UK holidaymakers benefit from CAA’s ‘Pack Peace of Mind’ campaign

More holidaymakers are financially protecting their holidays and are benefiting from Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) ‘Pack Peace of Mind’ campaign, according to a research by the CAA, the UK’s specialist aviation regulator.

The ‘Pack Peace of Mind’ campaign seeks to spread awareness and understanding of ATOL certification among holidaymakers as they book their trips abroad. In its third year, the campaign was redesigned in 2015, with new imagery created around a family of animated suitcases and the use of television advertising for the first time.

Following this year’s campaign, the CAA commissioned market research with a representative sample of 1,500 consumers from across all regions of the UK.

The research found that an increasing number of people are now well informed about the benefits of booking an ATOL protected holiday. More tourists are now financially protecting their holidays abroad against travel company failure – 71 per cent said they protected their last holiday, up from 64 per cent in 2014. And 83 per cent are planning to financially protect their next holiday abroad as compared with 75 per cent in 2014.

David Moesli, the CAA’s Deputy Director of Consumer Protection, said: ‘With more holidaymakers now solely researching and booking online and with some overseas travel companies selling into the UK, it is vital consumers know what to look out for when booking their holidays.

‘Our research shows people are actively checking for protection before they book and we want to build on this – working in partnership with industry so we can ensure consumers know the facts through clear, easy-to-understand information and can book their holiday with peace of mind.’

Featured in a short animated video, the family-focused ‘Pack Peace of Mind’ campaign aims to encourage households to look beyond the price and check their air holiday is ATOL protected before they book. It stretched across a variety of media including newspapers, magazines and social media and was covered on radio and television news.

CAA also conducted a survey with ATOL holding travel agents and tour operators, which found that tour operators and travel agents considered the campaign to be effective in getting the message across in a fun away.

 

UK holidaymakers advised on importance of ATOL protected holidays

As holidaymakers look to book their summer breaks in the early part of 2015, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the UK’s specialist aviation regulator, has advised UK holidaymakers on the need and importance of booking ATOL protected holidays.

An ATOL – Air Travel Organiser’s Licence – protected holiday confirms that the trip is financially protected, even if the travel company or one of its suppliers fails or ceases to operate. Passengers booking ATOL-protected holidays will receive an ATOL certificate from their travel company on making the payment. Passengers will be required to carry the certificate during their travel to avoid losing their money or being left stranded abroad in case of any eventuality.

The advice comes after the collapse of Airliner Ltd – a Northwood, London-based travel company specialising in flight/cruise trips. When Airliner Limited ceased trading on January 22, it had around 500 forward bookings. While the collapse could have resulted in financial loses to customers, those with ATOL certificates are covered from any financial loss.

Andy Cohen, Head of ATOL at the CAA, said: ‘The collapse of Airliner Ltd is a timely reminder of why it is so important for people to check they will receive an ATOL certificate when they book their holidays. Thanks to the ATOL scheme, the company’s customers will have peace of mind that their money is safe. However, it could have been a different story if those customers had booked a trip without ATOL protection.

‘Booking an unprotected holiday could leave you out of pocket or stranded abroad if something goes wrong with your travel company. So if you are looking for a bargain air holiday in the early year sales, it is essential people check to make sure they will get an ATOL protection and receive an ATOL certificate before they hand over any money.’

The CAA, which runs the ATOL scheme on behalf of the Government, has published advice for anyone affected by the collapse of Airliner Ltd on its website, and a claim form is on the CAA website.

The CAA also cautions holidaymakers that travel companies trading in the UK do not all provide ATOL protection. More information on the ATOL scheme, including checking whether a company provides ATOL protection, is available at www.packpeaceofmind.co.uk.

 

Winter sun and summer sun all wrapped up in one travel insurance policy

With summer in the UK coming to an end and the economic gloom persisting, many great offers on winter sunshine breaks are coming on the market, to beat the seasonal blues and tightened budgets.

