If you have booked your holidays and your airline is going bust, what should you do? And what happens if you are already on holidays when this happens? Recently, airlines such as Monarch or Air Berlin have gone bust, and worrying news about Thomas Cook have been announced in May 2019. These events show that, unfortunately, airlines can and do go bust. To be sure you are not left out of pocket – or out of the country – there are a number of things you can do.
We all look forward to our holidays. Especially since we work so hard to save for them. The last thing you want is to lose your money or be stranded abroad if your travel company goes under. The great news is that with ATOL, you won’t. Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing (ATOL) is a government scheme that protects overseas holidays booked in the UK. That means flights, accommodation, car hire or both when booked with the same company on the same day or the day after. Check your travel company is ATOL protected before you book and make sure you get your ATOL certificate as soon as you pay any money towards an ATOL protected holiday or flight. Keep it safe, and make sure you keep it handy when you are away.
I am already on holidays and my airline is going bust: what should I do?
If you are already abroad when your airline goes bust, there are 2 possibilities:
- You are ATOL protected. In that case, you will be able to be put on alternative flights at no extra cost.
- You are not ATOL protected. In that case, you will have to book alternative flights yourself and will not be refunded. Please be aware that some airlines give special “repatriation fares” for consumers left stranded abroad. It is also advisable to check with your travel insurance company or credit or debit card provider.
I am not ATOL protected: what should I do if my airline goes bust?
If you are not ATOL protected and your airline goes bust, there are 2 important solutions to explore.
The first one is your travel insurance company. A company going out of business or flights being canceled are the reasons why you should consider a travel insurance policy. In case of any eventuality, you are protected. And you can start to relax even before your holidays start.
The second one is your credit or debit card provider. This situation applies if you do not have a travel insurance policy or if it doesn’t cover this risk. In that case, you may be able to be refunded via your credit card provider. For the claim to be applicable, you need to have paid more than £100 directly to the airline. If you paid via debit card, you can contact your provider to reverse the transaction.
How to claim
- If you are ATOL protected, you will need to liaise with the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
- If you are not ATOL protected, you will need to contact your travel insurance company or your debit or credit card company.
Airlines going bust are unfortunate situations that happen and can leave you stranded abroad. Or in a stressful situation days before a holiday. To be sure you are covered, we encourage you to apply for an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) and a travel insurance policy. The EHIC is a very important element as travel insurance companies often require consumers to have it before starting a new policy.