Protection for passengers who book on line is agreed

Borders MP Michael Moore has welcomed the Government’s announcement that it is to reform the Air Travel Organisers’ License (ATOL) and extend the protection for passengers caught out in the event of a travel company collapse.

The ATOL scheme currently covers package holidays arranged by tour operators, now the new extended scheme will also protect customers who book holiday packages online. In other cases, where a travel agent has arranged a holiday for a customer which is outside of ATOL, the Government is looking into the use of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 to ensure that customers are properly informed that the holiday is not covered.

Mr Moore said: “I know that a number of my constituents have lost money when they booked their package holiday on line and the travel firm went bust, so I welcome the Government’s move to improve passenger rights by extending ATOL protection to this group.

“The ATOL fund will be paid for by a £2.50 contribution per holiday booked and these funds will then be used to compensate customers if they lose their holiday. I believe this is a fair and much-needed move which offers protection and peace of mind to holiday makers in the Borders and across the UK.”

The coalition Government continued the previous Government’s reforms to the ATOL scheme. Consultation on the details of the proposals is planned for the spring, with implementation likely to be in late 2011 or early 2012.

Holidays that include various elements that look similar to package holidays are targeted in the reforms; where travel agents book individual aspects of a trip acting as an “agent for the customer” still remain outside of ATOL, and the aim is for customers to be made fully aware of this.