What is the difference between ABTA and ATOL and how do they protect your holiday? – The Sun | The Sun

HOLIDAYS are back and as Brits rush to bask in the sunshine, ABTA and ATOL protection comes into play.

The two are often seen on adverts for travel firms but what's the difference between the two?

What do ABTA and ATOL stand for?

The excitement of a holiday means we often get swept up in passport finding and day trip planning but checking your travel protection is essential.

Before booking, travellers should always check to see if their holiday provider is ABTA or ATOL protected.

ABTA stands for Association of British Travel Agents and s the largest travel association, enforcing standards and providing insurance if companies go bust.

A similar concept is ATOL which stands for Air Travel Organiser's Licence.

Firms can sell both ABTA and ATOL protected holidays and both are an overall protection scheme which your travel provider opts into on your behalf.

ABTA will also take your complaints and resolve issues if you are unable to speak to your travel provider for more that 28 days.

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What is the difference between ABTA and ATOL protection?

ATOL-protected holidays are package holidays that include flights, due to the organisation being air travel specific.

For example, Monarch Holidays customers were protected when the airline went bust in 2017 because they had booked flights and a holiday together through a provider with ATOL certification.

ABTA protection only covers holidays that involve rail, cruise or self-drive but not package breaks where flights are included.

This means that if a cruise holiday was mis-sold, for example, then ABTA would be able to help rather than ATOL – unless the cruise holiday was sold as a package break with a flight.

Most travel firms will have ABTA protection, those who also provide flights will usually opt for ATOL protection too.

If your holiday deal appears too good to be true, check the protection and if there is neither ABTA nor ATOL listed then avoid the offer.

What does being ABTA protected mean?

ABTA offers two forms of protection – legal and financial.

Their legal protection means the company must sure that you get the holiday you paid for.

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So if you're mis-sold a package holiday, you might be able to get an alternative holiday or a refund as compensation through ABTA.

For example, if you are not told that there is building work going on at the hotel and it disrupts your holiday, you could apply for compensation.

However, ABTA are not able to help with matters concerning the behaviour of other guests, weather conditions, or holidays from over 18 months ago.

Financial protection is if the package provider goes into administration.

Customers who have not yet gone on the booked holiday will get a refund, while Brits who are already abroad will be brought home through ABTA.

During the pandemic, some companies came under fire for their handling of refunds – offering rebooking or credit note options instead.

ABTA responded to this by saying this did not breach their guidelines as a refund credit note is a valid option from the provider.

What does an ATOL protected holiday mean?

ATOL protection applies to package holidays with flights only.

When an ATOL-certified travel company ceases trading, customers are protected for both their holiday and their flight.

If they are already on holiday, then they will be flown home through ATOL with repatriation flights.

For those still waiting to travel, a full refund or equivalent will be offered.

Brits should always take out travel insurance, however, to cover everything else on their trip.

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Declaring all medication and health problems is important otherwise it could make the protection void.

If your holiday goes wrong for any reason other than the company being unable to fulfil their end of the deal, your personal holiday insurance will cover this.

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