The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has launched a warning to travel consumers emphasising that it is imperative to check their financial protection surrounding last minute getaway deals. Though this type of travel sale is not a new occurrence in the travel industry, with the more uncertain state of travel around Covid, booking holidays last minute to avoid things such as destinations leaving the green list has become more prevalent. And the CAA and other travel businesses alike are encouraging consumers to book up a great holiday, with emphasis on ensuring you have good financial protection.
The CAA have given advice to consumers on the Pack Peace of Mind site to advise people to thoroughly check their financial protection while booking a last minute getaway, as now it is more important than ever. With more potential changes for bookings, it’s even more vital that consumers have as much financial protection as possible when booking, and ensuring you are booking with a trusted and protected travel company is at the core of that.
With consumer protection a huge part of our beliefs here at Protected Trust Services (PTS), it’s no surprise that we agree wholeheartedly with this advice. We thoroughly encourage all our consumers to keep as up to date as possible on travel situations that could affect their booking. However, it is also important to ensure that you are booking with trusted businesses. This is something that can seem confusing to investigate, but with ATOL protection, PTS members, and mindful research, making certain you’re as protected as possible is fairly simple.
Keep an Eye on The Price and Use Your Instincts
Generally, we advise consumers to use their instincts, no matter the kind of booking they’re making, last minute getaway or 2023 holidays alike. This is a thread that the CAA followed too. Most of the time with very cheap bookings, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. And it rarely takes much more to get a good quality holiday with a travel business that you can trust. This is why it’s important to check when things seem unusually cheap.
There aren’t exact rates, as travel is a big and versatile industry, but when in doubt, checking the price you’ve found against other prices for a similar product is a good place to start. If you’re offered a flight for miles cheaper than seems to be the average, that can be a red flag that something isn’t right.
Checking for ATOL and PTS protection is simple and quick, and we’ll expand on this more shortly. However, there are little things that we advise creating into good habits whenever you’re booking travel, for your peace of mind and in order to advise the community. These pertain to but are not limited to:
- Checking Reviews – Look up a travel company on sites such as TrustPilot or Google Reviews is an easy way to see if they’re a trusted company. From here you can see a general rating and other consumer reviews, so if there are any experiences other consumers have had that could raise a red flag, you can find it.
- Check Consistencies on the Website – Not all ‘.co.uk’ websites are going to be UK based, so even if it is a legitimate company you’re looking at, they may not be operating under the Package Travel Regulations. Checking for things like this on the company website can be quick and simple, as well as anything that might alert you to fraudulent companies like the URL changing (if you’d like to learn more about how to spot travel fraud before you book, you can check out our blog).
- How You Pay – If red flags don’t start to arise until you’re in the midst of booking, there are still things you might want to look out for. For example, if a travel business wants payment into a personal bank account, that can be a big red flag.
- Book a Package Holiday – This is one of the easiest ways to ensure your holiday is going to stay protected. All package holidays are protected under the Package Travel Regulations, with some small exceptions that you can learn more about on the Government website. By booking a package you’re ensuring that you have at least the basic level of protection and that if anything goes wrong, you’re going to be okay, you can find out more about the benefits of booking a package holiday over independently on our blog.
Check for ATOL Cover
“It is more important now than ever that travellers make sure they are financially protected when travelling,” Head of ATOL at the CAA, Andy Cohen, said and we couldn’t agree more. Protection like ATOL is incredibly valuable, especially in 2021. Whether you’re booking a last minute getaway trip for the half-term holidays or planning for the upcoming years, great protection is the key.
Ensuring that your holiday is financially protected by ATOL is simple. The Air Travel Organisers’ License (ATOL) is a form of cover that you will receive for any package holiday you book that includes a flight or flights. All travel businesses that want to sell flights need to have an ATOL and when you have booked, they are obliged to provide an ATOL certificate that you can then use as evidence if you need to make a claim for anything that happens with your package holiday.
There are a couple of simple ways you can check that your travel business has ATOL cover before you book:
- Look for the ATOL logo in the shop window, on their website, or on any brochure, this should also include their unique 4–5-digit ATOL number on the logo; or
- Check the ATOL search page to find out if your travel business is an ATOL holder.
Check for Protected Trust Services (PTS) Members
Alongside the CAA’s advice on making sure you’re booking a holiday protected by ATOL, checking that your travel business is a PTS member is also an easy and guaranteed way to assure that your holiday is going to be as thoroughly protected as possible. This is for a few different reasons:
- All Protected Trust Services (PTS) members have gone through a verification process with our staff to ensure they are businesses that you can trust.
- PTS members are all Package Travel Regulations compliant
- Our members are also all protected by and process finances through the PTS trust account system, so all your money is independently protected from the moment you book to the moment you arrive home from your holiday.
- PTS members have the best rates for merchant services, meaning you can pay safely with the extra protection of your credit or debit card company to back up all transactions.
- At PTS we reconcile funds daily, so you can always know exactly where your money is.
We always ensure that you can book with a travel business you can trust by ensuring that we can trust them too, so when you book with a PTS member, you know you’re getting a fabulous holiday with complete peace of mind.
When you’re checking out a travel business, it’s also simple to find out if they’re a PTS member in the following ways:
- Look for the PTS logo on a travel businesses website, or on any brochures or storefronts. This will also include their unique PTS number on the logo, so you know they’re a member; and
- You can easily call up PTS directly at 0207 190 9988 to confirm that your travel business is a PTS member.
Ensuring that you’re protected on holiday in 2021 is even more important than ever. Booking a last minute getaway is a great way to have a fabulous holiday at the moment, but we advise that consumers are always aware and check that they are protected when they book so that you can have the holiday you’re looking for with complete peace of mind.
So, when you’re ready to book your next great getaway (last minute or otherwise), don’t forget to look out for a PTS member to book with, or you can contact PTS directly for assistance deciding which PTS member is right for you.