What protection do ABTA Members offer?

For holidays booked before 1 July 2018

All package and ‘flight-plus’ holidays that have been sold to you in the UK by ABTA Members are protected financially in the event of a company failure. This means that in the unlikely event your travel company goes out of business, there is a quick, clear and simple process for you to follow, so you’ll be able to continue your holiday as planned or get your money back.

Well-known financial protection schemes include ABTA’s own scheme as well as ATOL, which covers all flight-based packages and flight-plus holidays. Many ABTA Members also offer additional financial protection for services such as hotels or flights, which may not automatically be protected under another scheme. ABTA also protects many other types of package travel – including cruise holidays; coach, rail and self-drive packages.

If you book your holiday from outside the UK, this protection won’t apply unless the ABTA Member has opted to voluntarily protect your holiday with us, or unless a different scheme applies. You must enquire with your travel company to see whether your holiday is protected either voluntarily by the travel company, or under a different scheme.

Always ask your travel company about the type of financial protection it has in place.

In addition to financial protection, ABTA Members are also bound to comply with the ABTA Code of Conduct, which ensures high service standards and fair terms of trading. The Code requires all ABTA Members to provide you with information on insurance, visas, passports, health requirements and alterations to your travel arrangements. Some ABTA Members also protect other services such as accommodation-only sales, so when booking with an ABTA Member you should check this.

Booking with an ABTA Member also gives you recourse should you have a problem or complaint with your travel company – so you have recourse to ABTA and the assurance that even in the event of an unresolved complaint, you have the right to access independent dispute resolution.

For holidays booked before 1 July 2018, watch our video for more information:

For holidays booked after 1 July 2018

A package holiday has both financial and legal protection.

Legal protection means your travel company is responsible for making sure that you get the holiday you paid for. If something isn’t provided or isn’t as expected, and your travel company or its suppliers is at fault, they will need to sort this out for you – either resolving the issue, offering an alternative or providing a full or partial refund. In some instances you may be able to claim compensation.

Financial protection means that if the company you have booked with goes out of business, you will receive a refund if you are yet to travel, or be brought home if you are already on holiday and your package includes return transport.

All package holidays booked with an ABTA member are financially protected.

If you book your holiday from outside the EEA, this protection won’t apply unless the ABTA Member has opted to voluntarily protect your holiday with us, or unless a different scheme applies. You must enquire with your travel company to see whether your holiday is protected either voluntarily by the travel company, or under a different scheme.

Additionally some ABTA Members protect other services such as accommodation-only sales, so when booking with an ABTA Member you should check this.

If your package holiday includes a flight, you should be provided with an ATOL Certificate as soon as you have paid for your holiday.
If the package doesn't include a flight, you won’t receive an ATOL Certificate or ATOL confirmation, but you should receive a confirmation (likely via email) which shares the details of the company you booked through, the amount paid for the package and how your money is protected. ABTA is the largest provider of non-flight package protection in the UK.

A linked travel arrangement is not a package and doesn’t offer the same protection as a package. A linked travel arrangement only has financial protection – and this is at a lower level than if you bought a package holiday. The financial protection covers if the company that arranged it goes out of business, but only in respect of any money that company is holding; not if the actual travel service provider goes out of business, unless that company itself was the one that arranged the linked travel arrangement. 

As there is no legal protection, under a linked travel arrangement, any complaints about the provision of the services must be directed to the service providers themselves.

  • Financial protection