British holidaymakers stranded after the UK’s third largest tour operator went into administration have been advised that many will get their money back.
Those who paid by credit card or used a tour operator affiliated to the Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing (Atol) scheme should have their money refunded.
But people who used a debit card to book directly with XL Airways through the website XL.com or an XL call centre will probably not be protected. And if they are currently stranded abroad, they will have to pay again to get home.
People who booked with Atol-protected travel operators owned by XL including Cruise City, Excel Holidays, The Florida Skytrain, Transatlantic Vacations, Travel City Direct, Travel City International, Kosmar Holidays, Freedom Flights and Aspire Holidays should be able to complete their holiday.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will arrange for them to be flown home.
Advice for passengers yet to travel
People who have yet to set out on their holidays are advised not to travel to airports. They should contact their tour operator if they booked with an Atol-protected company.
But those who organised their travel through XL airways or Medlife Hotels (also owned by XL) may lose their holiday and their money too unless they can claim it back via travel insurance, credit card or Visa debit card.
Which? Holiday advice
Rochelle Turner from Which? Holiday advises:
‘With yet another tour operator collapsing and leaving thousands of Brits stranded overseas or in UK airports, it’s really important that people take steps to ensure they are protected should a similar incident occur in the future.
‘If you pay for your flight with a credit card, Visa debit card or book it as part of a package holiday then you shouldn’t have any problems getting your money back. The same applies for people who book through an ATOL bonded travel agent or operator. You may even be covered by your travel insurance as some policies cover scheduled flights.
‘Sadly, if these don’t apply to you there’s little hope of you seeing your money again so bear this in mind when you book your next flight or renew your travel policy.’
XL Leisure Group declared bankruptcy early today having failed to secure a rescue package amid deep financial difficulties.
In a statement on its website, the group said it had been hit by rising fuel costs and the credit crunch.