CAA warns Britons of travel scams this Black Friday – how to avoid being ‘caught out’

Martin Lewis gives advice on buying flights in Black Friday sales

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Black Friday weekend is due to kick off on Friday, November 26, 2021, with plenty of travel firms set to offer discounted holidays and flights. However, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is urging Britons to be cautious about jumping headfirst into booking “what looks like a bargain”.

Michael Budge, head of ATOL at the UK CAA, said: “With many of us looking to book holidays again, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales may seem like the perfect opportunity to get your next holiday sorted, but before booking what looks like a bargain, check the details first.”

While the price of a vacation may seem low at first glance, anything from hidden costs to sudden cancellations can leave Britons out of pocket if they aren’t protected.

Mr Budge added: “Always check for ATOL protection, look for hidden costs, book by credit card where possible and take out travel insurance to keep your next holiday financially protected.”

How can you avoid being caught out this Black Friday?

The CAA has shared some of its top tips to avoid being caught out by deals that are too good to be true.

Watch out for hidden costs

Before moving forward with booking a holiday, it is vital you are aware of exactly what you are paying for.

The CAA said: “A deal that looks promising at first can start ramping up in price without prior research.”

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Key costs to look out for include:

Baggage allowance and the cost of luggage, if bags are not included.

Is it actually a good deal? Check other providers and remember, holiday deals often carry on through the festive period and into January.

Look for where the seller is based – if it’s abroad and the deal is in a foreign currency, make sure to check how much they are charging in pounds before booking to ensure you get a good rate and double-check your bank’s fees for paying in foreign currency.

Is there any flexibility in the booking? Can parts of the holiday be amended if needed without incurring any extra costs?

Research COVID 19 restrictions in your destination to make sure you understand entry requirements, testing costs and social restrictions.

Check for ATOL protection

Every holiday that seems package holidays in the UK is required to hold an Air Travel Organiser’s License (ATOL).

The CAA states: “ATOL protects most air package holidays sold by travel businesses.

“The scheme also applies to some flight bookings, usually those where you book flights (including UK domestic flights) but do not receive your tickets immediately.”

The scheme also protects passengers in the event a company ceases trading, making sure they won’t get stuck abroad or lose any money.

However, some non-UK travel companies are likely to advertise deals during the Black Friday period which may not be ATOL protected.

The CAA said: “Before booking, you should always check that your travel provider is a legitimate ATOL holder. You can do this on the UK CAA website.”

Use a credit card

Using a credit card allows consumers to benefit from enhanced purchase protection under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

This means if you pay for your flight or hotel with a credit card and something goes awry, in many cases, your credit card issuer should provide you with your money back, as long as the purchase is between £100-£30,000.

Get travel insurance

Travel insurance is a must-have when it comes to booking holidays and should be purchased as soon as you make a booking.

In the unfortunate event something goes wrong with the holiday you snap up as part of the sales, travel insurance can be there to offer vital protection.

It can protect you from a variety of things going wrong on your trip, from cancellations and missed transport to medical emergencies and stolen items.

Without travel insurance, consumers are responsible for paying to deal with most issues whilst away or could lose money already paid if they have to cancel their trip.

However, the CAA reminds Britons they must check the details of their policy to ensure they have adequate coverage to suit their needs.

It adds: “Travel insurance is widely available online and different types of cover should be considered.”

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