With over 25,000 British Muslims expected to make the Hajj pilgrimage this August, the UK Civil Aviation Authority is launching a campaign to ensure that this often once in a lifetime trip is not ruined by booking through a disreputable company, or those falsely posing as reputable travel agents.
Travelers looking to book their Hajj pilgrimage this year are being warned against deals that seem too good to be true. The UK Civil Aviation Authority’s campaign is working to protect travelers after an increasing trend in the sale of illegal or fake package deals. In the worst cases, these illegal vendors have been prosecuted and imprisoned.
By researching, using a trustworthy and reputable company that will provide you with ATOL protection, consumers can travel with peace of mind. An Air Travel Organizers License (ATOL) protects travelers from losing their money or being stranded abroad. Travel firms selling air holiday packages must have an ATOL and must issue a certificate to travelers to prove that protection is in place.
Paul Smith, Director at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said: “As we enter the busy booking period for Hajj travel, we are reminding consumers to research who they are planning to book with to ensure their important trip is protected.
“Using a recommended travel agent is helpful, but it is vital to check that your provider is ATOL protected despite any recommendation you may receive.”
Always follow these top five Hajj travel tips:
– Check for ATOL protection: Look for the ATOL logo on your travel company’s website, brochure, or shop front.
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– Research the trip: Some companies will incorrectly claim to have ATOL protection. Check the company’s name on the online database at: packpeaceofmind.co.uk.
– Check if the travel package includes a visa: Appoint a licensed travel agent and ensure that they are arranging a visa as part of the travel arrangements.
– Watch out for hidden costs: Make sure to check the airport and accommodation fees, such as baggage allowance and accommodation transfers, to avoid any surprises.
– Check financial protection if booking with non-UK travel companies: There are some non-UK travel companies which offer Hajj travel to UK consumers, but these will often not be ATOL protected. Do research and check what financial protection they provide.