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Tourists should not rely on ATOL protection

23 January 2009 17:56

Tourists should not rely on ATOL protection

The aviation industry may be calling on the government to provide extra consumer financial protection for leisure flights, but holidaymakers would do best to ensure they have travel insurance before booking a flight.

According to Travel Weekly, the number of airlines protected by the ATOL scheme has fallen in the last ten years with carriers reluctant to advertise the possibility of failure by passing on the expenses to their passengers.

But with less than a unified response forthcoming from the industry, passengers would do well to ensure that they are protected from financial loss, regardless of whether their carrier is covered or not.

Highlighting the lack of consensus, Mike Carriyick, chief executive of the Board of Airline Representatives, told the website: "Our members do not want ATOL protection.

He went on to imply that, with the risk of airlines going bust in the current economic climate very real, there is little that can be done for those passengers without a travel insurance policy.

At the beginning of this month, budget airlines were accused of causing havoc by automatically signing passengers up to travel insurance, placing the onus on customers to cancel the cover if they have already purchased a policy.