FAMILIES are being warned to use their holiday vouchers by next summer, as more than £130m will no longer be protected if the tour operator goes bust.
Thousands of Brits were forced to delay their trips during the pandemic, due to last minute travel restrictions and cancelled flights.
Many tour operators gave vouchers to use for a new holiday instead of a refund, as a bid to stay afloat due to missing out on millions of pounds in lost travel.
However, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) who initially approved the use of issuing travel vouchers and confirmed they would be ATOL protected, has said this will end from December 19.
Tour operators and airlines must then offer refunds instead, and new vouchers issued will no longer be ATOL protected – and cannot be exchanged for a refund.
Anyone with existing credit vouchers – issued between March 10, 2020 and December 19, 2021 – will have to use them by next summer, or they won’t be ATOL protected either.
The CAA explain: “All Refund Credit Notes (RCNs) will need to be redeemed with the issuing ATOL holder for either cash or against a new booking by 30 September 2022.
“In the event of an ATOL holder failure, the ATT, subject to the terms of the Payment Policy, will only consider claims for payment of the unredeemed RCNs if the failure occurs on or before 30 September 2022.
“After this date, all RCNs will cease to be ATOL protected.
Michael Budge, head of ATOL, which is run by the CAA, said: “With over £130million of ATOL refund credit notes yet to be redeemed, and international travel opening up again, we want to remind consumers to redeem any unused credits to make sure they do not lose out.
“Refund credit notes have been a fantastic tool to reassure consumers and support the industry.
“The decision to end the scheme reflects the changing of international travel restrictions with significantly increased demand from consumers over recent months due to the opening up of more destinations.”
There are some bargains to be found if you need to use them next year – Jet2 and easyJet are adding thousands more seats to Greece, meaning holidays will be much cheaper.
Here is everything you need to know about your holidays in 2022 from new EU visas to passport rules.
Brits could have to pay to rearrange flights next year, even if plans are interrupted by the pandemic.
The vast majority of airlines have waived their cancellation fees or brought in policies that mean you can swap your flights for free.
But now airlines are rethinking their policies, meaning unexpected disruption due to the ongoing pandemic could prove very expensive.