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FAQs


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  • What is ATOL?

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  • ATOL protects you when you book a holiday with most travel companies in the UK. It ensures you do not lose money or become stranded abroad if your travel company collapses. ATOL is backed by the UK Government.


  • What are the benefits of ATOL protection?

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  • ATOL protects you when you book a holiday with a UK travel company. It ensures that you don’t lose the money you paid out or become stranded abroad if your travel company collapses. 

    If an ATOL protected travel company ceases trading, the scheme protects customers who have booked holidays with the firm. It ensures that you don’t get stranded abroad or lose your money. So you can relax and look forward to your break with total peace of mind.


  • What situations does ATOL cover?

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  • ATOL protection applies to virtually any overseas air holiday booked with a UK travel company. The law says your holiday must be protected if you book a holiday with a travel company that includes: 

    • flights and accommodation (including a cruise), or

    • flights and car hire, or

    • flights, accommodation and car hire.

    If you’re booking parts of your holiday separately, you’ll need to book them within a day of each other to receive ATOL protection. The scheme also applies when:

    • You book flights but do not receive your tickets immediately. This is most common with charter flights, but can also apply to discounted scheduled flights. Please note that ATOL does not apply to holidays or flights booked direct with airlines.

    • Your holiday involves at least one flight to or from the UK. For instance, a fly/cruise break where you travel out by ship and fly home, or a holiday in France where you travel out by Eurostar but fly home.


  • How can I tell if my holiday is covered by ATOL?

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  • Overseas air holidays booked with UK travel companies must be protected. There are several ways to check: Look before you book. Check for the ATOL logo on travel company websites, brochures and advertisements. If you’re not sure, ask your travel company or agent to tell you about ATOL protection. Use our ATOL search. This allows you to check that the travel company you’re booking with is backed by ATOL.

    Make sure you’re given an ATOL certificate.
    The law says you should be given a certificate to show you are covered as soon as you have booked and paid any money towards a holiday or flight. See a sample ATOL certificate. If you book with a company whose holidays are not covered by ATOL then you won’t receive ATOL protection.


  • I’ve been given an ATOL certificate. What is it for?

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  • Your ATOL certificate is proof that the holiday you have booked is protected by ATOL. It explains what protection you have and what to do if your travel company collapses. See a sample ATOL certificate. Keep it somewhere safe and make sure you keep it handy on holiday, so you know how to make an ATOL claim if you need to.


  • What should I do if I don’t receive an ATOL certificate but think I should have?

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  • We’re confident that the travel industry has implemented procedures and systems to issue ATOL certificates as required by law. ATOL Certificates were introduced from October 2012. If you booked after this date and did not receive a certificate and believe you should have done, first contact your travel company. If you’re unhappy with their response, please email Consumer Advice or call 020 7453 6700.


  • Should I book a holiday if the travel company can’t give me an ATOL certificate?

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  • UK travel companies selling in the UK are legally required to provide an ATOL certificate immediately after any money is taken for a protected booking. The vast majority of travel companies do this. However, always check you will be given an ATOL certificate before you book. It’s your guarantee of protection. If your travel company says they can’t provide one, ask why and consider your options carefully before proceeding, because you will be booking at your own risk.


  • What happens if my travel company fails, but I don't have an ATOL certificate?

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  • Travel companies have been legally required to issue ATOL certificates since 1 October 2012. If you booked an ATOL protected holiday after that date, it’s your best guarantee of protection. Having said that, we will consider all claims on a case-by-case basis.


  • My ATOL certificate says ‘Flight-Plus’ on it. What does this mean?

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  • A Flight-Plus holiday is one where you have booked your flights and accommodation with the same travel company, but not as a package holiday. For instance, you request your travel agent to book flights and a hotel for you at the same time or within a day of each other..

    You still have the same ATOL protection if the travel company you booked with fails, and in some cases you may be able to continue with your travel arrangements. If one of the suppliers they have used fails, the travel company must make alternative arrangements for you.


  • My travel company has charged me for ATOL protection. Why is this?

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  • ATOL is funded by travel companies, which are required to pay a £2.50 ATOL Protection Contribution (APC) per traveller into a central ATOL fund. This money is used to allow holidaymakers to complete their holidays or issue refunds should a travel company collapse. This charge is not an insurance premium – the law requires travel companies to pay it, not holidaymakers. However, some travel companies choose to highlight the ATOL scheme cost by showing it separately on receipts and invoices.

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