You’ve worked hard and saved your pennies. Now it’s time to book your family on a well earned holiday flight. The thing is, a couple of travel companies have been looking a little bit airsick lately. There’s talk of Brexit turbulence and profits dropping out of the sky. It’s enough to make you think twice before splashing out on overseas travel to an operator who might be underwater before your holiday’s even off the ground. Popular outfits from Thomas Cook to Easyjet have been reporting losses – so what are your options if your travel firm nosedives after your money’s been spent? The answer, predictably enough, is “it depends”.

Package Holidays

For one thing, ATOL might be able to throw you a lifeline. If you’ve bought a package deal that includes a flight, then you’re covered by the Air Travel Organiser’s Licence system if your travel company goes out of business.

If your trip’s still a way off, you’ll be able to claim a suitable replacement holiday or even a full refund. If you’re already on holiday when the sky falls, you’ll still be able to get the time away you’ve paid for and a flight home.

DIY Holiday Arrangements

The rules can be a little fiddlier if you’ve put your own “package” together. DIY packages like this can still be covered by ATOL, but it depends on a few things. For instance, it can make a difference if you bought all the parts of your DIY package together from the same site at the same time. If it’s all in the same transaction, then you should be completely covered.

Even if you bought your flight, hotel room and so on separately, you might still get some protection. If it was all from the same shop or website visit, or all in a single phone call, you can be covered for most things. The same goes if the company got back to you inside 24 hours to sell you additional elements (called a “linked travel arrangement”).

This won’t help much if your hotel or airline stops trading, but you’ll be covered if the actual travel company you dealt with does. Obviously, if you went your own way completely when sorting out your holiday plans, you’re probably out of luck if the worst happens.

Separate Air Travel Bookings

Not every package includes a flight, of course. A lot of people book air travel separately from the bulk of their holiday arrangements. Again, the level of protection you get depends on your circumstances.

For packages without a flight, you’ll probably be dealing with ABTA, rather than ATOL. You can still get a refund through ABTA, or get home if you’re already overseas when the wheels come off.

If you’ve booked your flight separately, chances are you won’t be able to rely on ATOL for coverage (with a few exceptions). Depending on how you paid, though, you might be able to chase up a refund through a chargeback on your payment card, or through the Consumer Credit Act.

Travel Insurance

Obviously, travel insurance is always a good investment against disasters like this. You’ve got to look closely at what you’re covered for, but it can still be useful for things that aren’t already covered by ATOL or ABTA. Whichever scheme you end up claiming through, you’ll obviously only get the specific protections you’re entitled to. Extra stuff you’ve arranged yourself won’t be part of your basic coverage.

Hopefully, that should calm a few pre-flight jitters.

Wherever you’re headed this summer, stay safe and have a great holiday.

If you're still saving up for your break, check if you're due a tax refund. You could be due an average of £2,500 back for your first claim and many customers tell us they put the Monday towards a much needed holiday. If you've claimed with us before and not started your claim again this year then what are you waiting for? Refunds are up around 9% on last year, on average, and you don't want to miss out on what's yours.

We’ll be waiting when you get back to answer tax questions, solve tax problems and claim tax refunds. See you soon!