Celebrating 50 Years of ATOL Protection

  • By Tammy van der Westhuizen
  • Published 23 June 2023
  • Revised 10 July 2023
Celebrating 50 Years of ATOL Protection
  • By Tammy van der Westhuizen
  • Published 23 June 2023
  • Revised 10 July 2023
Celebrating 50 Years of ATOL Protection
  • By Tammy van der Westhuizen
  • Published 23 June 2023
  • Revised 10 July 2023

In the ever-evolving world of travel, one organisation has stood the test of time, ensuring peace of mind for millions of globetrotters around the globe. This year marks a significant milestone for ATOL as it celebrates its 50th year in operation. 

To honour this momentous occasion, we are reflecting upon the invaluable protection ATOL has provided travellers over the past half-century. What's more, we want to highlight why this comprehensive cover should be your trusted travel companion for years yet to come...

ATOL’s 50th Anniversary: Memorable Moments

ATOL, which stands for Air Travel Organiser’s Licence, opened its doors in the summer of 1973 and has since protected millions of UK jet-setters on their international travels. To date, over 1.7 million claims have been settled, along with repatriating more than 240,000 stranded travellers since 2000. 

From Clarkson’s Travel Company’s collapse in 1974 to Thomas Cook’s sudden shutdown in 2019, ATOL has overseen numerous airline closures and helped ATOL-protected consumers return home. In fact, ATOL was responsible for the largest-ever peacetime repatriation, returning 110,000 Monarch passengers after the company folded in 2017.

What exactly does ATOL protect?

Despite hearing about ATOL "protection" and its usage during times of travel crisis, we appreciate you may still have questions about exactly what its coverage encompasses.  In essence, ATOL is a scheme that provides financial and transport protection to UK holidaymakers should their travel company go bust. However, you must book a packaged holiday inclusive of flights through an ATOL-protected company to ensure you receive this benefit.

In practice, ATOL protection ensures that if the travel company you’ve booked with ceases to trade before your holiday commences, you will be refunded the cost. 

If you are abroad during the unfortunate event that your travel company terminates business, ATOL will reimburse you any money spent on ATOL-protected replacements (such as car hire and transfers), guarantee a return flight at no extra cost, and in some cases, assist you with organising holiday accommodation. 

How to check your holiday is ATOL-protected

When a travel company holds an ATOL license, it means they have met the requirements set by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). These requirements include financial checks, ensuring adequate insurance is in place, and meeting specific standards of customer service. By complying with these regulations, ATOL holders offer financial protection to their customers. 

Travel companies that offer ATOL-protected services are required to display the ATOL logo and provide an ATOL certificate to customers upon booking. To further check if a travel company is ATOL protected, you can search for a company on the CAA website.

You’ll receive an ATOL certificate upon making your first deposit, leaving you protected from the get-go. This certificate contains further information about what is covered, the ATOL holder's details, the travel company’s name and ATOL number, and who to contact in case of any issues.

Once you receive your ATOL certificate, we recommend checking all information is correct. If you amend your booking by changing the dates or if you’ve spotted an error in the documentation, you should receive a new ATOL certificate. It’s worth noting your Unique Reference Number on the form, as you’ll have to quote this when making a claim.

ATOL and ABTA - What’s the Difference?

ATOL and ABTA are both important when it comes to protecting your travel plans, but they cover different aspects. Let's break it down:

Whilst ATOL protects your holiday cost and airline issues, ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) ensures the  offers protection for non-flight-based holidays. 

When you're booking a holiday, it's a good idea to look for either the ATOL or ABTA logos. This way, you know that your money is protected and you're dealing with a reputable company that has your best interests in mind.

ATOL and travel insurance - What’s the difference?

Though very similar, ATOL and travel insurance cover different aspects of travel. The main distinction is that travel insurance covers a broader range of events aside from ATOL’s financial and flight protection.

Typical travel insurance policies cover medical expenses if you get sick or injured while travelling, lost or stolen belongings, and trip cancellations and interruptions. You can view our recommended list of travel insurance suppliers here.

In summary, it is best to cover all of your bases in the event of an emergency by pairing ATOL with travel insurance coverage. This way, you'll get to enjoy your holiday to the fullest knowing that even if the worst should happen, you will be taken care of.  

How to make an ATOL claim

To make a claim, locate your ATOL certificate to find instructions on how to proceed. If you’re yet to travel, you’ll be refunded the holiday cost upon providing proof of payment to your ATOL-protected travel company.

However, if you’re on holiday, you’ll need to visit ATOL Failures webpage for information on how your claim can be processed. Please keep all your receipts from any ATOL-protected replacement costs, such as car hire or transfers, so that ATOL can reimburse you for these, too.

Are you ready to holiday with confidence?

For the millions of ATOL-protected consumers that have benefited from this scheme, it’s hard to deny the extent that ATOL has safeguarded travel dreams for the last fifty years. What's more, Ocean Florida customers have both ATOL and TTA protection. This means that in the event of your travel company going out of business, TTA insurance kicks in, and your holiday can continue as planned, with each passenger insured for up to £11,000. 

Discover our latest holiday deals to travel with complete peace of mind.

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