ADV12: Agents still not ready for Flight-Plus, warns McEwan

ADV12: Agents still not ready for Flight-Plus, warns McEwan

Travel agents will be "on the hook" for Flight-Plus sales from Monday and some have still to decide how to comply with changes to the Atol consumer-protection regime, the head of Advantage Travel Centres has warned.

Advantage chief executive John McEwan, who also chairs Abta, said today: "There are still a lot of people undecided about what to do. There are still some who have not fully grasped what Flight-Plus means.

"Legally, they will be on the hook from Monday. However, I expect the Civil Aviation Authority to take a lenient view. Certainly, people need to have made up their minds how to comply from the end of May."

Government reform of the Atol scheme means Flight-Plus sales of airline seats plus accommodation or car hire will fall within the licensing regime from Monday April 30, meaning many travel agents require a licence for the first time.

However, the CAA and Department for Transport (DfT) agreed to declare May a 'transition period', allowing the trade an additional month to comply with the new regulations.

Speaking as the annual Advantage overseas conference got underway in Malta, McEwan told Travel Weekly: "It may be they have to extend the transition period. It is going to be difficult to get everything done by the end of May.

"From a systems point of view, people need to be able to track all their Flight-Plus bookings." He added: "The industry will be working through the summer to get this right."

McEwan was speaking ahead of the opening session of the Advantage conference in Malta this morning. He said: "We have made steady progress in the last twelve months and great strides on technology."

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