ATOL reforms to protect holidaymakers 'don’t go far enough'

Monday, 30 April 2012 09:09

By Kay Carson

Government changes to ATOL, the holidaymakers’ protection scheme, do not go far enough, according to MPs.

Changes taking effect from today include Flight Plus, which extends financial protection to millions of people who put together their own holiday packages with travel agents, mainly online.

In addition, new ATOL certificates to be issued with holiday bookings aim to provide greater clarity for holidaymakers.

But a Commons Transport Committee report out today said it was unfair that those booking a short budget break paid the same ATOL protection fee – currently £2.50 per passenger – as those on expensive long-haul holidays and recommended that it should instead be linked to the value of the holiday booking.

Committee chairman Louise Ellman MP said other aspects of ATOL remain “unsatisfactory”.

“Information can be unclear and protection is patchy for passengers who book flights only and holiday sales by airlines or some types of travel agent remain outside the scheme,” she said.

“The Government does not have a plan for comprehensive reform. It has listened to the travel industry but has not researched the views or booking behaviour of passengers and holidaymakers.”

The transport committee’s report is calling for the travel industry to fund any future reforms.

MPs are also recommending that the Civil Aviation Authority should work with airlines to develop a code of practice covering information for consumers making overseas holiday or travel bookings, ensure that passengers understand the risks of being stranded abroad as a result of airline insolvency and are aware of the insurance options available.

The Government must also distinguish between issues related to consumer protection and repatriation cover, the report said.



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