Don’t leave home without new ATOL certificate, warns Which?
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has warned that some small travel agents may still be struggling to issue the new ATOL travel certificates which became official on Monday (01/10/12) – and Which? has warned holidaymakers not to book holidays with travel agents unable to supply one.
Changes to consumer protection for holidaymakers came into effect in April and were launched this week in a bid to make sure travellers were aware of which elements of their holiday were covered in case an airline went bust before the departure date or during the holiday.
Previous generations of holidaymakers were sold packages which included all the elements of their holiday – flights, transfers, accommodation and meals.
The rise of online travel agents and more choice has meant holidaymakers can choose all the elements of their package – but some holidaymakers have found that if they selected their own flight, for example, this was not covered as part of the package if the airline went bust.
The new ATOL certificates are issued at the time of booking a holiday and will state what is covered.
The CAA says that even if a certificate cannot be supplied, holidaymakers will still be covered by the new scheme – although the first few weeks of the new regime may be subject to delays in rollout while travel agents complete their IT upgrades.