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Kiss Flights collapse

Demise of Kiss Flights underlines need for travel protection

Aug 18, 2010

If holidaymakers heading abroad were in any doubt of the need to have their trips fully financially protected, then the collapse of London-based Kiss Flights should have convinced them.

Fortunately for the thousands already away on Kiss Flights-arranged trips and the thousands more with forward bookings, the company's operations were covered.

This financial protection came in the form of the Atol (Air Travel Organisers' Licensing) system which is run by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Under the Atol scheme, the CAA is able to arrange for Kiss Flights' customers to carry on with their foreign holidays and be flown home while offering compensation to those with forward bookings.

Normally, if people buy a package holiday which involves air travel they will be covered in the event of a company collapse.

The difficulty comes when a trip is not Atol-protected. For instance, some flight-only and some accommodation-only holidays will not be covered by the Atol scheme.

To make things even more complicated for confused consumers, their payment method may determine whether they are financially protected.

If people, say, book a flight-only trip and pay for it using a debit card then it is unlikely they will be covered should their airline cease trading.

However, if they have used a Visa debit card they will be covered, as they will if they use most credit cards.

These are the CAA arrangements for those caught up in the collapse of Kiss Flights and its owner Flight Options:

:: THOSE ABROAD - There are around 13,000 people currently overseas. All of them will be able to complete their holidays and return to the UK. Flight Options sold charter flights to Mediterranean destinations, under Atol number 4233, mainly through travel agents. The CAA will be arranging repatriation for all Flight Options customers in line with the scheduled end of their holiday. They should check-in for return flights as normal;

:: THOSE WITH FORWARD BOOKINGS - These total around 60,000 and they will be able to claim a full refund for the Atol-protected elements of their holidays from the CAA. These people should not travel on booked holidays after 6pm today but instead make a claim;

:: THOSE DUE TO FLY TODAY - Flight Options/Kiss Flights' customers with flights leaving the UK before 6pm today will fly as planned. Passengers should go to the airport and check in as normal.

:: ARE PEOPLE PROTECTED? - In order for customers to determine whether they are Atol-protected or not, they should check that they booked a flight with Flight Options/Kiss Flights. To do this, customers should check the invoice/receipt received at the time the booking was made and paid for.

Demise of Kiss Flights underlines need for travel protection
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