CAA to bring in £25 Atol refund fee

The Air Travel Trust that backs the Atol consumer financial protection scheme will charge a Flight-Plus agent £25 a time for refunding customers following the loss of an Atol-protected flight – the first time the trust has charged for refunds.

The £25 charge is detailed in the annex to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Atol Reform Information Paper issued on Monday, which states: “The trustees consider this a reasonable cost. The typical charge is unlikely to be more than the commission payments or booking fees agents earn on flight-only bookings.”

David Moesli, deputy director of the CAA consumer protection group, said: “The trustees have to cover the costs if people want money back. Whenever the trust pays out a claim there are costs of collection.”

The paper confirms the Air Travel Trust will ‘contribute’ to a Flight-Plus agent’s costs for rebooking a client if a flight supplier fails, but do so according to a formula that Moesli said “will mean different things to different businesses”.

Contributions will be “capped at 2% of annual licensed revenue…subject to a minimum of £50,000 and an upper limit of £2.5 million”.

The paper provides clarification on the Atol Certificate, with the CAA seeking agreement on the format and content by the end of this year. The certificate will appear uniform, but differ in content.

A package certificate will include passengers’ names, information about the package and a booking reference. A Flight-Plus certificate will need names and “full details of what is protected, including price and booking references”.

Where car hire is added to a package, “the Flight-Plus arranger will issue an Atol certificate and the package organiser provide a Schedule of Information”. A flight-only certificate must state there will be no refunds where a sale has been made as agent for the consumer.

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