When is a Duck not a Duck?
A spokesman from TUI (the owners of Thomson and First Choice) said this week that if a bird swims, quacks, waddles and looks like a duck then it must be a duck. The courts think otherwise. Most of you will never have heard of a company called Travel Republic but the result of a court action against it by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) might actually help travellers with better consumer protection for our flights and holidays.
At present, we are protected by the bonding scheme that CAA run through their ATOL scheme. If you buy a package holiday from a travel agent who carries an ATOL number you are protected in the event of the tour operator going bust. But if you separately buy a flight and accommodation you are not covered.
CD-Traveller has mentioned time and time again to the point of tedium that better protection is required for the traveller. Endless conferences, meetings and consultations have taken place. The EU is considering it but nothing happens. Maybe this will be a belated spur. Without going into the judgement, what it means is that some travellers who thought they might be protected may not be so. Do check. Buying a flight and accommodation at the same time from one supplier may not give you protection.
Amidst this confusion, it would be nice if the CAA, the EU and Uncle Tom Cobley and all got off their hands and did something instead of talking. But how many times has that been said over the last few years. And what’s the betting I’ll still be moaning about this in a year’s time?
UPDATE: The CAA is going to appeal this case