It has come out recently that several travel businesses that are currently awaiting their ATOL after a renewal delay have continued to display the ATOL logo. With their licenses currently not valid until the renewal, this has been identified as a break of CAA regulations. Fortunately, there are simple ways for a consumer to check that the license that may protect them is valid and report or refuse booking with the company if it is not.
Quite a few travel businesses facing an ATOL renewal delay have been found still claiming that their holidays are fully protected by their ATOL. However, until the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has renewed its ATOL, this protection is not applicable and could cause issues for travellers.
An Air Travel Organiser’s License (ATOL) is a form of financial holiday protection that will protect a traveller’s money if something should go wrong on their holiday, as long as the holiday is a package and includes a flight. Travel businesses selling flights are legally obligated to have an ATOL in order to sell those flights. It is also important for the travel business in question to renew their ATOL in either September or March, though there can be renewal delays when many businesses are applying close to the deadline.
In this case, that business should stop using their ATOL until their renewal has been confirmed, however, a renewal delay can cause a lot of issues for a business that is not prepared, and some businesses facing a delay have continued to use their ATOL in this period despite the violation to CAA guidelines.
Luckily for travellers, it is easy to check whether the ATOL on a business’s website is truly valid. All you need to do is type their ATOL number and/or company name into the ATOL holder checker. If it is a valid ATOL, you will be shown the details of the ATOL holder confirming that their license is valid.
The CAA commented, “In some cases, the CAA has yet to reach a decision on their application, in others the CAA has decided to grant the application from the date on which the business provides certain items to the CAA.
“Until the firms have renewed their licence, they are not permitted to advertise or accept bookings or payments unless they are acting as an agent on behalf, and with the authority, of a disclosed ATOL holder or are acting as an airline ticket agent.”
Michael Budge, the head of ATOL at the CAA, added, “We can’t comment on individual companies, but we’re liaising with firms that didn’t renew in March. This means waiting for additional information or other requirements from the company before we finalise their licence.
“There is an agreed process in place for companies which do not renew their ATOL. We’ve communicated with all applicable companies to remind them of the rules.”
So, if you’re looking forward to your next holiday, don’t wait, book now with a travel business registered with PTS for 100% financial protection through trust. Or, if you’d like assistance choosing one of the lovely PTS members to book with, you can contact PTS directly at 0207 190 9988 or check us out on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
And if you’d like to learn more about your financial protection with PTS or how the Package Travel Regulations protect your holiday booking, check out our pages and Travel Advice.