What is ATOL protection?
By law, every UK travel company which sells air holidays or flights is required to hold an Air Travel Organiser's Licence (ATOL). If an ATOL-protected travel company ceases trading, the licence will protect customers who have booked holidays with the firm. It ensures they do not get stranded abroad or lose money. The protection is designed to reassure consumers that their money is safe, and will provide assistance in the event of a travel company failure.
How is ATOL funded?
ATOL is run by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and funded by contributions from travel companies. Each member company pays £2.50 into the scheme for each person they book on a holiday. This money creates a fund that is used by the CAA to ensure consumers either complete their holiday or - if they cannot get away - receive a full refund.
How to check if a travel company is ATOL-registered?
Only ATOL members are able to display the ATOL logo on their adverts, brochures, and websites. You should always check a company's ATOL registration by conducting an ATOL search. Simply visit the Civil Aviation Authority website and type in your travel provider's details to complete your ATOL check. Even if your travel provider says that they are ATOL-registered, it is worth completing a search as it will help you to identify whether it is genuine. Companies masquerading as being ATOL-registered when they are not is not only an offence, it also means you are not covered if that company goes bust.