This is a very sensible question to ask. In fact as more people ask it of themselves, the more they are turning to The Destination Lounge to book – because that way their hard-earned money is safe!
The Destination Lounge is a member of ABTA which means you have the benefit of ABTA's assistance and Code of Conduct. Many of the travel arrangements that we sell are protected in the unlikely event of our financial failure. Always ask us about the protection that applies to your booking.
Sounds great, but what does that mean to you? Essentially ABTA members pay a large amount of money to ABTA, who hold it in a bond, so if that company were to go bust, the funds are already secured to refund clients.
Don't be fooled into thinking The Destination Lounge is a risk because its small... As part of the Advantage Travel Partnership we have a huge company behind us, and therefore behind you and your holidays!
You can check our ABTA licence by clicking here to visit ABTA's own website. You'll see that we're part of The Advantage Travel Partnership: our Ilfracombe branch is under ABTA No.: P7162 and our South Molton Branch under ABTA No.: P7163.
The majority of holidays you book will also be protected by an ATOL licence. To quote their own website...
By law, every UK travel company which sells air holidays and flights is required to hold an ATOL, which stands for Air Travel Organiser’s Licence.
If a travel company with an ATOL ceases trading, the ATOL scheme protects customers who had booked holidays with the firm. It ensures they do not get stranded abroad or lose money.
The scheme is designed to reassure consumers that their money is safe, and will provide assistance in the event of a travel company failure.
ATOL was first introduced in 1973, as the popularity of overseas holidays grew. After a number of travel company failures left people stranded, the UK Government realised consumers required protection should firms in the unregulated travel sector fall into difficulties.
The scheme was designed to cover charter flights and package holidays, and functioned well for years. However, the holiday market has changed considerably and a rise in online booking means many people now book the components of their holidays separately.
As a result, changes were made to the ATOL scheme in April 2012. It now covers all overseas air holidays where a flight and accommodation have been booked together. It also covers some flights booked separately, and applies in some other circumstances too.
Funding and administration
ATOL is run by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). It is funded by contributions from the travel companies, who must pay £2.50 into the scheme for each person they book on a holiday.
This money creates a fund that is used by the CAA to ensure consumers either complete their holiday or – if they cannot get away – receive a full refund.
The tour operator your holiday is booked with is the one who holds the ATOL licence. For example, you may have booked a holiday to Jamaica through the Destination Lounge (and gotten a fantastic deal, no doubt!), and your tour operator may be Virgin Holidays. Virgin Holidays' ATOL licence is the one that protects you if they went bust - it would protect your money and if you're in Jamaica at the time would let you finish your holiday and get you back home again.
The Destination Lounge uses ATOL bonded tour operators. If you're unsure if what you're booking is ATOL protected, just ask us!
Stuck behind a cloud of ash!
This year has seen some major upheaval for travelers as a result of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, that closed vast areas of airspace and dashed holiday dreams across the UK. This was when people really started to realise that booking through an agent such as The Destination Lounge was a bright idea.
1. What if I can't travel because of an Ash Cloud?
If you are unfortunate enough to be travelling on a day when an Ash Cloud forces airport closures you would not lose any money if you have booked a holiday package through The Destination Lounge - your money is protected and would be fully refunded. If, however, you have booked your holiday yourself with flights, accommodation and transfers all booked separately, you may find that you lose some or all of your money.
Where possible your tour operator will offer you a suitable alternative time to travel.
2. What if I'm stuck abroad because of an Ash Cloud?
If you find you're return flight has been cancelled because an Ash Cloud has forced airport closures, you will instantly find yourself in the hands of your tour operator who will make sure that you're looked after until they can get you home.
Different operators work differently from one-another. Some will cover more expenses than others, but they will all make sure you've got a roof over your head, food in your tummy and that you're flying home as soon as possible.
Grounded by a strike!
As well as Ash Clouds, 2010 & 11 has been beset by striking by BA cabin crew which has caused plenty of disruption, but mostly doubt and uncertainty in 'The World's Favourite Airline'.
The same applies here as with the Ash Cloud. Your tour operator will look after you - either by rescheduling, or refunding your money if you can't fly, or by keeping you fed and watered while they try to get you home ASAP!