The travel industry seems to want to stretch the horizons of people seeking a winter break, with the availability and popularity of more remote, unspoilt getaways being heavily promoted. Alongside the traditional Spanish sun seeking destinations, there are great offers for Africa, the Indian Ocean, Asia and the Caribbean.

Travel insurance specialist, World First Travel Insurance is also encouraging holiday makers to re-think how they book their travel insurance too. Rather than taking insurance for a single trip, they are encouraging people to consider buying an annual multi-trip policy as it is often much more cost effective. Turning a single trip policy into an annual policy may cost less than £30, so it is always worth asking your insurer to quote for both. If you decide to take advantage of the many exotic holiday offers the cost of insurance certainly won’t hold you back. Worldwide annual policies with World First Travel Insurance start from £50

Martin Rothwell, Managing Partner at World First Travel Insurance says, “In the current economic climate getting value for money is essential for consumers.  With travel insurance, very often the best way to save money is to think ahead and anticipate when and where and with whom you might travel so you can buy an annual policy.”

Standard annual policies can cover travel abroad for up to 31 or 62 days at a time and the number of trips you can take is unlimited.

There is still plenty of flexibility if you a buy an annual travel policy and your plans change. You can add different regions to you policy mid-term, if, for example you start with a Worldwide policy excluding the USA, Canada and Caribbean but then decide to travel to the States, this can be added at any point.  You can increase your cover according to what you plan to do, such as adding scuba-diving and watersports to a policy.  Or similarly, if the value of what you might take with you increases, for example you want to take your laptop so you can stay in touch with friends and family back home while you are on your remote island getaway, you can increase your cover.

An annual policy provides peace of mind and one less thing to do whenever you decide to take a break, knowing that you have your insurance sorted when you book trips in advance or decide upon a quick getaway during the year.

40% of travellers embark on water sports without checking insurance

Leading online travel essentials provider, Essential Travel has launched a summer water sports safety campaign after research revealed that 40% of holidaymakers indulge in water sports activities abroad without checking if they have adequate insurance first.

Essential Travel’s “Sea Sense” campaign, which is being fronted by British Kite Surfing Champion, Kirsty Jones, encourages sun-seekers to plan ahead by offering 10% off all travel insurance policies.

Every year there are numerous reports of water related accidents from jet skiing, and surfing to scuba accidents. Stuart Bensusan of Essential Travel comments: “Often people on holiday throw caution to the wind when actually it’s the time to be most vigilant.”

In a recent in-house survey conducted by the travel insurance specialist, 40% of customers admitted to embarking on dangerous water sports activities while abroad without knowing if they had sufficient insurance.

In addition 56% confessed that they had been caught up in the holiday spirit and taken part in an unplanned water sports activity, demonstrating that it’s not just those who go on pre-planned water sports holidays who need to think about cover.

Bensusan, continued: “This is an incredible risk to take if you consider that the accident rate to UK citizens traveling abroad has doubled in the past 4 years with water sports being one of the main culprits”.

“We are trying to encourage consumers to really think about the risks involved in undertaking water activities abroad”.

“Many policies are invalidated if the correct equipment isn’t worn or when alcohol has been consumed. Many also don’t realize that if they are taking part in a sporting activity numerous times during their holiday they may need to increase their sports cover level.”

Even experts aren’t immune from accidents. Last year saw Britain’s Kite Surfing Champion, Kirsty Jones, save thousands of pounds after a serious kite surfing accident in Mauritius which rendered her with an operation for reconstructive surgery on her knee.

Jones comments: “As a professional athlete one of my greatest fears has always been injury. Whether a beginner or an experienced water sports enthusiast, Sea Sense is about having respect for the ocean, elements, other water users and your own limitations. This means pausing to observe, think and acknowledge when the conditions seem too dangerous for you. Sometimes courage is about having the strength and sense to hold back, respecting the ocean instead of trying to fight with it.”

