Law guide: Complaints and disputes

See how we helped Liz

"It's not just a website... there are people there on call who can help answer your queries."

Liz W, London

Financial protection

Financial protection

Air Travel Organisers' Licensing scheme

If you booked your flight within the UK and it is part of a package holiday, your money is protected if:

  • You bought a ticket from an airline that has gone bankrupt and stopped flying; or
  • Your tour operator or travel agent goes bankrupt before paying your money to the airline.

However, how your money is protected will depend on where the organiser of the holiday is established. If they're based in the UK your money must be protected under the Civil Aviation Authority's Air Travel Organisers' Licensing (ATOL) scheme. However, if the organiser is established in another country in the European Economic Area, it must be protected under the law of that country.

In these cases, your money is protected by law under the Civil Aviation Authority's Air Travel Organisers' Licensing (ATOL) scheme.

ATOL will also provide protection where:

  • You book flights where you don't immediately get your tickets, e.g. with charter flights;
  • Your holiday involves at least one flight to or from the UK; or
  • You've booked a discounted scheduled flight.

For more information, see Consumer bodies for holiday complaints.

Arranging your own financial protection

If your ticket money isn't otherwise protected, you can protect yourself financially by:

  • Making sure that your travel insurance policy covers scheduled airline failure; and
  • Buying your ticket with a credit card – if the payment is more than £100 then you'll be able to claim your money back from the credit card company under the Consumer Credit Act.

No protection

If your money isn't protected, you'll be an 'unsecured creditor' of the bankrupt airline company. This means that you won't get paid until after all the secured creditors (those with a charge/mortgage) have been paid.

You'll need to contact the bankruptcy administrators to register your interest in getting your share of any money that is left over after the secured creditors get their money.

You can get contact details for the administrator from The Insolvency Service in England and Wales, or the DETI Insolvency Service in Northern Ireland.

If you're already on holiday

Some airlines offer 'repatriation fares' for stranded passengers. These are usually available only by phoning the airline directly.

Copyright © 2024 Epoq Group Ltd. All trademarks acknowledged, all rights reserved

This website is operated by Epoq Legal Ltd, registered in England and Wales, company number 3707955, whose registered office is at 2 Imperial Place, Maxwell Road, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, WD6 1JN. Epoq Legal Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA number 645296).

Our use of cookies

We use necessary cookies to make our site work. We would also like to set some optional cookies. We won't set these optional cookies unless you enable them. Please choose whether this site may use optional cookies by selecting 'On' or 'Off' for each category below. Using this tool will set a cookie on your device to remember your preferences.

For more detailed information about the cookies we use, see our Cookie notice.

Necessary cookies

Necessary cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility. You may disable these by changing your browser settings, but this may affect how the website functions.

Functionality cookies

We'd like to set cookies to provide you with a better customer experience. For more information on these cookies, please see our cookie notice.