Failure of STA Travel Ltd
STA Travel Ltd – ATOL 3206 – ceased trading on 21 August 2020.
The following information applies only to ATOL protected consumers. ATOL protected consumers are those that booked:
ATOL protected flight inclusive packages protected by STA Travel
Your ATOL Certificate will say either ’Package Single Contract’ or ‘Package Multi-Contract’ in the bottom right hand corner. STA Travel’s ATOL number 3206 will also be shown in the box to the left of this.
ATOL protected Flight-Only bookings
We understand that STA Travel sold a small number of ATOL protected flights, but mostly it sold flights under its IATA licence and as agent for the airline operating the flight. These flights are not ATOL protected
Only a small number of the flights sold by STA Travel were ATOL protected and these were typically for flights secured with just a deposit (rather than payment of the full cost of the flight). Unprotected flights were typically those where full payment was made at the time of booking and a ticket was issued straightaway.
The best way to determine if your flight was ATOL protected is to check your paperwork. If you booked an ATOL protected flight you should have an ATOL Certificate which says ‘Flight-Only’ in the bottom right hand corner. STA Travel’s ATOL number 3206 will also be shown in the box to the left of this.
ATOL protected packages currently abroad
If you are overseas and you booked an ATOL protected package holiday or an ATOL protected flight with STA Travel your flights will still be valid, but our advice is that you check with your airline.
If you booked an ATOL protected package and are asked to pay again for any part of your package such as your accommodation or tour, make sure you get a receipt as you will need this to make a claim.
ATOL bookings departing after 21 August 2020
If you booked an ATOL protected flight (see above for guidance on how to tell if your flight was ATOL protected).
If you are holding flight tickets, your flight booking will not be affected, and you can travel as planned. You cannot make an ATOL claim. If you need to change your flight, or your flight is cancelled please speak to the airline.
If you have not been issued with flight tickets, including an e-ticket (we advise you check this with the airline), you can make an ATOL claim (subject to how you originally paid).
If you booked an ATOL protected flight inclusive package protected by STA Travel.
If flight tickets have been issued these should still be valid. If you still wish to travel, please check with the airline. If your flights are valid you have two options:
Option 1. You can choose not to travel and make a claim (depending upon your original method of payment). This option also applies if flight tickets have not been issued or the airline confirms that your flights are no longer valid.
Option 2. You can still use your flight, but it is likely that the other components of your package have been cancelled, so you will need to rebook these and pay the supplier(s) directly. To avoid any issues, make sure you know the costs involved before you travel. Please note that your ATOL claim cannot exceed the cost of your package. If you have to book alternatives because your original travel services are not available, or exceed the cost of your package, make sure you book ‘like for like’ replacements. You can find out more about your ATOL claim entitlements by reading Clause 1.19.11 of the ATT Payment Policy.
Think very carefully before you choose option 2 and check the cancellation terms with the suppliers particularly considering the prevailing short notice travel restrictions and/or quarantine measures.
If you paid STA Travel using a credit card, please also check with your credit card company if you choose to follow Option 2.
ATOL protected bookings that were cancelled and refund credit notes
If your ATOL booking was cancelled on or after 10th March 2020 due to Covid-19 and STA Travel gave you an ATOL Covid-19 Voucher – they may have called it a ‘Refund Credit Note’ or provided written confirmation that you are owed a refund, you may make a claim (subject to how you originally paid).
Please note that we can only accept claims for cancelled ATOL bookings. Unfortunately, this means that if you booked an unprotected flight (see above ‘An ATOL protected Flight-Only booking’) you cannot make an ATOL claim and need to speak to the airline.
Important note if you paid STA Travel (in full or in part) by credit card
If you paid STA Travel Ltd by credit card you cannot make an ATOL claim for your credit card payments and need to claim these from your credit card company.
You should also make a claim to your credit card company for your credit card payments if STA Travel cancelled your ATOL protected booking as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic and issued you with an ATOL Covid-19 Voucher – they may have called it a ‘Refund Credit Note’ or provided written confirmation that you are owed a refund.
If you paid STA Travel by means other than credit card
You can claim the payments you made by other means e.g. by cash, bank transfers or debit card from the CAA under the ATOL scheme.
Bookings not protected under ATOL
Unprotected flight bookings
Most of the flights sold by STA Travel were not ATOL protected as they were sold under STA Travel’s IATA licence or STA Travel acted as agent for the airline operating the flight.
Consumers that booked unprotected flights will have paid in full at the time of booking and received a ticket straightaway.
If you booked an unprotected flight you should contact the airline directly.
Bookings made through STA Travel Ltd with another tour operator
STA Travel also sold other ATOL holders’ package holidays. These will NOT be affected by STA Travel’s failure. You need to contact the tour operator named on your paperwork or ATOL Certificate (listed on your ATOL certificate under “Who is protecting your trip”)
If you booked corporate travel with STA Travel Limited, these were sold under a general agreement and there was no requirement to financially protect these sales. Customers should contact the provider of the travel service such as the airline regarding their booking.
If you booked through a travel agent and not directly with STA Travel Ltd please speak to your travel agent first for advice.
If you booked a non-flight package holiday (e.g. a cruise/tour without flights) through STA Travel Limited, it is protected by ABTA. Further information and advice on how to claim is available on the ABTA website
STA also operated as separate companies in a number of countries worldwide. Customers that booked with STA Travel businesses outside the UK will need to establish what protection may be available in the jurisdiction that those companies are based.
The UK CAA has the power to prosecute offences related to its statutory functions. Person(s) who make fraudulent ATOL claims, following the failure of an ATOL holder, may be prosecuted by the UK CAA for offences under section 1 of the Fraud Act 2006. The maximum sentence for this offence is 10 years’ imprisonment.