The Civil Aviation Authority will today launch a trade guide to Atol reform, outlining key changes to the scheme that will draw in many businesses for the first time.
The guide, entitled ‘Improving Holiday Protection’, explains the new Flight-Plus and Atol Certificate in simple language. It points out: “The changes affect anyone selling flights and flight-inclusive trips.”
Travel firms will need a Flight-Plus licence from April 30 “to arrange and sell flights with accommodation and/or car hire”, and they must be ready to issue an Atol Certificate to consumers from October 1 “when accepting payment for every Atol-protected holiday”.
Agents will also need to have written agreements with Atol-holding suppliers in place that define the relationship between them. Without a written agreement: “A business may not call itself an agent for an Atol holder.”
The guide explains a Flight-Plus sale will be created from the moment a customer requests a room or car hire with a flight. If other elements are then added to the holiday, they should be protected too.
If an agent adds car hire to a package holiday that will be a Flight-Plus booking too – and every Flight-Plus must have a £2.50 per person Atol Protection Contribution added.
The guide makes clear the regulations apply “if a customer books an element of a holiday with travel business A” via the web, a shop or on the phone and is passed or clicks through “to book another element through travel business B".
In that case, says the guide: “The business making available the flight is a Flight-Plus arranger and will require an Atol [and] . . . This applies equally whether the two businesses are subsidiary companies or completely separate companies.”
The guide gives examples of bookings that are Flight-Plus sales and others that are not. It also explains the responsibilities of agents. For example, if an accommodation provider fails, the Flight-Plus Atol holder will have to provide an alternative or refund the entire holiday.
The booklet is available online, in print and downloadable to smartphones and can be read in 15 minutes.
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