Following the collapse of Zoom a survey by Thomson Holidays found that over 90% of holidaymakers said that having their holiday financially protected was important to them but also found that consumers were confused with over 50% of holidaymakers still wrongly believing that booking a scheduled flight directly with an airline meant they were financially protected in the event of bankruptcy.
Today’s tough economic climate has increased consumer awareness of the importance of ensuring their money is financially protected. For many consumers it is essential to know that money paid up front for goods will be protected and will not be lost if a company goes bankrupt.
Currently the reassurance of financial protection is only available to customers who choose to travel on a package holiday with an ATOL bonded company such as Thomson Holidays. A customer who books a scheduled flight direct with an airline is not given the same financial protection.
Despite a Government commitment to encourage scheduled airlines to communicate flight only bookings are not protected by the ATOL scheme, over 50% of passengers wrongly believed that having paid upfront for their flights in good faith, their money would be protected if the airline went bankrupt.
Thomson’s Commercial Director, David Burling, commented, “The collapse of Zoom highlights that it is time the Government puts in place a proper system of financial protection for its citizens. The EU wants all consumers to be protected whilst on holiday; however only approximately a third of UK holiday makers travel on a package which is financially protected, which means continued lack of Government action leaves the remaining two thirds at risk. Until action is taken, the only sure way for UK citizens to holiday knowing their money is financially protected is to travel on an ATOL bonded package holiday.”
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Over 1000 TUI Travel UK customers were questioned.
The Package Travel Directive requires tour operators to provide security and repatriation only on a traditional package and anyone who has purchased flights via a dynamic package or as a ‘seat-only’ will not be protected in the same way. The rise of low-cost carriers, combined with the growing willingness of consumers to buy online and in component form has increased the number of travellers stranded without assistance in the event of natural disasters, emergencies or business failure.
Customers on a package holiday will be protected under the ATOL scheme. ATOL is the UK’s only licensing scheme for travel companies selling air holidays, protecting over 26 million people each year from losing money or being stranded abroad if their travel company goes bankrupt. Companies are also responsible for all aspects of the holiday under the scheme, so if one element goes wrong, the company must make alternative arrangements or provide compensation to holidaymakers.
Flights and accommodation booked together as a package with a single travel company are protected by the ATOL scheme. This means consumers will receive full financial protection should their holiday firm fail, or be brought home by the CAA. If the holiday components are bought separately from different suppliers, consumers will not get this cover. For example, if an airline or accommodation agent ceases trading before consumers travel, they are likely to be forced to buy a more expensive alternative. If they cannot purchase new flights, they will be unable to claim back money already paid for the unused components of the holiday, such as hotels and car hire. In addition, those already abroad will be unable to travel home and will have to purchase new tickets, and these will be often more expensive.
Should an airline go bankrupt these customers would stand very little chance of getting their money back because the government has ignored advice given by the transport select committee in 2004 and 2006 that to protect customers against airline bankruptcy, all flights should be covered by the Air Travel Trust Fund.
Earlier this year the government finally implemented the £1 per passenger ATOL protection contribution that will be used to pay any repatriation and refunds from the Air Travel Trust Fund for customers of any failed tour operators. Thomson Holidays strongly believes that the scheme should have been widened to include scheduled flights.
This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of TUI UK in the following categories: Leisure & Hobbies, Travel, Transport & Logistics, for more information visit https://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.