Collapse highlights complicated system of protection

The collapse of tour operator Sun4U highlights the ultra-complicated system of protection for holidaymakers.

In most cases when a holiday company goes down the financial plughole, those abroad, and those with forward bookings, are covered.



This protection comes in the form of the Civil Aviation Authority-run Atol (Air Travel Organisers' Licensing) system or a bond provided to travel organisation Abta.



But the difficulty for travellers comes when they book a flight-only or an accommodation-only deal as these may not be financially protected.



In Sun4U's case, the company not only sold packages involving flights - which would be protected - but also sold flight-only and accommodation-only deals.



To add to the difficulties for passengers caught up in the Sun4U collapse, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has said that even those Atol-protected customers could find themselves having to pay twice for the same accommodation.



The CAA has also warned that those Sun4U holidaymakers who have just arrived abroad could find their airport transfers and accommodation unavailable.



This is the advice that the CAA has published for Sun4U customers:



THOSE ABROAD

The CAA will ensure air holiday package Atol-protected customers can complete their holidays and fly home.

Customers should check in for their flights home as normal. Customers due to fly back on scheduled and no-frill carrier flights should be able to travel as planned and should check in as normal.

Hotels and accommodation agents may require customers who are abroad on holiday to pay again for their accommodation. Customers protected under Sun4U's Atol will be able to claim this back from the CAA.



OTHER ARRANGEMENTS FOR CUSTOMERS ABROAD

Sun4U also sold holidays and flights as agents for other tour operators and airlines. These holidays should be unaffected. If in doubt, customers should speak to their tour operator.

Sun4U also sold accommodation only. Customers who are unable to remain in their accommodation or have been asked to pay again, should contact their credit card issuer, Visa bank card issuer or travel insurer about whether they can obtain a refund.



CUSTOMERS JUST ARRIVING

Those who have airport transfer or accommodation problems are advised to make their own arrangements if they are able to and send a claim to the CAA when they return home. The accommodation supplier may be willing to accept a CAA guarantee for their accommodation. The accommodation supplier should contact the CAA for advice.

This advice does not apply to customers who booked just accommodation with Sun4U or have a holiday booked with another tour operator.



CUSTOMERS WITH FORWARD BOOKINGS

Because the company acted in a number of different capacities, it is important customers establish whether they can continue to travel or should make a claim. Customers should be able to check who they contracted with by checking the invoice/receipt they received when they booked and paid.

Customers who contracted with Sun4U under ATOL 9251 (which should be shown on their invoice) are advised not to travel but instead should make a claim for a refund. Customers who decide to travel do so at their own risk.

Where customers have invoices/receipts showing the supplier/principal as another company, it is likely that Sun4U acted as an Abta travel agent. Customers should contact the supplier/principal about the status of their booking. If they are unable to travel or need advice, they should contact Abta.

Where customers have booked just accommodation with Sun4U, these arrangements are not covered by ATOL and may not be covered by ABTA. If an accommodation supplier is identified, customers are advised to contact the supplier to establish the status of their booking. If they are unable to use the booked accommodation, they should speak to their credit card issuer, Visa bank card issuer or travel insurer about whether they can obtain a refund.



HELPFUL NUMBERS

Customers abroad on a Sun4U holiday package who require urgent assistance should call 00 44 (0) 161 444 5810

Sun4U holiday package holiday customers who are due to travel on holiday and need advice should call 08445 717260.

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