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50 years of ATOL

Our history

For the last 50 years, the way we book travel may have changed and our destinations expanded ever further across the world, but throughout that time one thing has remained the same, a trusted companion by your side – ATOL.

We have made sure UK consumers booking package holidays can fly overseas, knowing they will be helped home or refunded in the unlikely event their operator goes out of business.

In the summer of 1973, the first Air Travel Organisers Licenses were issued to companies selling package holidays by the UK Civil Aviation Authority, which runs the ATOL financial protection scheme.

Since then, we have grown considerably, protecting more than 26 million passengers last year, whose bookings totalled almost £28 billion.

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Our press release

How to check your travel company holds an ATOL?

Before booking your next trip, check the travel company holds an ATOL by using the tool below.


What is the ATOL scheme?

The ATOL scheme (which stands for Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing) is financial protection that protects you when you book a package trip that includes a flight. It is separate to travel insurance.

It covers you before and during your trip. When you purchase a trip that is ATOL protected, you will receive an ATOL Certificate.

If your travel company stops trading when you are abroad, we’ll help you to continue your trip by:

  • Assisting you to stay in your holiday accommodation, if possible
  • Reimbursing you for any money you spent to replace ATOL protected parts of your trip, e.g car hire, transfers
  • Arranging flights home, depending on the circumstances.