Lynda St Cooke from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “Check the small print of your travel insurance policy to be sure that it covers all water sports activities. It’s all too easy to make a spur of the moment decision to hop on a jet-ski or hire a boat for the day, and realise too late that you’re not covered. Then you risk extortionate medical bills if something goes wrong. We see many cases of British nationals who have ended up saddled with a massive debt at the end of their holiday because their policy didn’t cover them for the activities they took part in. Visit www.fco.gov.uk/travel for more information on travel insurance and preparing for a holiday abroad.”

Essential Travel has launched a Sea Sense microsite in a bid to educate consumers about the potential risks involved. The site includes interviews with water sporting professionals such as Will Hayler, founder of the Ticket to Ride Group and championship Kite Surfer, Kirsty Jones. There is also the opportunity to win free kite surfing lessons with Kirsty Jones which will be hosted at the Ticket to Ride Surf Academy in Perranporth.

Customers can save 10% on insurance policies by accessing them via this educational site.

Southwest Airlines Updates ‘Act of God’ List to Include Equipment Breakdowns

American budget air carrier Southwest Airlines certainly knows how to stand out. The inexpensive carrier has spent the last twelve months giving its flight attendants rapping duties, shunning charges for bags and other carry-on items, and finally revamping its fleet to include bigger, better, and more efficient planes. But its latest move – a small contract addition– could be the strangest of all.

Southwest’s latest policy change reflects its ability to claim certain expenses under insurance, and to subsequently reimburse them to passengers. Up until two weeks ago, the airline could give credit to passengers with delayed flights due to mechanical damage, owing to the fact that it tends to occur due to routine maintenance failures and poor treatment of technology.

But today, the airline’s new ‘act of god’ policy includes delays due to mechanical breakdowns. The airline now has the dubious honour of having its reliability controlled by a deity – something that’s upsetting passengers and insurance companies. While Southwest’s current contract is completely legal – it’s just a simple wording change – the edit could see customers lose out on future claims.

Is it likely to be a major blow for the air travel industry? Unlikely. While Southwest’s recent move may seem like a nickel-and-dime strategy most often seen on RyanAir, the company itself is known for being fairly generous with extra fees. Customers aren’t charged for carry-on baggage or smaller additional bags – something that attracts extra fees on rival airline Spirit Air.

However, it does put travellers in an unusual position. Should a flight be delayed on Southwest’s air services, the reason may not read ‘damaged pump’ but ‘vengeance of God’. While it’s bound to make insurance claims a little more interesting, it may do more damage to Southwest’s reputation than it saves the airline in eliminated reimbursement costs.

Buying Travel Insurance? Watch Out For Limited Coverage

There’s no shortage of confusing deals in the travel insurance industry. From partial coverage to completely rotten agreements, the number of potential loopholes and justifications is miles long, and loaded with negative incentives. Needlessly complicated travel insurance policies are such an annoyance for travellers that they’re a top query for travel magazines, often with no real answers.

Navigating a travel insurance agreement can be a nightmare, which is why so many travellers end up skimming over their agreement before signing. The most vital part of any insurance agreement isn’t simplicity or perceived coverage, but understanding. Spend time surveying your documents and ensure that you’re adequately covered. If not, revise the contract with a travel insurance rep.

Partial injury coverage is one of the most frequent missed arrangements in any travel insurance deal. After spending time in a foreign hospital, many travellers are met with the news that they won’t be covered under their current policy due to the nature of the injury. For some, it’s due to involvement in a casual sport while overseas; for others it could simply be riding a motorcycle.

These minor misunderstandings happen alarmingly often, particularly amongst inexperienced travellers and seasoned insurance companies. Few travellers realise that insurance isn’t a ticket which guarantees complete coverage – merely an agreement that provides coverage under the agreed circumstances. Prevent disagreements by thoroughly reading any insurance documents.

Few travel insurance policies are perfect, and even fewer are likely to be tailored exactly to your needs. But at the same time many insurance companies are happy to work with you to work out what’s essential to your holiday. When your health is an issue, don’t leave it to chance or consider arguing against your policy – speak directly with your provider to ensure that you are covered.