More protection for holidaymakers

Posted: 30th April 2012

plane 33New regulations requiring the vendors of ‘flight plus’ holidays (ones where the flight is sold together with accommodation or car hire) to provide additional protection to UK consumers if the booked service(s) become unavailable as a result of the insolvency of the provider came into effect on 30 April.
An extension of the Air Travel Organiser's Licensing (ATOL) scheme, the new regulations specifically provide that a Flight-Plus arranger (defined in regulation 25) is liable to the consumer for the provision of the flight accommodation, living accommodation and self-drive car hire provided as part of a Flight-Plus.
If prior to departure by the consumer, the Flight-Plus arranger becomes aware that any of these elements will not be provided, the Flight-Plus arranger must provide suitable alternatives at no extra cost to the consumer (regulation 26).
If after departure the Flight-Plus arranger becomes aware that the flight will not be provided, the Flight-Plus arranger must provide the consumer at no extra cost suitable alternative transport back to the place of departure. In the case of living accommodation or self-drive car hire not being provided, the Flight-Plus arranger must provide the consumer at no extra cost with suitable alternative living accommodation or self-drive car hire, as appropriate (regulation 27).
Where suitable alternative arrangements cannot be made, the Flight-Plus arranger must compensate the consumer (regulation 28). However, the Flight-Plus arranger is not liable unless the reason for the non-availability of the flight or living accommodation or self-drive car hire is due to the insolvency of any person concerned with its provision or the failure of the ATOL holder providing the flight accommodation (regulation 30).
The Civil Aviation Authority has promised that it will not come down hard on operators who are slow to get to grips with the new rules.