What is ATOL?
The Air Travel Organiser’s License or ATOL for short, is a government run financial protection scheme operated by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). In essence, ATOL covers packaged holidays which includes flights and some flight only sales.
What is an ATOL certificate?
If the travel arrangements you buy are ATOL protected, you will receive an ATOL certificate from whoever you book your travel through. An ATOL certificate is proof your holiday is protected by the ATOL scheme and also details should your travel company stop operating. It’s worth noting, while ATOL is a financially protected scheme, it does not provide other assistance should there be other problems with your holiday.
How do I know if my travel arrangements are ATOL protected?
The best way to know if your holiday is ATOL protected is to check. You can;
- Look for an ATOL logo on the company’s website for which you have made your travel arrangements. ATOL holders will display the ATOL logo along with their unique ATOL number.
- Ask your travel agent or tour operator directly as they will know if your holiday is ATOL protected.
- ATOL has a database with which you can search for the travel company you are booking through and confirm if they are a legitimate ATOL holder. Before booking any holiday it is always advisable to check.
What does ATOL cover?
ATOL protects you from losing your money or being stranded abroad should your travel organizer fail. Essentially before ATOL certification is issued the CAA checks the competency of firms to mitigate any risk of failure. This in turn requires firms to pay in to the financial scheme and ultimately providing money to protect customers. A prime example is the loss of Monarch Airlines in 2017 where the company’s insolvency hit a number of customers and their booked holidays, while also leaving a number of customers stranded abroad. As a result of ATOL protection over 100,000 customers were repatriated.
Can I book with a company which is not ATOL protected?
In short, it is a legal requirement for every UK company to provide an ATOL certificate and protect their packages under an ATOL scheme. If they cannot you must check why, but anything booked would be at your own risk including any potential monetary loss.