With the rise in holidaymakers going abroad and an increasing need for security and reassurance for UK travellers, ATOL and ABTA protection are key parts of your holiday details.

One of the most common holiday types is the package holiday, offering flights + accommodation or flights + cruise all in one deal. Both ATOL and ABTA provide financial protection in the event of insolvency of either the agent or the Holiday Provider. 

That’s why a package holiday offers the greatest level of protection. No matter if you book your package holiday via a website, in person, or on the phone, they should all provide the same level of protection.

ATOL protects flight-inclusive holidays, while ABTA deals with the covering of rail, cruise and self-drive holidays. It’s always wise to check that your holiday provider is either ATOL or ABTA protected. Here are some frequently asked questions on ATOL and ABTA protection, and why it’s so important when you’re planning a holiday.

FAQs – ATOL Protection

What is ATOL protection?

ATOL protection is a UK financial protection scheme which covers most air package holidays sold by travel businesses which are based in the UK. The scheme also applies to some flight bookings.

What does ATOL mean?

ATOL stands for Air Travel Organiser’s Licence.

How does ATOL protection work?

UK and European Law requires travel businesses to financially protect their package holidays in the countries where they are established. In the UK, business provide their protection under the ATOL scheme, elsewhere in other European Member States,  they will be covered by their own schemes.

When you book a holiday which is covered by ATOL protection, you will receive an ATOL certificate. This is proof that your holiday or flight is covered by ATOL and what to do is your travel business collapses. It’s worth keeping this safe and taking it on holiday with you should you need it while away.

What does ATOL protection cover?

ATOL protection covers consumers who have booked holidays with a travel business which then ceases trading. It will support consumers currently abroad and provide refunds for the cost of replacing parts of an ATOL protected package.

ATOL covers the following packages:

  • Flights and accommodation (including a cruise)
  • Flights and car hire
  • Flights, accommodation and car hire

Who funds ATOL protection?

ATOL is run by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). All ATOL holders are required to pay a fee of £2.50 for each traveller, which is then held in a fund managed by the Air Travel Trust. This fund is used in scenarios for refunds, repatriate or reimburse travellers for the cost of repaying for the affected parts of their trip.

Is ATOL protection free?

ATOL protection is not free, the costs are charged to the ATOL holder at £2.50 per traveller. Holidaymakers are not required to cover this cost, it is the responsibility of the ATOL holder.

Is ATOL protection worth it?

ATOL protection is there to prevent consumers from losing money or becoming stranded abroad if the travel business you booked with collapses. If a business ceases trading while you are on holiday, ATOL protection provides support to minimise disruption. If it ceases trading prior to your holiday, ATOL protection issues a refund or replacement holiday.

How to claim ATOL protection?

There are a number of ways to claim on your ATOL protection, depending on your circumstances. If you are at home and yet to travel, you will need to complete a claim form which will require additional evidence. If you are currently abroad, you will need to call the ATOL Scheme using details on your ATOL certificate, who will then explain the situation and discuss your options.

Find out more about ATOL protection on their website here: www.caa.co.uk

Family holiday on the beach

FAQs – ABTA Protection

What is ABTA?

ABTA is a travel brand which offers guidance and advice to the travelling public, as well as supporting high service standards for health and safety and promoting responsible tourism at home and abroad.

What does ABTA mean?

ABTA means Association of British Travel Agents.

How does ABTA work?

All members of ABTA must abide by the ABTA Code of Conduct, which governs things such as accurate advertising, fair trading, changes to bookings and managing complaints.

More than 4,300 travel brands hold a membership with ABTA – including Cruise118.com – providing a wide range of leisure and business travel services. ABTA offers support, protection and expertise to its members, meaning you can have confidence in ABTA members as they abide by the ABTA Code of Conduct.

How does ABTA protect me?

ABTA members arrange a variety of experiences for holidaymakers, but sometimes things don’t go to plan. For those times, ABTA can help resolve your issues with an independent complaints resolution service and customer support.

Once your holiday is planned with an ABTA Member, you are safe in the knowledge that the ABTA Code of Conduct is there to ensure high standards. For package holidays which are sold within the European Economic Area (EEA), all ABTA members are financially protected in the event of a company failure. This means, in the unlikely event that a travel company goes out of business, there is a quick and simple process to follow to get your money back or continue your holiday as planned.

Who is protected by ABTA?

Any package holiday which is booked using a travel agent that is an ABTA Member is protected.

Why is ABTA important?

ABTA is important because it provides expert help and advice to holidaymakers. The expertise offered means that you are reassured during times which can often cause distress and upset. ABTA also helps you understand your right and can provide round-the-clock advice in a crisis.

Do I still need travel insurance if I’m covered by ABTA?

ABTA protection is not travel insurance. Even is a company is an ABTA member, you will still need to take out personal holiday insurance to ensure you are covered for personal effects, medical issues and delays.

What does ABTA bonded mean?

ABTA bonded is just another way of referring to an ABTA Member. Anyone who is an ABTA Member is ABTA bonded.

What is an ABTA number?

Each ABTA member is provided with a number to identify their credentials. This is usually displayed wherever you may see the ABTA logo. Cruise118.com’s ABTA number is L3743.

How do you become an ABTA member?

There are a number of memberships you can acquire with ABTA. These include travel agent, managed branches and tour operators. For each of these a risk assessment and financial criteria is outlined. You pay a joining fee and ABTA will verify your identity.

Find out more about ABTA protection on their website here: www.abta.com

At Cruise118.com, we are an ABTA member, so you are reassured in the knowledge that you will recieve the standard of service as outlined in the Code of Conduct. In addition, all flight-inclusive holidays on our website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. So you can relax, knowing that you’re protected financially, should anything happen.

Emma Smith
Emma has more than seven years' experience as a writer and has been in the travel industry for nearly five years. She loves learning about new places and cruise ships coming to market, as well as discovering fun and exciting activities to do while you sail. She has cruised with Princess Cruises, Cunard, Celebrity Cruises, Virgin Voyages, Avalon Waterways and Royal Caribbean and is looking to get something in her diary for 2024! Her favourite things to see on a ship include excellent entertainment, a delicious cocktail menu and extraordinary dining venues.

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