The CAA’s proposed standard terms unveiled this week clarified a lot of key points but mean there remains an enormous amount of work still to be achieved by April.
The document was well written and clarified a lot of points and although we should continue to aim for April we should decide which elements need to be implemented in a later second stage.
Having gone through the document in some detail, below is my point-by-point assessment of the document:
• CAA powers – The new terms really beef up CAA powers and are much more demanding on Atol holders in terms of what systems they need to maintain and report with.
To be fair this is not unreasonable in the new technology age, but may take time and will cost money to implement.
• Agent for the consumer – The CAA has completely missed the point. Most dynamic packaging involves with lowcost carriers which do not have Atols.
By removing financial protection from customers buying holidays with Atol holders via an agent who is acting as their customer all they have done is create confusion.
This may be deliberate as they claim that holidays are not covered if brought as an agent of the customer, but it is not factually correct.
• Business Travel – Once, in paragraph 3.1, it says it will exempt bookings made via a corporate body but then it contradicts itself in 3.5 when it says it cannot exempt bookings including flights since European package regulations do not allow it. I’m confused.
• Electronic Atol certificate – The CAA has not even started on its specification when this surely has to be the key document for Flight Plus providers operating via the internet. When will we get it?
• Validation of Certificates – There appears to be no process to validate a certificate so actually, in terms of repatriation, they are worthless.
This, however, is not a major issue since we should bring all customers back anyway, irrespective of how they bought the holiday.
• Pipeline monies – The CAA seem to want to dictate a lot of the terms of agency agreement to give them access to pipeline monies in a collapse.
I’m not sure if this is legal or will be accepted by credit card companies or other suppliers.
• Flight-only Atol cover – I Initially thought it was really good that the CAA changed its mind here, But;
* I think the removal of cover when Atol flights are brought as an agent of the consumer will confuse and does not do the job it was intended to.
* What gives the CAA the right to impose a £25 administration fee if agents cannot charge administration fees in a collapse? And what justification is there for the 2% of turnover restriction? I do not follow the logic. Why not 100% payment?
• ‘Package plus car hire’ Flight Plus – Really good we have been listened to and the full package is now covered.
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