The news of Thomas Cook’s collapse was sudden and shocking. Most shocking for those with holidays booked, or for those potentially stranded overseas on their trip.
Whilst things unfold, in the aftermath tens of thousands have been airlifted home and many, many more are attempting to secure refunds on their holidays.
As a nation of holidaymakers calms down and carries on, we take a moment to consider what lessons we can all learn from the Thomas Cook Affair.
ATOL and ABTA – are well worth checking for.
The Air Travel Organisers Licence (ATOL)was setup in 1973 to protect holiday makers from precisely this kind of crisis.
During the last few weeks, over 600,000 people have received assistance from ATOL.
Whilst ATOL was originally designed to cover flight-based trips, Package Travel regulations apply to other holiday packages and cruises, provided they are booked through ABTA registered agents.
Both Villa Retreats Wildfoot Travel are ATOL registered and both are registered members of ABTA (Association OF British Travel Agents). We strongly believe in the value, their protection offers.
Beware Foreign Imposters
Many foreign travel websites give the impression that they are based in the UK. But check very, very carefully. ATOL protection is only applicable to flights or packages booked with UK based travel firms.
By law travel companies must publish their ATOL number. You can check this number on the Civil Aviation Authority Website.
Booking with agents or airlines who are not registered with ATOL or ABTA could result in uncompensated loss of your holiday.
Check Your Certificate
When you make an ATOL protected booking, you should receive an ATOL certificate. This will list the parts of the trip that are protected. If you don’t get a certificate, you are not protected.
Check Travel Insurance Cover Before You Buy
All insurance policies are not the same. Check and compare the details before you buy.
Make sure it covers Scheduled Airline Failure (SAF), which exists precisely to cover you in the event of an airline’s collapse. The SAF cover should also have a figure allocated to it. The range of cover varies from £100 – £15,000, with the average being about £2,500.
Make you own mind up about how much cover you need. But check the policy carefully and don’t underestimate the difference a few pounds more on an annual policy can make.
Get Your Credit Card Out
Purchases made with a credit card can often be covered by the card providers insurance policy. Check carefully. And always pay the balance off at the end of the month, or you may end up paying hefty interest on your booking.
Don’t buy vouchers as a gift
Many people who held Thomas Cook travel vouchers suddenly discovered they are now completely worthless. Think carefully before you buy a voucher of any kind as a present.
If someone gives you a voucher as a gift, use it as soon as you can. It seems, you never know what could happen.
Keep all your paperwork carefully
In the event of any kind incident of on holiday, it always helps to be able to get hold of receipts, invoices, policies and other documentation quickly.
Gather them in your e-mail and set up a neat new folder so you can find them quickly. Consider downloading them to your phone or tablet, in case you are unable to access wifi whilst you are away.
Take That Trip
If you have a dream trip, don’t keep putting off. Book it now. You never know what will happen. International travel may become more expensive and less accessible as the political and environmental world changes in the future.