Guide to Financial Holiday Protection

Is your holiday protected?

Automatic protection applies to most overseas air holidays that you book with a UK travel company. The law says your holiday must be protected if you book a holiday with a single travel company that includes:

  • Flights and accommodation (including a cruise)
  • Flights and car hire, or
  • Flights, accommodation and car hire.

This protection is provided by the ATOL scheme BUT IT DOES NOT APPLY TO flights or holidays booked direct with scheduled airlines or where you create your own holiday by booking a flight with one company and your accommodation with another.

Any other holiday arrangements such as hotel only bookings, UK holidays, coach tours etc are not automatically protected by law but may still be protected by one of the other schemes so it is important to check with your holiday provider what protection is in place.

ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s Licence)

Normally Protects – Flight Inclusive Package Holidays

The licensing scheme is run by the Civil Aviation Authority and all travel companies selling flight inclusive holiday packages and flights in the UK are required by law to hold one. An ATOL bonded holiday will ensure you do not lose money or become stranded abroad if your travel company collapses. However, ATOL does not protect you if you book directly with an airline selling seats on their own flights. If your holiday is ATOL protected you should be given an ATOL Certificate as soon as you pay for a holiday and will be required to pay an ATOL Protection Contribution (APC) of £2.50 per person.

ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents)

Normally Protects – Land or Sea Based Package Holidays

If you buy a land or sea based package holiday such as coach, rail or cruise from an ABTA Member your monies will be protected by the ABTA scheme of financial protection. This means that if your travel company fails and your holiday can no longer go ahead you will be entitled to a refund if you are yet to travel or hotel costs and transport home if you are abroad. However some travel arrangements, for example accommodation only bookings are not required to be protected although many ABTA Members will also choose to protect these through ABTA.

ABTOT (Associaton of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust)

Normally Protects – Non Flight Package Holidays

The ABTOT bond only covers non flight packages commencing in and returning to the UK. Packages including flights must be protected by the travel organisers ATOL. If an ABTOT member can no longer meet its financial obligations, the bond will cover the reimbursement of your prepayments and costs of repatriation to the UK from abroad (if it formed part of the original package price).

AITO (Association of Independent Tour Operators)

Normally Protects – All Holiday Arrangements

AITO members are required to arrange financial protection for your holiday and other arrangements, including accommodation only options, so you can book a holiday safe in the knowledge that should something go wrong you will be financially protected.

TTA (Travel Trust Association)

Normally Protects – All Holiday Arrangements

TTA members consist of travel agents, tour operators and travel organisers and all monies you pay to them are deposited into a special Trust account which is supervised by an appointed Trustee who is usually a banker, accountant or solicitor. Should a member become insolvent, the money you have secured with TTA will be used either to help complete your holiday and for your return home, or for a full refund.

The Global Travel Group

Normally Protects – All Holiday Arrangements

Operates a Customer Protection Guarantee Scheme which works in much the same way as the TTA where your monies are held in a trust account.