12 MARCH 2012

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Article from BTNews 12 MARCH 2012

Consumer Protection ATOL reforms and the airline industry

BAR UK (The Board of Airline Representation UK) has put out a statement concerning the Air Travel Organisers Licence (ATOL) reform, which is under way in Parliament.  It has been in use since the 1970s, when traditional ‘package holidays’ formed the great majority of holidays purchased.

Since those days, the way that leisure travel is presented and purchased has changed beyond recognition.  The internet has been a great enabler to self-book ’dynamic-packaged’ holidays, part through a travel agency and part independently, as well as a host of other variations.

In practice, because of the complexity of arrangements that now exist, a lot of uncertainty exists with consumers as to whether or not they actually do enjoy ATOL protection.  BAR UK says that with the proposed reforms consumers could be worse off.  It advocates that only traditionally-packaged holidays should be subject to mandatory ATOL protection, and that consumers must be told that any other type of holiday purchase is NOT covered.  This stance is at odds with other members of the travel industry, but all admit that the reforms are far from perfect. www.bar-uk.org/consultations/consultations.htm

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