Confusion over ATOL protection on flight-only bookings led to agents being left out of pocket by the collapse of Scottish operator Globespan last year.

It has emerged some agents believed flight-only bookings with Globespan were ATOL-protected, when actually only package holidays were covered.

Travel Trust Association (TTA) operations director Gary Lewis said it was his understanding the operator removed its flight-only from ATOL protection last year and was slow to update the trade.

However, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) denied this, saying Globespan’s flight-only had never come under ATOL, but admitted the position had not been clear. 

A spokesman said the confusion stemmed from the ATOL logo being used on Globespan’s website and brochures, giving agents the impression that all its products were covered.

The CAA spokesman added it was within companies’ rights to display an ATOL logo on their site, even if not every product is included. “It is important that agents and consumers check the terms and conditions,” he said.

ABTA chairman John McEwan said this highlighted the need for airlines to be brought under the financial protection regime.

“If there is an ATOL logo, there should be no question in the customer’s mind that their money is safe,” he said.

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