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How safe is your holiday?

beach hatThe failure this weekend of airline Flybmi has thrown the plans of many travellers into disarray. The travel industry in general is having a hard time what with Brexit seemingly putting many of us off the idea of heading off to European sun spots this year. It seems unlikely that Flybmi will be the last casualty. So how do you make sure you aren’t left seriously out of pocket if your holiday plans are derailed?

1. Always pay at least the deposit of a holiday, flight or any other booking (car hire, hotel) by credit card. This is essential. You don’t need to put the whole cost on your card, but as long as the bill is at least £100 in total then you’ll be covered by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act which will cover the money you’ve paid out.

2. If you paid by debit card (or if you paid by credit card and the whole bill was less than £100) then if the company you’ve paid fails you might be able get your money back through Chargeback – but unlike the Consumer Credit Act this isn’t a legal requirement so there’s no guarantee you’ll be refunded.

3. If you have booked a traditional package holiday or a self-made package of flights/accommodation/car hire then you should be covered by the ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s Licence) bond. You’ll know if you are ATOL covered as you’ll have this confirmed when you book. If you’re away and the airline you’re travelling with fails, then you’ll be brought home courtesy of the ATOL bond. And if your package holiday company goes under, you’ll be covered by ATOL.

4. If you have just booked a flight, then you might not be covered by ATOL: it is complicated, but basically if you have booked directly with an airline and only bought a flight then you may not be covered. There are more details on ATOL here.

5. Take out holiday insurance. If your policy includes SAFI (scheduled airline failure insurance) then you might be able to claim for airline failure on this. However, insurance is unlikely to pay out if a holiday company goes under and three-fifths of travel policies don’t cover airline failure according to Defaqto. Holiday insurance is really cheap: just remember to take it out when you book your holiday in case you have to cancel your trip. Search for cheap holiday cover on comparison sites such as Moneysupermarket*, uswitch* and comparethemarket*. Or buy via a cashback site such as Quidco* or Topcashback* and get some money back. And do have a look at travelsupermarket.com* for deals on holidays and travel.

6. If you’re not going to fly on holiday – maybe you are going on a cruise or a train trip – then look out for protection from Abta which offers a similar protection scheme to the ATOL bond.

Happy holidays! And check out our guides to holiday money, insurance and car hire here

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Wednesday, 22 May 2019