Travellers to lose ATOL protection if refund credit notes for cancelled holidays aren’t used in days

A final reminder has been issued to holidaymakers to take action within days.

Travellers with unspent credit notes for cancelled holidays risk losing refund money if they don’t redeem them by the end of this month.

More than £30 million in refund credit notes (RNCs) remain unspent after the Covid pandemic caused major disruption to travel.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority has now issued a final reminder to consumers to use their credit note or request a cash refund by 30 September 2022, when they lose ATOL protection.

The regulator has also written to some of the UK’s biggest travel companies to remind them of their obligations to customers still holding unspent refund credit notes.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority has now issued a final reminder to use refund credit notes (Photo: Getty Images)

Holidaymakers urged to act now

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ATOL protected refund credit notes were issued for flight inclusive package trips booked in the UK that were cancelled due to the pandemic.

The ATOL protection provides support so that consumers are not at a financial loss if a travel company stops trading as an ATOL holder.

Consumers were legally entitled to cash refunds within 14 days for package holidays cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis. However, many travel firms offered RCNs as an alternative to help their cash flow during the widespread disruption.

The CAA is now urging those with unspent credit notes to either make another ATOL protected booking, or request a cash refund from the travel company the trip was booked with before 30 September.

If you are still holding a refund credit note after this date, you will not be able to make a claim through the ATOL scheme if that travel company stops trading as an ATOL holder, meaning you risk losing out on the money you have already paid for a holiday.

Michael Budge, head of ATOL, which is run by the CAA, said: “Millions of holidaymakers have missed out on travel over the past two years, with many being offered refund credit notes during the pandemic.

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“As demand for travel continues to grow again, we want to make sure consumers are making the most of the financial protection available to them.

“If you have a refund credit note, make an Atol-protected booking or request a refund well before September 30 to avoid putting your money at risk.”

Will my refund credit note expire after the end of September?

Refund credit notes will not necessarily expire at the end of September, as the expiry date for the note will depend on the travel company.

However, refund credit notes will lose their ATOL protection after 30 September 2022. This means if a company stops trading as an ATOL holder, customers will not receive their money back even if they hold a refund credit note.

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If customers do redeem the value of a credit note on or after 1 October for a new holiday and the travel company stops trading after this date, none of the value of the refund credit note used to pay for the trip will be refunded.