21 Nov

Response to the Government’s plans to launch independent review into airline consumer protections

The Government has today announced that it will launch a review into consumer protections when airlines fail.

Responding to the announcement, Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive said:

“An independent review into airline consumer protection is a welcome move by the government.

“ABTA has long-argued that consumer protection hasn’t kept pace with the changing ways in which people can book travel and that there is a need for greater clarity around consumer protection for businesses and consumers alike.

“The government needs to consider how rules around advertising of protection affect consumer perception. It is also important the review considers its activities in the context of the Package Travel Directive, which is due to come into force in July next year. 

“We are pleased the government is introducing an independent review and I look forward to working closely with the review body.”

How the current protection system works:

The ATOL scheme ensures that customers who buy flight-based packages or flight-plus arrangements will be repatriated or refunded if their package organiser fails.

Some flight-only sales are also currently protected, when sold through travel agents or intermediaries. However, it is unclear whether this protection will remain in place following implementation of the revised PTD.

ATOL protection does not apply to a company everything a company sells, it applies to a particular set of travel arrangements.

Companies must under current law advertise themselves as ATOL protected – even if only 5% of the travel arrangements they operate are protected by the scheme. This leads to consumers thinking their travel arrangement is protected when it isn’t.

If you book a travel arrangements under the current ATOL protection scheme you pay acontribution of £2.50 per person.