With unspent ATOL refund credit notes still totalling around £30 million, the UK Civil Aviation Authority has issued a final reminder to consumers to act by 30 September 2022 or face putting their money at risk.
The regulator has also written to some of the UK’s biggest travel companies to remind them of their obligations to customers still holding unspent refund credit notes.
During the COVID pandemic many people postponed their holiday plans and accepted a refund credit note (RCN) from their travel company. Refund credit notes issued against flight inclusive packages bought in the UK were given financial protection by ATOL, but this will cease on 30 September 2022.
If a travel company stops trading after 30 September 2022, consumers with outstanding ATOL refund credit notes will not be covered by the scheme, and they risk losing out on the money they have paid.
The Civil Aviation Authority is urging consumers still holding an unspent refund credit note from their travel company to make sure they act before the end of September and either redeem it against another ATOL protected booking or ask for a refund.
The redemption expiry dates for refund credit notes will vary depending on individual travel companies, but after 30 September any refund credit note issued in 2020 or 2021 will no longer benefit from ATOL protection.
Michael Budge, Head of ATOL at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said: “The deadline for the end of ATOL protection of refund credit notes is 30 September, so we are again urging people to either use their refund credit note to book another ATOL protected trip or ask their travel company for a refund.
“This will affect customers of some of our biggest travel firms, so our message is simple – this is the last chance to make sure you continue to be financially protected by the ATOL scheme.
“Even if your refund credit note is valid after the end of September, it won’t enjoy ATOL protection. It is better to be safe than sorry, and we are urging people still holding one of these refund credit notes to take action now.”
In July 2020, the ATOL scheme announced that consumers who accepted refund credit notes for cancelled ATOL protected trips, would continue to be financially protected under the ATOL scheme until 30 September 2022. This applied to refund credit notes issued between 10 March 2020 and 19 December 2021.
Notes to editors
Unspent refund credit notes totalled around £30million. Figure provided is based on latest ATOL holder submissions to the Civil Aviation Authority up to and including 31 August 2022.
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