When planning a holiday, we hope that everything will go to plan and it will all be stress-free. However, things can crop up unfortunately and in the event that it does, it is best to be prepared so that you can get the immediate help you need.
ABTA provides this through customer care and financial protection, so you don’t have to worry should anything go wrong. Here, we outline exactly what ABTA protection is and how it is essential for holidaymakers.
What is ABTA and what protection does it provide?
ABTA stands for the Association of British Travel Agents (but it is now known as the Travel Association). Formed over 60 years ago, its goal was to represent travel agents and tour operators.
It is not a requirement for agents and tour operators to be a member of ABTA, however, if they are, then it is more reassuring for holidaymakers. It means that they can rest assured that their rights are protected.
For example, in the event that the company you have booked with is forced to fold, your money will be protected; as well as any necessary travel arrangements to get you home, if it happens during your holiday.
It should be noted that it does not, however, provide financial protection for holidays that involve travel by air.
ATOL, on the other hand, stands for Air Travel Organiser’s License, which is a financial protection scheme protecting most air package holidays and also some flight only bookings.
How does ABTA protection work?
If, as a holidaymaker, you book travel with a company that is a member of ABTA, this means you will be protected for a number of risks relating to your travel provider.
Therefore, anything which occurs with the travel company that is completely out of your hands will be covered to ensure you can travel with peace of mind.
It is important, though, to be aware that you will still require travel insurance. This is because it covers you for things such as medical expenses and cancellation, whereas ABTA protection relates more to compensation.
What are the benefits of ABTA protection?
Not only does ABTA provide operational support 365 days a year, it also has a dispute resolution service for handling complaints, helps to improve health and safety across providers and contributes to the travel sector on a broader level.
It also has a Code of Conduct, which ensures that ABTA members meet high standards or risk facing disciplinary action. The Code includes areas such as appropriate advertising, changes to bookings, plus managing complaints and also guidance on providing travellers with the right paperwork.
Therefore, having ABTA protection means that not only are you protected in the event that something goes amiss with your travel company; but also that you are open to advice and resolution assistance, plus you can be assured that members must adhere to strict guidelines.
How do I know if I’m ABTA covered?
Always try to ensure that before you book, you cross reference your travel company’s details and check that they are ABTA and ATOL protected. Relevant information will be shown on your receipt and you should make sure that the company name that appears here is the same as that which you have made any payments to.
Usually, you will receive an ATOL certificate quickly when you have made a payment, so keep an eye out for this. Also, if you are booking with a tour operator and they try to sell you the services of another company, you should make sure you also get a separate receipt for that company and check out their details too.
All of the information should be on any receipts or certificates you receive and you can also look at the company websites. Be sure to take away any documentation with you on holiday in case you need it in the event of an emergency.
Is ABTA protection free?
ABTA protection doesn’t cost a penny to holidaymakers; it is simply an additional benefit of booking through an ABTA protected company. So, you can therefore enjoy complete peace of mind that you won’t have to pay extra to gain protection through your booking.
ABTA do charge companies for membership, however, so that they can benefit from their broad range of services. These include helping to grow their business, gain marketing and sales generation and improve customers’ confidence in booking with them.
What is the difference between ABTA and ATOL protection?
ATOL covers flight-based holidays whereas ABTA covers cruises, self-drive holidays and train travel. They both cover the same issues of protecting holidaymakers’ money and allowing them to continue their holiday in the event that the travel company ceases trading during their trip.
Therefore, if holidaymakers haven’t yet gone on their holiday when their travel company spins into crisis, they will obtain a refund thanks to ABTA and ATOL protection. Or, if they are already on their holiday when they hear about it, they have complete reassurance that their protection will cover arrangements to get them back home safely.
ATOL protection means that they are protected for their holiday and their flight too. However, ABTA cover also means that you are legally entitled to the holiday you paid for, so that if any nasty surprises pop up - such as building work at your hotel – then you may be entitled to compensation.