With the demise of Zoom Airlines and many passengers losing not only their holiday but their money also, I thought I'd post some guidelines on how to best Financially Protect your Holiday. So here are our tips.
- Buy your flight and accommodation from an ATOL holder such as Amro Worldwide. Yes - we would say that wouldn't we but then you are fully protected from the minute you book. Any combination of flight and hotel can be put into your travel plans- not just our advertised package holidays. The ATOL holder will either re-book or refund any part your holiday where the supplier ceases trading. As the post below shows, Amro Worldwide has an established procedure for handling such events.
- If you really must put your travel together yourself, don't buy your flight directly from the airline but through an ATOL holder. That way, at least, you will be protected against the Airline failing.
- If you really, really positively must buy from the airline directly because it is such a fantastic deal, firstly check it really is as good as it looks. Most airline direct booking websites have hidden costs such as checking in luggage or getting something to eat/drink on the flight. If it really is a good deal - and we're happy to admit there are some out there - then book using Visa or Mastercard and avoid debit cards even though the surcharge is less. Provided the value exceeds £100, protection may be offered by the Credit Card company and you should, after a lot of form filling and arguing, eventually get your money back. But it won't be fast enough for you to re-book. It has taken me as long as four months to get a refund in the past.
- Finally, don't kid yourself that travel insurance is the answer. None of the currently available travel policies offer you protection although some may try to sell you Airline Failure Insurance as an add-on. This is not necessary if you book through an ATOL holder.