If you accepted a refund credit note instead of a cash refund for cancelled holidays your money is protected. This will apply if your original package holiday or flight only reservation was ATOL Protected in the first place. If this applies to you then the value of your refund credit note will also be safe under the ATOL scheme.
The UK Government announced it will protect refund credit notes issued between 10 March 2020 and 30 September 2020. You’ll be able to claim your money back via the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) even if the travel provider becomes insolvent.
Good News for Consumers & Industry
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “We want to send a clear message to passengers that they can book their summer holidays with confidence, which is why we’re stepping in to protect refund credit notes issued as a result of COVID-19 cancellations.
“This is not only good news for anyone looking to get away for a break in the sun, but also for the aviation and travel sector which has been hit hard by the pandemic.”
Paul Smith, consumer director at the CAA, added: “This news provides much-needed clarity for consumers, who should now feel confident that their money is secure if they have chosen to accept a refund credit note for their cancelled ATOL-protected booking.
Your Refund Rights
If your ATOL protected holiday is cancelled by the provider you are entitled to a refund within 14 days of the cancellation. This is your right as outlined within the Package Travel Regulations. You don’t have to accept a credit note or travel voucher. If you’d rather have the cash refund you are still entitled to it. Even if you’ve accepted a credit note now you can change it in to a cash refund at any time up until the 30th September 2021.
Making a New Booking?
If you’re considering using your refund credit note to make a new booking with the same provider, it would be best to do so before the end of September next year. The governments backing for refund credit notes may not apply after the 30th September 2021. To ensure what you paid remains safe after that date either organise a new ATOL protected booking before then or request a cash refund.