How to check for protection
There are a number of ways you can check to see if your holiday is ATOL protected before you book.
- Check the information on the booking – most travel companies will advertise if the holiday is ATOL protected in the details of the booking.
- Speak to your travel agent – whether you are booking direct with the travel company or through an agent, they will be able to tell you if your holiday is ATOL protected.
- Look for the ATOL logo on the travel company’s website, shop window or brochure – ATOL holders should display the ATOL logo along with their unique four or five-digit ATOL number.
- Search for the travel company on our database – you can search via the name or ATOL number for the company to confirm they are a legitimate ATOL holder.
According to UK and European law, package holidays must receive financial protection. In the UK, that protection is the Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing scheme (ATOL). Travel businesses based in the UK must be ATOL holders to sell package holidays.
Because travel agents often sell holidays on behalf of other companies, you may need to check which company originally created your package holiday to see whether they are an ATOL holder.
ATOL protects some flight-only bookings, though this should be made very clear before you book. Your flights will be ATOL protected if the following applies:
- You are sent an ATOL certificate after booking
- You do not receive a valid flight ticket in exchange for payment
Accommodation-only bookings are not ATOL protected. However, the travel company you are booking with may be a member of other organisations, meaning you be entitled to other forms of protection. Take a look at the travel company’s website to see which organisations they are members of before booking.
False ATOL protection claims
We are aware that some companies will claim to be ATOL holders or that their holidays are ATOL protected in an attempt to seem like legitimate travel companies. While we will do everything we can to take action against these companies, it is still important that you remain vigilant when looking for your next trip.
Booking package holidays that are not ATOL protected means you are at risk of losing your money.
Genuine ATOL holders will display their unique logo, their unique ATOL number and can be verified on our database.
- The ATOL Protected logo is shown without a number
- The ATOL number listed does not appear on the Check an ATOL facility or refers to another travel company
- The travel company says they are owned by another ATOL holder but their name is not listed on our database as a registered trading name on the ATOL holder’s record
- Very cheap flight or holidays prices are quoted
- The online enquiry or booking facility doesn’t work
- No postal address is shown on the website;
- Although credit and/or debit card logos are shown on the website there is no online payment facility, and consumers are asked to pay by bank transfer;
- You’re asked to make a deposit payment only but are then offered a better deal later providing that you pay in full;
- After an initial payment is made, the consumer is told the booking cost has increased;
- You receive a document or e-mail referring to a reservation but which are not been issued by the airline or airline/s concerned.
Don’t be fooled by a website address ending .co.uk or a contact telephone number which has a UK dialling code – both of these can be operated from outside of the UK;
Websites to be aware of
We have been made aware that the following websites have falsely claimed to hold an ATOL or that holidays are ATOL protected when no such protection applies (as at June 2019)