Advice on Holiday Travel Protection in the Event of the Failure of an Operator
But is that holiday protected against the failure of an airline, hotel or any other provider of an element of the holiday? And, of course, you could be in the middle of your holiday when it happens so when you shout...
'I'm a stranded holidaymaker, get me out of here'...
will anyone be listening to you? The regulatory framework around holiday travel protection was developed in the early 90's and became Law in the UK on 23rd December 1992 by means of Statutory Instrument No 3288 and titled 'The Package, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992.
Within those regulations provision is made for the financial protection of those who travel on a 'package' offered by an operator.
There was and still is no protection in the regulations for passengers of scheduled airlines or other forms of scheduled travel...
and therein lays the problem for today's traveler.
The regulatory framework, meant to protect the traveler, has been left behind by the way in which the travel market has developed.
'Budget Airlines' and on line booking have made air travel cheaper and consumer choice a reality.
The widely used option of putting together a holiday of choice by the consumer is a recognition of those changes.
However it means that the traveler who puts their own holiday together using different providers for travel, hotel, car hire etc.
is not protected.
The protection, where air travel is part of the package is administered in the UK by the CAA under the branding...
(Air Tour Operators Licence) If an ATOL operator fails whilst you are abroad, the CAA organises your repatriation.
It also arranges appropriate reimbursement if a holiday is not taken due to an operator failure.
An individual putting their own holiday together does not attract that protection, nor does the provider of the individual elements have to offer it.
There are some gray areas, one of which is when an airline offers air travel and also hotel accommodation, but be careful, often the hotel offering is from a linked website but from a different operator, therefore no protection.
The advice from Complaint Buddy is that if you are putting your own holiday or travel arrangements together, then assume you have no protection.
If a travel agent is doing the same on your behalf, ask what protection is included.
Remember, getting home could become a very expensive personal responsibility.
Take an appropriate insurance which includes scheduled airline repatriation should your airline fail while you abroad.
Check the small print, you do not want just to insure the value of the tickets you have paid for.
The Budget Airline you may have used may be the only or cheapest airline operating to your destination.
You may have to travel back on a 'full fare' with a more expensive airline.
Use a credit card to pay for the elements of your holiday.
You may have some possibility of at least a refund if one of your providers fails to deliver what you expect, check with your CC provider for details, such as the minimum spend which will attract the protection.
If you use a Debit Card, check with your Bank, Debit Cards have different rules, you do not always have the same protection as with a credit card.