The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has adverts in national newspapers this weekend urging people booking summer holidays over Easter to ensure they get an Atol certificate.

The CAA will run adverts in The Mirror, Sun, Daily and Sunday Express, Mail on Sunday, People and Daily Record on Saturday and Sunday, with online adverts continuing on Easter Monday.

It is the final throw of the consumer awareness campaign launched at the start of the peak booking period immediately after Christmas.

The CAA published new research this morning suggesting some holidaymakers are taking “huge risks” when booking trips abroad.

The study found:

  • Nearly half (46%) of people are more concerned with getting the cheapest deal than they are about protecting their hard-earned holiday
  • More than a third (37%) don’t fully understand the benefit of Atol protection.
  • Almost one in five (17%) never read the small print when they book a holiday

The regulator believes many British holidaymakers could be tempted to book deals without Atol protection this Easter and is urging them to take steps to check for protection.

Atol spokesman David Clover said: “Whilst it is understandable that nearly half of UK adults are more concerned with getting the cheapest deal than making sure they are financially protected, there’s a real risk people could leave themselves open to losing their money if something goes wrong with their booking.

“But holidaymakers can easily avoid this risk by booking an Atol protected holiday. Doing this will guarantee their money is safe and they won’t be left stranded abroad – even if their travel company goes bust.”

More than 170,000 refunds have been issued to customers whose Atol-protected travel company has collapsed in the last three years, with over 60,000 Britons brought home from abroad.