What does ABTA protected mean?
ABTA protection means that if your travel company goes out of business, you will be entitled to a refund which includes hotel costs. If you are abroad, your transport home will be covered. It provides a quick, clear and simple process to follow, so you are able to continue your holiday as planned, or get your money back.
How else can ABTA offer protection?
ABTA also has a Code of Conduct which governs areas such as accurate advertising, fair terms of trading, changes to bookings and managing customer complaints, plus guidance on providing travellers with the right paperwork and handling complaints. An ABTA member cannot cancel your booking after the date for payment of the full price unless it is necessary to do so for reasons outside its control. If this happens, it must offer you the choice of getting all your money back or choosing alternative travel arrangements. Moreover, if there is a significant change to your travel arrangements they must offer you the choice of accepting the changed travel arrangements or getting your money back.
All ABTA members have to abide by its code and those that breach it can face sanctions from the organisation.
What is the difference between ABTA and ATOL?
ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s Licensing) sits alongside ABTA but is specifically designed to cover people who fly. Whereas ABTA covers rail, road, or sea travel holidays. Many ABTA tour operators also provide bonds to the Civil Aviation Authority under the ATOL scheme.
How do I know if I’m covered by ABTA?
You should always check your travel company is ATOL and ABTA protected. Check your receipt shows the name of the company that's providing the holiday service - for example, the tour operator. Where your holiday services are being provided by more than one company, you should receive a separate receipt for each service. Ensure that the name that appears on the receipt is the name of the company to which the payment is made.
This information should also be clearly listed on company websites and covered on the certificates that are legally provided. Be sure to take your protection certificate in case of an emergency while you’re away.
How to make a complaint to ABTA
If you’ve been unable to resolve your issues with your tour operator or received no reply from them within 28 days you can appeal to ABTA. It provides an arbitration scheme and will apply its strict guidelines.
To complain go to ABTA’s online complaints hub
You will need to provide all documentation and copies of all relevant correspondence. ABTA will reply within seven days and attempt to resolve your dispute.
Do I still need travel insurance if a company is covered by ABTA?
Even if a company is an ABTA member you still need to take out personal holiday insurance covering personal effects, delays and medical issues.