The Civil Aviation Authority web site reveals that in the last year 20 travel operators and airlines have gone bust. Listen to the news and it seems like one goes down almost every week. After one of them went a few months ago, some unfortunate souls rebooked on Kiss that collapsed just a couple of weeks ago. Someone might be telling them they shouldn't be going on holiday or at least that they should just be happy with a tent in Cornwall.
Although none of us have crystal balls and there's no way we can predict what's going to happen next week, there are precautions to take to ensure that your holiday doesn't turn into a nightmare.
Make sure your holiday is ATOL protected
ATOL (Air Travel Organiser's Licence) is a Civil Aviation Authority scheme that protects passengers and holiday makers against losing their money or being stranded abroad. It checks the tour operators and travel organisers it licenses and requires them to contribute to a fund that provides a financial guarantee if a business fails. So if there is a problem, the Civil Aviation Authority will fly you back. Only if you bought your holiday through a travel agent though. If you bought the components of your holiday individually, you've got problems.
Protect against airline failure
That's where insolvency protection from Protect My Holiday comes in. Protect My Holiday is backed by International Passenger Protection (IPP) and has partnered with World First to provide protection against airline failure for one-off premiums from £5. This covers you not just against the airline going bust but also a lot of the other components of your holiday such as hotels, youth hostels, car ferries or coach operators. The site also mentions Eurostar, Eurotunnel and theme parks such as Disneyland Paris. Can't see that going bust even though it is less popular than the very French Parc Astérix.
Pay by credit card
Any purchases made of more than £100 on your credit card are protected by your credit card company. However, this will only cover the company that administered the transaction and not necessarily the company that the the monies were passed on to. So for example, if you bought your holiday from Thomas Cook (other Tour Operators are available!) and the airline, let's call it Rush For The Sun Airways, when bust, you would not be covered for your return flight, you'd have to pay for that yourself.
The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA)
The Association of British Travel Agents requires its members to put in place a bond to protect them against failure the main aim of which is to refund customers who would otherwise lose the money they paid. Make sure your travel agent is a member.