Travellers to lose ATOL protection if refund notes aren’t used in days

The regulator has also written to some of the UK’s largest travel companies to remind them of their obligations to customers who hold unspent refund credits.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority has now issued a final warning on the use of refund credits (Photo: Getty Images)

Holidaymakers urged to act now

ATOL-protected refund credits have been issued for UK air travel packages that have been canceled due to the pandemic.

ATOL Protection provides support to ensure consumers do not suffer a financial loss when a travel company ceases trading as an ATOL holder.

Consumers had a legal right to a cash payment within 14 days for package tours canceled due to the Corona crisis. However, many travel companies offered RCNs as an alternative to support their cash flow during the widespread disruption.

The CAA is now asking those with unspent credits to either make another ATOL-protected booking or request a cash refund from the travel company where travel was booked before September 30.

If you still have a refund credit after this date, you will not be able to make a claim through the ATOL system if that travel company ceases trading as an ATOL holder, meaning you risk losing the money you paid for have already paid for a holiday.

Michael Budge, head of ATOL, which is run by the CAA, said: “Millions of holidaymakers have missed trips over the past two years and many have been offered refund credits during the pandemic.

“As travel demand continues to grow, we want to ensure consumers are making the most of the financial protection available to them.

“If you have a refund credit, make an Atol protected booking or request a refund well in advance of September 30 to avoid jeopardizing your money.”

Will my refund credit expire after the end of September?

Refund vouchers do not necessarily expire at the end of September as the voucher expiry date depends on the travel company.

However, refund credits will lose their ATOL protection after September 30, 2022. This means if a business stops trading as an ATOL holder, customers will not get their money back even if they have a refund credit.

If customers redeem the value of a credit for a new trip on or after October 1 and the travel company ceases operations after that date, the value of the refund credit used to pay for the trip will not be refunded.

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