collapses whilst they’re away; or get refunds if the company goes bust before they’ve started their trip. It also means the travel company has to arrange new flights and/or accommodation if something goes wrong with their airline or hotel.

Last year nearly half the people surveyed by ATOL were unsure if their last holiday was ATOL-protected or not, but it’s now easier than ever for holidaymakers to tell if they’re covered. Thanks to recent changes to the scheme, anyone booking an ATOL-protected air holiday will receive an ATOL certificate from their travel company. The certificate tells them what is protected, who is protecting it and what to do if something goes wrong. Put simply: if you get a certificate you’re protected by ATOL; if you don’t, you’re not.

Anyone wishing to book an ATOL-protected air holiday can check if a company provides protection by looking for the ATOL logo on their promotional material, or searching the company’s name at www.packpeaceofmind.co.uk. More information about what’s covered by the scheme and how the ATOL certificate works is also available from this site.

People booking trips not covered by the ATOL scheme such as those without flights or holidays booked directly with airlines, should seek alternative methods of protection such as insurance or paying with their credit card.

For further media information or to request an interview please contact the CAA Press Office on: 020 7453 6030; press.office@caa.co.uk

Follow @packpeaceofmind on Twitter for further information and updates about ATOL protection.

Notes to editors
1. Survey results courtesy of market research carried out by Opinion Leader between 20-29 August 2012. This research will be published in full in early 2013.
2. Run by the UK Civil Aviation Authority on behalf of the Government, the Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (ATOL) scheme covers the traditional package holiday, some individual flights and since April 2012 holidays known by the industry as ‘Flight-Plus’. A ‘Flight-Plus’ booking is one that includes a flight plus accommodation and/or car hire, so long as these separate parts of the holiday are booked with the same company and within a day of each other.
3. The CAA is the UK's specialist aviation regulator. Its activities include: making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards; preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of tour operator insolvency; planning and regulating all UK airspace; and regulating airports, air traffic services and airlines and providing advice on aviation policy from an economic standpoint.
4. Follow the CAA on Twitter @UK_CAA