ATOL warning for sun seekers booking this Easter

Date: 28 March 2013

With the cold weather continuing, thousands of British holidaymakers are expected to book summer getaways this Easter weekend however, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is warning people to make sure they get an ATOL certificate to avoid being left out of pocket.

Today’s warning comes as new research reveals that some UK holidaymakers are taking huge risks when booking their trips abroad. The research shows that:

• Nearly half (46%) of people surveyed are more concerned with getting the cheapest deal than they are about protecting their hard-earned holiday
• More than a third (37%) don’t fully understand the benefit of ATOL protection.
• Almost one in five (17%) never read the small print when they book a holiday

The CAA runs the ATOL scheme to make sure holidaymakers don’t lose their money and are not left stranded abroad if their holiday company goes bust.

With the expected rush to book air holidays this Easter, the CAA believes many British holidaymakers could be tempted to book deals without ATOL protection and is urging them to take steps to check for protection – such as making sure they will get an ATOL certificate from their travel company when they book.

David Clover from ATOL, said:

“Whilst it is understandable that nearly half of UK adults are more concerned with getting the cheapest deal than making sure they are financially protected, there’s a real risk people could leave themselves open to losing their money if something goes wrong with their booking.

“But holidaymakers can easily avoid this risk by booking an ATOL protected holiday. Doing this will guarantee their money is safe and they won’t be left stranded abroad – even if their travel company goes bust.”

The ATOL scheme has issued over 170,000 refunds to customers whose ATOL-protected travel company has collapsed in the last three years, with over 60,000 Brits brought home from abroad. Holidaymakers booking trips this Easter can check for ATOL protection by taking three simple steps:

• Look for the ATOL logo on a travel company’s promotional material
• Check the name of the company at www.packpeaceofmind.co.uk
• Make sure they receive an ATOL certificate with their booking

For more information on what type of holidays are covered by ATOL and how the scheme works, please visit: www.packpeaceofmind.co.uk. 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 contact the CAA Press Office on: 0207 453 6030 or press.office@caa.co.uk

Follow the CAA on Twitter at @UK_CAA.

Notes to editors:

1. Opinion Matters carried out the research released today on behalf of the CAA between 08/03/2013 and 12/03/2013 amongst a panel resulting in 1,421 respondents.
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. Follow @packpeaceofmind on Twitter for further information and updates about ATOL protection.
4. 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; regulating airports, air traffic services and airlines and providing advice on aviation policy from an economic standpoint.