Oliver Smith, The Daily Telegraph, July 22, 2013
The online agency Travel Click Holidays has ceased trading, the Civil Aviation Authority has confirmed.
The ATOL-registered, Enfield-based company, which described itself as a “boutique” agency, sold package holidays and flights to a number of destinations, including Dubai, Las Vegas, Cyprus, Dubai and Greece.
Its website states that it is currently closed for maintenance, but a statement from the CAA, issued on Friday, said: “Travel Click Ltd, trading as www.travelclickholidays.co.uk, has ceased trading with immediate effect.”
It is the first major travel firm failure of the summer, and comes on the busiest week of the year for outbound travel, just days after the majority of Britain’s schools break up.
Travel Click Holidays had become the subject of numerous complains on the consumer forum holidaywatchdog.com during recent weeks, with customers complaining that they had paid for holidays but received no confirmation of their trip. When they complained, staff allegedly responded in a rude manner.
The Independent reports that the firm’s annual turnover was around £500,000, which translates to around 1,000 holidaymakers. Those currently overseas should be able to finish their holiday and fly home as normal, while anyone due to travel will need to claim a refund through the CAA. A refund can usually be obtained within six weeks of application.
Those who had purchased a flight- or accommodation-only deal through Travel Click, however, may face difficulty obtaining a refund, as the ATOL scheme only covers package holidays.
Six travel firms have ceased trading so far this year. The others are Sea Breeze Holidays Ltd, T J M Travel Ltd, Mountain Training School Ltd, T D Europe Ltd (trading as Different Tracks), and Global Enduro Ltd.
What to do if your travel firm goes bust
Am I protected under the ATOL scheme?
If you booked your flight or holiday with an ATOL licensed tour operator or travel agent, you will be covered under the scheme. Check brochures and websites for the ATOL logo and a licence number, or check the names of travel firms and ATOL numbers at www.atol.org.uk .
ATOL licenses are not issued to airlines. If you booked directly with your airline, you will not be covered by the ATOL scheme.
Are there alternatives to ATOL?
The Civil Aviation Authority advises anyone booking only a flight, or separate airline tickets and hotel accommodation, to take out an insurance policy that covers airline insolvency and any possible indirect loss as a consequence. Many travel insurance policies do not cover airline insolvency, so check the small print.
You could also consider paying by credit card. All purchases over £100 are covered by the Consumer Credit Act 1974, although indirect losses are not protected.
I am still abroad, and my travel company has gone bust – what should I do?
If you booked your flight as part of a package with an ATOL-protected tour operator, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will work to ensure you can remain in your accommodation until you are due to travel home. Your hotel should be made aware of the situation. If they insist that you pay again, speak to the CAA and confirm that it has contacted the hotel.
Some hotels may not understand the ATOL protection scheme. If you are forced to pay for your accommodation again, you can claim a refund from the CAA when you return to Britain.
If you are not covered by the ATOL scheme, you will need to make your own arrangements, keeping all receipts safe, before contacting your insurance provider when you return home.
When will I be flown home?
The CAA aims to fly holidaymakers back as close to their planned departure date as possible, so you should head to the airport as normal, unless instructed otherwise.
It’s unlikely you’ll be flown back earlier, but your return may be delayed. In this situation, additional, reasonable costs for accommodation, meals and transports will be reimbursed – but keep your receipts.
Will I get a choice of flights?
No. You will be allocated a flight home.
Will I fly back to the airport I departed from?
Not necessarily but if you are flown to a different UK airport, there will be a free transfer arrangement to the airport you originally flew from.
Will I be compensated for any missed holiday if I’m flown back early?
No. But it’s very unlikely that you’ll be flown home early.
I am due to travel with a company that has failed – what should I do?
All holidays or flights with your travel company will be cancelled. Do not travel to the airport, as your tickets will not be honoured.
If your flight is part of an ATOL-protected package, the CAA will give you a full refund, usually with a couple of months, depending on the complexity of the claim. If you paid using a credit card, the CAA may advise you to claim a refund through your card issuer.
If you bought flight tickets only, or a DIY package, check your travel insurance policy.
Will I be refunded for other arrangements such as car hire?
Any purchases not included in your package, such as car hire or excursions, will not be covered by the ATOL scheme. If you paid using a credit card, and spent more than £100, you should be able to claim a refund through your card issuer. You may also be covered by your travel insurance – check your policy.
My tour operator doesn’t appear to have ATOL protection – what do I do?
If you’re still abroad, you will have to pay again for accommodation and flights home. The CAA says that spare capacity on planes is offered to non-ATOL protected passengers – though there is no guarantee and you will have to pay a standard fee.
If you are due to travel, you will not be able to claim a refund from the CAA. However, if you paid using a credit card, you should be able to secure a refund. Your travel insurance policy may also cover tour operator failure.