The Travel Convention heard some serious criticism of the proposed change that would see all sales of a flight and at least one other significant element coming under Atol.
Although the move is supported by Abta, Kane Pirie, the newly appointed board director and Travel Republic managing director, called flight-plus “immoral”.
There are concerns that any agent doing Atol-to-Atol business or selling low-cost airlines under the new regime will be as liable as tour operators if an airline fails.
But due to the lower margins agents work on they will be less able to fund replacement flights than tour operators, and a failure could force them under.
Details of flight-plus are still to be made public by the Department for Transport and it is possible they could be drafted to ensure agents do not take on the same level of risk as operators.
Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority has admitted the rapid move to flight-plus is as much to do with widening the scope of Atol as it is to dealing with the Air Travel Trust Fund deficit.
The CAA has also unveiled plans for an Atol Certificate to go to every customer who books a protected holiday.
The certificate will be a single, standard document – A4 size or smaller – supplied at the same time as a booking reference and holiday details, setting out clearly what is protected by Atol. It should replace all existing paperwork.
- For more on the Travel Convention go to travelweekly.co.uk/tc2010