The UK Civil Aviation Authority is advising holidaymakers issued with refund credit notes during the COVID-19 pandemic to redeem their credit as international travel continues to open up. Unspent ATOL protected refund credit notes currently total over £130m.

In July 2020, the ATOL scheme announced that consumers who accepted refund credit notes for cancelled ATOL protected holidays would continue to be covered by the ATOL scheme. This protection applied to refund credit notes issued from 10 March 2020.

From midnight on 19 December 2021, ATOL holders will no longer be able to issue ATOL protected refund credit notes for holidays cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Travellers who have accepted ATOL protected refund credit notes between 10 March 2020 and 19 December 2021 are unaffected by this change but are reminded to redeem their refund credit notes before 30 September 2022.

Consumers are also reminded that along with redeeming a valid refund credit notes for a new booking, they can request a cash refund at any point.

Michael Budge, Head of ATOL at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said:

“With over £130m of ATOL refund credit notes yet to be redeemed, and international travel opening up again, we want to remind consumers to redeem any unused credits to make sure they do not lose out.

“Refund credit notes have been a fantastic tool to reassure consumers and support the industry. The decision to end the scheme reflects the changing of international travel restrictions with significantly increased demand from consumers over recent months due to the opening up of more destinations.”

Notes to editors

Unspent refund credit notes totalled £131.7m. Figure provided is based on latest ATOL holder submissions to the CAA as at 17 November 2021.