Deciding if ATOL is Worth It

As the summer gears up for many in the United Kingdom, plenty of travelers question whether or not ATOL protection is necessary when booking holidays through various travel agencies in the UK. Since 1973, ATOL, Air Travel Organiser’s License, has helped protect UK citizens when booking holiday travel through UK travel agencies. In 2012, it was expanded to include certain online bookings.

At a cost of £2.50 per traveler, a steal at that bargain rate, the tourist insurance offers added protection against unknown circumstances out of the would-be explorers’ control. ATOL travelers’ insurance covers each person in case various companies involved with the holiday travel cease to do business. For example, airline strikes, the company goes under, or other unseen problems which may arise. Per Money.co.uk, “As well as cancellation and delay caused by a travel company or airline going bust, you might find your trip being put on hold or called off altogether because of strike action, a natural catastrophe, or a breakdown of your plane, train, coach, or bus.”

All vacationers do have the option of booking through non-UK companies and save the £2.50 per person in the vacationing group. Doing so will result in the traveler(s) bearing responsibilities should something go wrong with the airlines, lodgings, or other forms of travel booked for the holiday. While having a credit card as backup may seem to be enough, the added cost of finding the proper passage to return can cost more than the original booking, and none of which will be guaranteed a refund.

It should be noted ATOL only applies to flight package based holidays. For cruises and self-driving trips, Brits should learn about ABTA [Association of British Travel Agents]. All covered agencies must supply a certificate of coverage as well as a four or five digit number which can be checked through the CAA’s [Civil Aviation Authority] website.

The monies are added to an insurance pool which the CAA uses to help stranded passengers return home or receive a full refund depending upon circumstances. While it may seem it doesn’t matter if they book through an ATOL covered company, the small fee may become the one addition that turned a vacation from breaking the bank to one in which a near disaster was averted.