Whether it is a getaway for the winter or the chance to make the most of summer most of us look forward to a relaxing holiday. However, what should be a great time can be a nightmare if the company you book with goes bust. In this article we will look at what you are legally entitled to in the event of your travel company going bust.

ATOL protection

ATOL stands for the Air Travel Organiser’s License. Essentially it is an insurance by an airline or travel company to ensure that in the event of a company going bust you can get your money back (or a flight home if you are on holiday at the time).

You should check this before booking flights, accommodation or travel packages. Legally package holiday companies have to have ATOL protection although if you book different elements separately to save money you may not necessarily have this.

It is also important to keep hold of any ATOL documentation so you can prove what you are entitled to.

If you are not covered

If you choose to book with an airline without a package then it is possible to get “repatriation rates” with another company if you need to get home after an airline has gone bust. Sometimes this will be available as soon as a few hours after an airline has gone bust and flights can be available by telephone for as long as up to two weeks afterwards.


If you booked a flight with a bust airline through a different company, then it is worth contacting them as it may be possible to get a refund. If you booked using a Visa or credit card, then you should talk to your card issuer to discuss getting a refund.

For passengers flying from the Republic of Ireland you should talk to the Commission for Aviation Regulation to find out about their financial regulations and what protection they can offer you.

Find out more

As you can see in terms of compensation there are some grey areas and looking at what is or is not possible can be more complicated than it first appears. The most important thing is to contact the relevant companies and authorities as soon as possible. While it is a stressful time it is important to remain calm, dealing with the situation in a polite but firm way as the chances are the companies and authorities involved will be dealing with a significant number of cases like this.

If you are concerned about an airline going bust or want to know more about your options, then it is worth contacting our specialist legal team. We can discuss what options are available to you, giving you a realistic idea of what compensation packages could be available and what you are entitled to. Contact us at Larcomes today and we will be happy to talk about your individual circumstances in more detail and to see if you can get the help you need.