Love Holidays latest online travel agent to leave Abta

Way out: Quarantine policies are changing quickly (Simon Calder)
Way out: Quarantine policies are changing quickly (Simon Calder)

Another leading online travel agent has quit Abta, the travel association, in a row over refunds for customers affected by government travel changes.

Love Holidays has followed On the Beach in resigning from the leading travel trade association.

Both are unhappy about Abta’s insistence on full refunds for package holidaymakers booked to destinations such as Portugal that are placed on the UK government’s no-go list.

A spokesperson for Love Holidays said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented challenges for holidaymakers, which have been exacerbated by frequent changes in travel guidance issued by the UK government.

“The current package travel legislation was never designed to deal with disruption on the scale we have seen since March 2020.

“Unfortunately, as a result of our divergent views on the legal position regarding cancellations and refunds, we have decided that it is no longer possible for Love Holidays to remain a member of Abta.

We would like to reassure all our customers that package holidays booked with Love Holidays remain financially protected by the ‘gold standard’ Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (Atol) scheme.

“We believe the priority for everyone in the travel industry should be to come up with a workable, fair solution to help holidaymakers get their money back as quickly as possible.

“Speeding up the refund process for airlines must be a key part of this solution, and we urge the entire industry to focus on working together to make this possible.”

Love Holidays is one of many firms that have been criticised for the speed of refunds.

An Abta spokesperson said: “Love Holidays has chosen to resign from Abta membership following ongoing discussions about refunds due to customers when the Foreign Office advice changes to advise against all, or all but essential travel to a destination.

“Abta is firm in its position that the longstanding practice of offering a full refund when the Foreign Office advises against travel still stands.”

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