Confusion for Travellers regarding ATOL & other
Sun Goes Down on XL
Sept 12 2008:
The XL Group, a major UK airline and tour operator went
into liquidation, leaving thousands of British
holidaymakers stranded abroad. Many thousands more risk
loosing holidays already booked and paid for.
of British holidaymakers were stranded abroad today after the collapse of
the UK's third largest tour operator.
65,000 were thought to have been affected immediately, with up to another
200,000 back at home reportedly left holding worthless holiday tickets.”
holidaymakers affected by XL's collapse will be able to claim a full refund
- but it depends on how they booked their trip.
paid by credit card or used a tour operator affiliated to the Air Travel
Organisers' Licensing (Atol) scheme should get their money back.
people who used a debit card to book directly with XL Airways through the
website XL.com or an XL call centre will probably not be protected.”
XL Collapse: Refund hope for stricken holidaymakers
tour operators suffered from the collapse of the XL Group
The demise of XL
shattering news to the travel industry.
fall-out left holidaymakers out of pocket and stranded abroad.
bonded Tour operators, who had religiously paid their bonds to the CAA, had
to pick up the bill.
bonded operators were obliged to repatriate their clients or find them
alternative holidays and flights - all being paid for out of their own
pockets, without help from the CAA.
financial implications were enormous and it is rumoured that the XL collapse
cost one such operator, Co-Op Travel, £1.4 million.
bonded operators feel that this is grossly unfair.
Some holiday companies are selling holidays without any financial
protection, such as an ATOL licence. Yet when the “bubble bursts” they run,
cap-in-hand, to the CAA for repatriation of their clients.
those who offer bonding have to suffer such
general confusion surrounding holiday bonding –
Villa World Ltd,
based in Cambridge UK, is a typical ATOL-bonded tour
operator offering villa with pool holidays in Costa Blanca and 19 other
resorts around the world.
Villa World clients book a full holiday package, including flights, and are covered by
our ATOL bond.
recently polled 500 clients and asked them if they thought that their ATOL
bond was an important reason for them to book with Villa World.
stated that this was the case but only 280 of them had actually booked the
full package. The others where not coved by the ATOL bond because they
had booked accommodation only.
these clients were actually covered by another bond that we carry but the
point is that they did not really know that they were not covered by ATOL.
majority of low-fare airlines are not bonded by ATOL –
another area where so much confusion exists. In the majority of flight-only
bookings the traveller has no financial protection except if they pay by
use a debit card only have protection for part of the cost.
crisis affecting Air Travel is hardy over yet –
Group collapse happened over a month ago now but the dust has not really
settled yet for the travel industry.
of the dramatic fall in fuel costs many operators still have liquidity
problems and there may still be more insolvencies.
the industry's biggest names, including Sir Richard Branson and the British
Airways chief executive Willie Walsh, responded with predictions that the
credit crunch and crippling fuel costs would bankrupt more airlines, travel
agents and package firms in the coming months.”
XL holiday firm collapse: Dozens more travel firms will go under, experts
general opinion among dedicated professionals in the travel trade
is that the CAA should now stand up and spell everything out clearly to the
holiday companies, airlines etc. should state clearly how their clients are
case where there is not complete protection this should be clearly stated.
Sources of Further Information:
UK Travel Industry: The Current Situation - "Takeoff or Grounded" An
interesting and informative article about the present state of the UK Travel
Wikipedia: Air Travel Organisers Licensing
Official Website of the UK Civil Aviation Authority
Failure of the XL Leisure Group in the UK