21 Aug

STA Travel Limited ceases trading – advice for customers

Please note the ABTA claims period for this failure has now closed and no further claims can be accepted.

ABTA – V1958 & 99209 – ATOL 3206 – IATA

We are sorry to inform you that STA Travel Limited trading as Bridge the World Travel ceased trading on 21 August 2020. STA Travel Limited traded from 50 locations around the UK.

The information below sets out specific advice for customers to follow depending on what holiday and travel arrangements you have booked and how you paid for them.

The majority of holidays sold by STA Travel Limited were flight-based package holidays and these were protected by the CAA’s ATOL scheme.

It also sold airline tickets under its IATA licence and as agent for various airlines.

It also sold some package holidays which did not include flights and these were protected by ABTA.

And it sold holidays as an travel agent for other travel companies. 

Bookings made through STA Travel Limited with another travel company

If you booked a package holiday OR a single travel service, such as accommodation only, through STA Travel Limited and the holiday OR travel service is provided by another travel company – the name of the travel company will be on your documents/paperwork – you will need to contact that travel company.

If you have booked a flight as part of your package holiday, you should have received an ATOL Certificate with your documents/paperwork.

The travel company with whom STA Travel Limited booked your holiday with, will be very clearly named on your documents/paperwork or on the ATOL Certificate (listed on your ATOL Certificate under “Who is protecting your trip”).

The travel company named on your documents should be able to confirm that your booking will proceed as normal.

Package holidays with flights included

If your booking included flights and was not with another tour operator, you will need to contact the CAA as your booking is protected by the CAA’s ATOL scheme. Further information and advice on how to claim is available on the CAA’s website.

Your ATOL Certificate will say ’Package Sale’ in the bottom right hand corner.

Flight only (scheduled airline tickets)

If you booked a flight only with STA Travel Limited with a scheduled airline, you will need to contact the airline about your booking. The airline is responsible for your booking and this should proceed as normal. 

Customers in receipt of a Refund Credit Note for a cancelled flight due to COVID-19 will need to contact the airline to either make a new booking for a later date or to claim a refund with the airline concerned. 

See our Questions and answers section at the bottom of this page for further information.


Corporate sales

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. 


Non-flight packages - a holiday that doesn't include a flight

If you booked through a travel agent and not directly with STA Travel Limited please speak to your travel agent first for advice.

If you booked a non-flight package holiday (eg a cruise without flights) through STA Travel Limited, it is protected by ABTA or by your credit or debit card issuer.

If you paid STA Travel Limited directly using a debit or credit card you will need to submit your claim for a refund to your card issuer. To assist you in making your claim you will need to download a letter below. 

These letters should not be used if you booked via a travel agent and not directly with STA Travel Limited.

Customers that paid STA Travel Limited by any other method or booked through a travel agent will need to submit a claim by clicking here. You will need to have all of your booking information and documents to hand when submitting your claim. 

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 was based.

Customers requiring further assistance can contact 0330 135 9658 or sta@claims.abta.co.uk. Please note that we will answer calls and answer emails as quickly as possible but call waiting times may be significant during the current crisis. Please only call if you have already followed all the advice issued above.

Questions and answers

What should you do if you purchased an airline ticket but not as part of a package holiday?

If you have received your ticket, you should still be able to use it but you should confirm this with your airline. 

If you have not received your ticket or you were waiting for a refund on a cancelled ticket you should check your documentation. STA Travel Limited sold airline tickets in one of three ways: 

  1. Under its ATOL license. If you are ATOL protected you will have an ATOL certificate and should contact the CAA.
  2. As an IATA (International Air Transport Association) agent.
  3. As an “agent for the airline”.

In the case of both points 2 and 3 above, STA acted as an agent and your contract is with the airline. It is the airline’s responsibility to provide you with the flight, or refund you. 

Contract law and agency law dictate that the airline is responsible to you, if you have paid STA as its agent. The airline should refund you even if it has already refunded STA. 

The airline may try and refer you back to ABTA – this is not correct. 

If the airline is refusing to help, you can contact the CAA, which regulates airlines in the UK, for further assistance. 

My travel arrangements were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and STA issued me with a Refund Credit Note (RCN) rather than a refund. Who is responsible to refund me?

Your RCN should clearly indicate how you are protected. If your booking was ATOL protected, you should also have an ATOL certificate and you should claim through the CAA.

If you were booked on a non-ATOL protected flight only, you should contact your airline.

For any other forms of RCNs, please contact us on 0330 135 9658 or sta@claims.abta.co.uk.

I was told I would get a Refund Credit Note, but I never received one, what should I do?

You should use the documentation you did receive to submit a claim by following the advice given above.

I paid a deposit to STA Travel, how do I get it back?

Whether a customer has paid a deposit, part payment or full payment, the claims process is the same for each. So put quite simply if the customer has made any payment deposit or more, the advice that we have issued on the claims process remains the same.

How long will it take to process my claim?

Unfortunately there has been a large number of company failures recently and we have received an exceptionally high number of customer claims. We are processing individual claims as quickly as possible, and have employed additional personnel to help with this. 

Please be aware that we are currently estimating that claims can take up to six months to be processed – this is not usually the case, it is simply down to the volume of claims that have been submitted. 

When you submit your claim, please ensure you send through all the paperwork, receipts and any other documentation that supports your claim. This will mean we won’t have to contact you for further information, which takes additional time. 

Once you’ve submitted your claim, we would kindly ask that only essential additional communications are made to us in regard to your claim. We are receiving many hundreds of emails and calls each week with general enquiries and this severely impacts the time it takes to process claims and may lead to longer processing times.