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Along with the raft of airlines which have collapsed over the previous 12 months, we hear of yet another tour operator which has gone the same way. The UK’s third largest holiday group, XL Leisure ceased trading earlier this month, with the loss of 2000 jobs and countless holiday plans ruined. It is anticipated that more companies in the travel industry will follow, so what are your rights and remedies if either the tour operator or the airline you’ve used to book your precious annual holiday goes into meltdown?

As What Consumer’s Catriona Bright explained; ‘The answer to this depends on what you have booked and the way in which you booked it. If you booked flights and hotels as a ‘package’ through a tour operator, then you are covered by the consumer protection scheme, ATOL. This means that if the hotel, the airline or even the tour operator itself goes bust or any link in the chain fails, you will be provided with an alternative, get a refund, or, if you are in the middle of your trip you will be able to continue to enjoy your holiday.’

‘If you have booked flights separately, you will be covered only if you have done so via a travel agent, and haven’t received your ticket within 24 hours of booking’ – strange rule, but there you are!

But if, like many do, you have booked your flight directly from the airline, you won’t be protected at all. Just as many were left stranded or out of pocket by the recent collapse of budget airline Zoom.

‘Although some were able to claim a refund via their credit card provider’, Bright continues, ‘most were under the impression they could make a claim on their travel insurance and were disappointed to find they didn’t have insolvency cover.’

Insolvency aside, there are additional benefits to booking through a tour operator if the holiday turns out to be a disappointment. Under the Package Holiday Regulations, you are now able to claim compensation from the tour operator in the event that something went wrong, was not as described or was not stated, which led to additional expense, disappointment, or distress. This means any problem with the flight, the hotel or the excursions, even if it could not have been the fault of the tour operator directly. It also includes situations whereby the reality was not what was depicted or described in the brochure or on the web.

About What Consumer

What Consumer is a leading UK consumer advice website and aims to empower and protect consumers against unscrupulous suppliers. The site was established to convince the public at large that knowing your basic statutory rights isn’t ‘rocket science’ and can come in extremely handy. It also provides interactive features providing consumers with the opportunity to support each other as well as engaging with consumer experts.

Catriona Bright
What Consumer Founder
Email: catriona@whatconsumer.co.uk

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