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Passenger protection boost
Jun 24th, 2011 by jason

Compensation for passengers bumped off over-booked flights in the USA is to be increased. New laws due this August will also make airlines reimburse passengers for lost luggage and aim to shorten delays before takeoff.

“Airline passengers have a right to be treated fairly,” said US transport secretary Ray LaHood, adding that passengers deserve more respect. When the new rules take effect, passengers who are refused entry to a flight despite having a valid reservation will be entitled to between $650 and $1,330, up from the previous $600 maximum.

Airlines will have to include taxes and fees in their prices and clearly display any potential extra charges on their websites. They will also be fined heavily if they keep passengers on an international flight sitting on the tarmac for more than four hours.

Meanwhile, back in the UK transport minister Theresa Villiers said that by 2013 scheduled airlines could be forced to offer the same ATOL financial protection against the airline going bust that charter airline passengers currently enjoy.

The Government is already reforming the ATOL scheme, with the first upgrade due next year when it will be extended to cover travel agents who put together their own packages. But protection against scheduled airlines going out of business would be far more radical, requiring new legislation.

“We are looking at wider reform for ATOLs to see if there is a possibility of bringing scheduled airlines into the scheme,” said Mrs Villiers, adding that any new legislation would have to wait until 2012/13.

 

More travel companies to fail?
Oct 25th, 2010 by jason

The collapse of Greece and Turkey holiday specialist Goldtrail in July won’t be the last this year, say travel industry experts.

Nick Harris of law firm Simpson Millar, which specialises in travel compensation claims, says companies in difficulty will often survive during the summer when business is good.

It is usually in the autumn when travel firms go bust. The timing of the Goldtrail failure is concerning but I doubt it will be the only travel business to face closure in 2010.

There is concern about the growing number of holidays created by ‘dynamic packaging’, where agents or operators put together what looks like a package holiday by buying the different elements – mainly flights and accommodation – separately. Some such providers are not accredited by ATOL, ABTA or the CAA, leaving travellers with no or limited protection if the company goes bust.

My advice to travellers is to avoid dynamic packaging where possible, said Mr Harris, or make sure that providers are accredited and have a solid reputation.

What this means for anyone booking a villa holiday is that it’s best either to buy a complete package from a villa specialist, with ATOL or ABTA accreditation, or else to book the flight and villa separately yourself, ensuring the flight provider is covered by ATOL accreditation.

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