Latest advice for stranded XL passengers
[September 12th 2008]
Customers of XL Leisure Group are being advised not to travel to the airport after the UKs third largest tour operator went into administration and all its flights were cancelled.
Passengers due to travel with XL from the UK may be able to find flights with other operators, but are advised to try to make alternative travel arrangements before they leave home rather then when they get to the airport. Airports including Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Glasgow are reported to be very busy with stranded XL customers trying to find other flights.
The advice for passengers stranded abroad is to contact their tour operator or resort representative. XL customers who booked a package holiday through a tour operator are protected under the Civil Aviation Authoritys ATOL scheme and arrangements will be made to fly them home without charge. Customers who booked a flight with Freedom Flights are also covered under the ATOL scheme.
Arrangements will be made to pay hotels and in-resort staff to ensure that holidaymakers that booked with XLUK tour operators can complete their holidays and fly home, the CAA said.
However, passengers who booked a flight with XL Airways through xl.com or a travel agent are not covered by ATOL. The CAA estimates there are 10,000 passengers who booked directly with XL Airways currently abroad. It says it will endeavour to bring you home with the minimum of delay, but passengers in this situation will be charged for their flights.
Alternatively passengers who booked with XL Airways can make their own arrangements to find a flight home. Other airlines which may be able to offer flights include First Choice, Thomas Cook and Thomson. Due to the number of people stranded abroad it is advisable to make arrangements as soon as possible as flights are likely to fill up quickly.
Passengers not covered by ATOL may still be able to get a refund for their flight or holiday. Anyone who paid by credit card should apply to their card issuer. Passengers with travel insurance are advised to check to see if their policy covered airline insolvency.
XLUK included four UK tour operators with ATOL protection: Kosmar Villa Holidays which traded as Kosmar Holidays, Aspire Holidays, Freedom Flights, and The Really Great Holiday Company which traded as Cruise City, Excel Holidays, The Florida Skytrain, Transatlantic Vacations, Travel City Direct and Travel City International.
The ATOL website, www.atol.org.uk, has advice for people stranded abroad and people with holiday bookings with the XL Group. This will be updated regularly with information on arrangements for inbound flights. The CAA has also set up an emergency helpline, but stresses this should only be used for emergencies as the answers to most questions are on the ATOL website.
Customers abroad should call +44 (0) 2891 856547, and customers in the UK with advance bookings 0870 5900927.
Written by: Nick Purdom