Lawyers could “have a field day” with parts of the Flight-Plus Atol reforms, the UK’s leading travel law professor has warned.
Professor David Grant told Travel Weekly: “The Flight-Plus changes mean a huge improvement in consumer protection, but the devil is in the detail.
“For example, a Flight-Plus booking will be created when a customer ‘requests to book’ a flight and accommodation. If I want to go to Australia, I may book a flight for six months’ time and say I want accommodation but will wait to book it. Is that a Flight-Plus?
“There is a grey area and lawyers can have a field day with it.”
Grant is Vantage Insurance visiting professor of travel law at Leeds Metropolitan University, editor of the Travel Law Quarterly and co-author of the book Holiday Law.
He said the Atol regulations had to be broadened, but that the changes do not go far enough “so long as airlines remain outside the scheme”.
Grant said: “People buy holidays in ignorance and only think about financial protection when something goes wrong. The point about Atol protection is you have it whether you want it or not and that is a good thing.”
He added: “You might argue everything should be protected. Why shouldn’t agents have to protect everything they sell? They make money out of selling holidays and people risk being stranded abroad.”
Grant is due to speak at a Vantage Insurance seminar on the Flight-Plus reforms in London next Thursday, where he will be joined by CAA consumer protection group director Richard Jackson, solicitor Alex Padfield of law firm Hextalls, and by insurance expert Alan Lumsden of Vantage.
The half-day seminar on March 29 is entitled ‘Do you know your Flight-Plus from your package holiday?’ is aimed at non-lawyers and is free to attend.
It starts at 14:00 at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, London WC1. To book a place go to the Vantage Insurance seminars web page.
The March issue of Travel Law Quarterly will appear next week.
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