Travellers are being urged to use the credit notes issued for travel disruption due to Covid by 30 September or risk losing crucial protection rights. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the regulator for aviation in the UK, has warned it will withdraw ATOL protection after that date, which means you won't be protected if your travel provider goes out of business.
The CAA estimates there is £85m worth of credit notes issued between 10 March 2020 and 19 December 2021 as a direct result of cancellations and rearrangements because of Covid.
What happens if I don't use my travel credit note before the deadline?
The individual credit notes issued to travellers and holidaymakers will be subject to the terms and conditions of the travel company. Generally, they will have their own expiry date and, if that date falls after 30 September 2022, you will still be able to use them. However, you will not be given financial protection by the regulator if the travel company goes out of business and so could risk losing some or all of your money if that does happen.
The financial protection provided by the Air Travel Organiser's Licence (ATOL), means you will be refunded if your travel provider stops trading before you travel. Importantly, if they go bust while you are abroad, ATOL protection means alternative return flights will be arranged, you will be able to stay in your holiday accommodation, if possible, and you will be reimbursed for money spent replacing other ATOL-protected elements of your break, such as car hire.
How can I redeem my travel credit note?
If you book a new trip using your credit note before midnight on 30 September 2022, either for travel before or after that date, you will retain ATOL protection. It is worth noting, however, that is only the case if the new holiday also qualifies for ATOL protection.
The alternative is to ask the travel provider who issued the credit note for a cash refund before midnight on 30 September 2022. However, whether you can get a full cash refund and how that is issued will be governed by the terms and conditions of that specific provider.
For more information on Covid travel, read our comprehensive guide to the UK's Covid travel restrictions. To see if you can protect yourself from travel disruption due to Covid in the future, read "Does travel insurance cover Covid?" and "The best travel insurance with Covid cover".