Book flights with clients’ credit cards, says Endacott

Book flights with clients’ credit cards, says Endacott

A leading critic of the flight-plus Atol that will extend licensing to agents has recommended retailers use customers’ credit cards to book flights and demanded to know whether they would be liable for consumer refunds if an airline fails.

On Holiday Group chief executive Steve Endacott said: “Booking with a client’s credit card removes the risk of a chargeback from a card provider.

“But is the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) going to make agents with a flight-plus Atol pay out if an airline fails?”

The Department for Transport (DfT) is finalising a consultation paper on a flight-plus Atol to cover retail sales of dynamic packages.

But Endacott warned: “Online travel agents will act as agents of the customer, using their clients’ credit cards to book flights, and drive a coach and horses through the reform. Again, we will have a scheme with major loopholes.”

He called on the CAA to clarify the issue, asking: “Can you use the customer’s credit card? If you can and an airline goes bust, do you have to replace the customer’s money?”

Endacott told Travel Weekly: “It is not acceptable to wait for the DfT paper. We know the issues. If agents can’t use their customer’s credit card to book flights, they need time to source the right scheduled airline failure insurance or supplier failure cover.”

Travel Weekly is awaiting a response from the CAA response. Endacott spoke out as Abta backed a report by former chief financial ombudsman Walter Merricks calling on the CAA to simplify its claims process and agents to improve their paperwork.

The Air Travel Trust made clear that from May 1 it will not pay out where agents fail to issue an Atol receipt, an Atol confirmation invoice and “clearly disclose the price of the contract with the identified licence holder”.

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