Along with the raft of airlines which have collapsed over the previous 12 months, we hear of yet another tour operator which has gone the same way. XL Leisure group ceased trading earlier this month, with the loss of 2000 jobs and countless holiday plans ruined. So what are your rights and remedies if the tour operator you’ve used to book your precious annual holiday goes into meltdown?
ATOL stands for Air Travel Organiser’s Licence and is a protection scheme operated by the Civil Aviation Authority. While travel agents and tour operators must have an ATOL, it is not compulsory for airlines. Consequently, who booked through XL Holidays are ATOL protected and will continue to enjoy their holidays or get refunds, while those who booked flights with XL airways are not, and will get nothing back.
What this example shows us is the benefit to consumers of making holiday plans through a tour operator. Insolvency aside, there are additional benefits to booking through a tour operator if the holiday turns out to be a disappointment. Under the Package Holiday Regulations, you are now able to claim compensation from the tour operator in the event that something went wrong, was not as described or was not stated, which led to additional expense, disappointment, or distress. This means any problem with the flight, the hotel or the excursions, even if it could not have been the fault of the tour operator directly. It also includes situations whereby the reality was not what was depicted or described in the brochure or on the web.