Air Travel Organiser's Licence
You may have noticed in the bottom left hand side of all of our web pages there is an ATOL logo – like the one to the right. ATOL 3253 is Honeyguide's unique ATOL number and this shows that all monies paid by you for our air holiday packages are ATOL-protected. The ATOL system is run by the Civil Aviation Authority.
This web page is to explain a little more about this and developments in consumer protection linked to ATOLs.
Your ATOL protection
All the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it.
Please see our booking conditions for further information. The recent additions to these, standard wording from the CAA, you can read by clicking on the red writing to read our ATOL Terms and Conditions. These are now integrated into the booking details in the Honeyguide brochure, and on the PDF booking form/conditions on our booking page).
For more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate.
Protecting the consumer
Every tour operator offering 'packages' – that is holidays that include more than one element, such as flights, accommodation and local transport – has to provide the buyer with protection. The framework for this is the EU's Package Travel Directive and UK regulations that flow from that.
When it's a flight-inclusive package – as all Honeyguide holidays presently are – then tour operators must hold an Air Travel Organiser's Licence. It ensures that in the event of a tour operator becoming insolvent, consumers already abroad can complete their holidays and be returned to the UK and those who have paid for their holidays but have not yet departed will receive a full refund.
Honeyguide has held an ATOL for more than 20 years. It's what the CAA calls a 'Small Business ATOL' (SBA), for tour operators running fewer than 500 holidays a year.
The new style ATOL Certificate, issued since October 2012, looks like this (right). Honeyguide presently prints these in black and white.
More information on the ATOL pack peace of mind campaign on the right.
ATOL Protection Contributions
ATOL Protection Contributions (APCs) were introduced in April 2008 to raise funds for the Air Travel Trust Fund (ATTF), which meets the insolvency protection costs of the ATOL scheme. The failure of XL leisure group in September 2008 and the effects of the recession have caused serious financial challenges for the ATTF.
Following a consultation by the CAA in early 2009, the APC paid by travel companies to the ATTF rose from £1 to £2.50 per passenger. This sum is included within the price of your Honeyguide holiday.
Comment: on the one hand, it is irritating that travellers with generally sound small operators are caught by a problem created by the collapse of one large business. On the other hand, it remains a relatively small sum per person to support the robust and valuable ATOL scheme. When it came in, the travel press quoted various leading lights from big operators in the travel industry suggesting this change will bring travel its knees. These claims can be taken with a pinch of salt.
Holidays not covered by Honeyguide's ATOL
Though our holidays are all offered with flights, very occasionally, after consulting the Honeyguide office, a Honeyguider may prefer to:
(1) travel to one of our destinations by means other than flying, or
(2) buy their own flights, nowadays easy to do on the internet and sometimes a practical response when travel arrangements are complex.
At the moment, any travellers for whom Honeyguide does not buy a flight is not covered by Honeyguide's ATOL.
This is a pity as travelling by train, in particular, is a trend we would like to encourage, to reduce dependence on air travel with its contribution to climate change. In time, this may change ...
Future developments for ATOLs
In December 2009, the Department for Transport published proposals
"... for modernising the Civil Aviation Authority’s regulatory framework." (Full details here.) Much of this is to clarify and improve the scope of the ATOL system, especially in the light of some failures of big travel companies and to respond to how people buy holiday components on the internet.
They propose that non-air holidays can be covered by an ATOL in future - see right for the full text.
Honeyguide welcomes this proposed change. In our response to the Department for Transport we said we:
"... support the proposal to extend the scope of ATOLs to non-air packages. This is for the reasons set out in paragraph 13.75, namely to offer protection to consumers but to keep costs low and bureaucracy simple by being able to include a small number of non-air package holidays within the ATOL."
Update, July 2011: the Government’s public consultation on the reform of the Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing (ATOL) Scheme (June 2011)
"The proposal to extend the scope of ATOL to non-flight packages has not been included in the current consultation. This proposal received some support during the 2009 Regulating Air Transport consultation, and we have certainly not ruled out including this measure in the medium to longer term reforms of the ATOL scheme."
First published January 2010, last updated December 2014.