In last week’s Safe Journey blog we told you about ATOL, and now it’s time for another travel acronym: ABTA
If you’ve made any sort of booking through a travel agent or tour operator, you’ll probably have used an ABTA member without even realising it, as it’s the UK’s largest travel association and has been around for more than 65 years.
ABTA provides support, protection and expertise, and when you use an ABTA member, you can rest assured that the investment in your holiday is safe if a provider ceases trading.
How ABTA Can Help
- Providing financial protection in case of company closure/failure – if your travel agent, or other travel provider, goes out of business, ABTA protects all package and “flight-plus” bookings.
- ABTA can assist if there’s a problem with an ABTA member (an issue with your holiday, booking, etc.) that you’re unable to resolve.
- A great deal of travel advice and information is provided on the ABTA website, e.g. travel tips for solo travellers, advice for women travelling in different parts of the world, and guidelines on how to make complaints about a travel provider.
- Members commit to adhering to a code of conduct, which sets high standards for quality and service.
- ABTA can help you to understand your rights, e.g. if your flight is delayed or a booking error occurs.
ABTA and ATOL
ABTA and ATOL protection are not the same thing, and depending on your booking, you may have protection from both, from one of the two, or from neither. This is one of the many reasons it’s essential to understand the protection that’s offered and ensure that your travel insurance covers any potential gaps.
An example of what happens with different types of bookings that different protection is the recent collapse of All Leisure Holidays Ltd. which resulted in thousands of lost cruise bookings.
- People who had booked a cruise as well as flights (through ATOL-protected companies) were reimbursed by ATOL.
- Travellers who had made a booking through an ABTA member travel agent were assisted by their travel agents.
- Other types of bookings, including cruises departing from the UK, were able to make a claim through ABTA.
- Anyone who had make a booking directly (or through a non-UK based agent) and was not departing from a UK port, had to lodge claims with their travel insurance.
When ABTA Applies
If you buy a holiday in the UK, your money is automatically protected by ABTA if you book a package, “flight-plus” or a charter flight.
“Flight-plus” means that you have booked a combination of flight and/or accommodation and/or car hire (at least two of these items) from one supplier, but they have not packaged the items as one tour/product – a good example is when you book flights and a hotel via an airline’s website. Please note though, while a “flight-plus” booking is financially protected, it won’t have the same level of legal protection that a package holiday would receive from ABTA.
If you book through an ABTA member, they will be able to tell you whether you are covered by ABTA or ATOL, and if not, what you should do to ensure your holiday is fully protected. Always ask before you pay!
Health, Terrorism, and Other Situations
ABTA and ATOL will help to bring you home if your travel company fails while you’re on holiday, but they are never a substitute for travel insurance.
Cover such as personal accident, emergency medical treatment, loss of luggage and other personal possessions, and so much more can only be covered by the appropriate travel insurance policy.
When it comes to cover for acts of terrorism, ABTA can help to get you back home, but only a specialist policy like Safe Journey provides cover for items such as cancellation and curtailment, delays, loss of personal possessions, and withdrawal of services that result from terrorism.
One of the biggest benefits of Safe Journey travel insurance is that it covers disinclination to travel – in other words, you can cancel a trip if an act of terrorism takes place within 40 miles of your booked accommodation of travel route, up to 6 weeks before your scheduled departure. For full details, terms, conditions and exclusions, click here>>
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