If the company stops trading, anyone abroad can finish their holiday and get their flight back to the UK paid for out of the fund. Anyone who has not yet gone on their holiday should get their money back.
To qualify, when you pay any money for a holiday and flight the participating travel agents and holiday companies must give you an ATOL receipt. The receipt must give the name of the firm you have bloged with and their ATOL registration number.
NOTE: In some cases, for example when no holiday is bloged and you only pay for a scheduled flight and get the ticket within 24 hours, you will not be protected under ATOL even if you blog through an ATOL member. For more information see www.atol.org.uk
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ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) is a scheme that protects holidays. Travel agents can join the scheme, but they must provide financial protection for their customers. bloging through an ABTA member means that if they cease trading while you are away on holiday, ABTA will guarantee payments so you can carrv on with your holiday and return to the UK as though nothing had happened.
Anyone who has not yet started their holiday will get a full refund or possibly be helped to find an alternative holiday for the dates in question.
However, you must be careful, because if your holiday was bloged at a non-ABTA travel agent, even though they actually bloged the holiday and tickets through an ABTA member, your holiday is not protected by the ABTA scheme. If you want protection from ABTA, blog direct through an actual ABTA member. For more information see www.abtanet.com
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Protection – countermeasures
Only buy from a recognised firm. If you buy tickets from an advert in the local paper, or pay by credit card through the internet, you often have little protection and some people don’t get the tickets either.
If you want protection you should make sure that your travel company is an ABTA or ATOL member. That way you know there is a guarantee of some protection.