My travel agency has gone bankrupt, what can I do?


Find out if your reservation will continue

If you haven’t traveled yet, your first action should be to contact the travel agent to ensure your booking is in place. If the travel agent you booked through goes bankrupt, it shouldn’t affect your travel plans.

If you can’t reach them, contact your tour operator or accommodation/flight provider to verify that they have recorded your booking.

If your booking goes ahead, your travel arrangements should not be affected. It is important to keep all your booking information and keep track of your correspondence.

You can contact the ABTA Complaints Information Desk for advice and assistance.


Tip: check with several companies

If a travel agency or tour company goes bankrupt, it’s always best to check several places to see if your booking can go through.

  • If your travel agent goes bankrupt, contact your tour operator, accommodation provider and/or flight/airline provider.
  • If you booked through a travel agency and your tour operator goes bankrupt, contact your agent for assistance.
  • If you have booked with a company that has gone out of business and that company is a member of ABTA, you may be able to make a financial claim.

Find out if your booking is covered

Atol protection applies to most overseas air travel booked through UK travel agents.

If you are covered by Atol, your travel agency should have given you an Atol certificate when you made your reservation.

Read our guide to how to know if your holiday is protected by Atolif you are not sure.

Package tours

The Package Travel and Related Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 require package tour operators to protect your money and take you home if necessary.

  • A travel package is when you book more than part of your vacation through the same travel agent or website.

If the company with which you have booked any of these services is a member of the Approval of air travel organizers (Atol) plan, your money will be protected.

Linked travel services

  • A linked travel arrangement is when you purchase part of your vacation and then are prompted to purchase another part via a click within 24 hours.

Linked travel arrangements are not covered by Atol but have other insolvency protections.

Key information

Will my package holiday still be covered after Brexit?

You will still have the same rights and protections on your package holiday after Brexit, unless the government decides to change the law in the future.

Read our guide to how Brexit could impact consumer rights for more information.

How to make an Atol claim

You may be able to apply for the plan if:

  • You have booked a trip that you need to take in the future, but the Atol holder has since stopped trading
  • The Atol holder has stopped trading while you are overseas resulting in your trip being cut short or your return flight to the UK being canceled

Make an Atol claim for a future booking

If you received an Atol certificate when you made your reservation, read it carefully – it explains who protects your trip and what to do.

You will need to establish the type of Atol-protected trip you have been booked for before completing a claim form.

The information released by the CAA on the failed Atol holder will explain what information they need to refund you.

As long as your trip is protected, you won’t lose out – the CAA always aims to refund you for the unused portions of your trip protected by Atol.

Make an Atol claim if you are currently abroad

If you received an Atol certificate when you made your reservation, read it carefully – it explains who protects your trip and what to do.

The CAA will do everything possible to ensure that you can complete and enjoy your trip without interruption.

Information explaining the arrangements that will be made for you to complete your trip and return home is available on the CAA’s Latest Atol Holder Failures Page.

You must select the corresponding Failed Atol holder for details.

If you are having difficulty abroad, call the CAA on +44 (0) 333 103 6350. They will explain the situation to you and discuss your options.

Flight arrangements only

The Civil Aviation (Air Travel Operators Licensing) Regulations 2012 are overseen by the CAA and require tour operators selling flights only to protect your money and bring you home if necessary.

This protection does not apply to flights purchased directly from an airline.

Flight arrangements only purchased through a travel agency are not always protected by the Atol program. You should always ask.

Where travel arrangements are not already protected, most ABTA members will be able to arrange protection using an appropriate insurance policy.

Keep the evidence If there is a protection system in place for your money, it is important that you obtain and keep all relevant documents so that you can claim your money back if necessary.

Section 75 Protection

You may also have a claim against your credit card company under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

To be eligible you must have paid over £100 for your flights or holiday and used your credit card to book direct with the tour operator or airline – this usually means it must be the airline or the holiday company listed on your credit card bill.

However, some credit card companies will refund you even if you paid through a travel agent and the agent’s name is on your credit card bill.

Alternatively, if the tour operator is a member of ABTA (The Travel Association), your money will be protected by the Association even though the credit card company is also liable, as long as there is a booking in place.

Chargeback system

If you paid by debit card, you can also claim through the Mastercard program and Visa Chargeback.

The Chargeback system allows you to ask your card provider to reverse a transaction on your debit card, or if you’ve spent less than £100 on a credit card. Unlike Section 75, it is not enshrined in law, but it is a scheme that most street banks subscribe to.

Travel insurance

It would also be a good idea to contact your travel insurance company.

Not all travel insurance policies will cover you in the event of the bankruptcy of a travel agency.

Be sure to check the fine print to ensure the policy includes end-supplier failure. This should cover you if the companies you’ve booked through – such as your airline, car rental company or accommodation provider – fail.

Learn more: Travel insurance for unforeseen events

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