All holidays sold by retailers that include a flight and a hotel, or any other travel component, will have greater financial protection from the end of April.
Any travel agent or tour operator selling flights with any other travel product will be required to have an . This means the customer will be refunded and repatriated if the airline or other company involved in the holiday goes bust.
The so-called ‘Flight Plus’ Atol will come into force on 30 April 2012 and will mean more online and high street travel agents have to give financial protection to customers.
An Atol certificate, that will make clear to consumers exactly what they have, will not be available until 1 October 2012.
In the meantime, any retailer selling a Flight Plus holiday will be required from 30 April to add a paragraph to its documents stating that the customer has bought an Atol protected holiday.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has advised retailers to prominently display the new guidelines and the company’s Atol Certificate for the benefit of consumers.
Ask about Atol
David Moesli, deputy director of the CAA consumer protection group, said customers should contact the CAA if they bought a flight and another holiday component after 30 April but saw no mention of Atol.
He said: ‘The message in the transitional period is that if there is no mention of Atol when you make a booking you need to ask about it. If you don’t see that paragraph, then contact the CAA and we will want to investigate.’
When the Atol certificates are introduced in October they will state if the holiday is financially protected under Flight Plus, if it is a with the protection of the Package Travel Directive, or if only the flight is protected.