Under the headline “Holidaymakers can save €140 each by flying from North“, Aideen Sheehan relays to us statements from an online travel agency telling us that:
Sluggish demand in the North means flight prices there are currently cheaper than from Dublin, resulting in significant savings for identical holidays.
SUN holidays can be up to €140 cheaper per person if you fly from Belfast instead of Dublin.
Presumably coming from a press release, the story is from travel operator ClickAndGo.com and is effectively free advertising for them through the remainder of the article.
Buyer Be Very Careful
What Ms. Sheehan fails to tell her readers is that anyone in Ireland booking their holidays with ClickAndGo.com and flying out of Belfast won’t have their travel covered by the normal licencing and bonding arrangements they’d have if flying out of Dublin, for example.
According to the Commission for Aviation Regulation website, who oversee licencing and bonding:
Under the Transport (Tour Operators and Travel Agents) Act, 1982, (the “Act), Tour Operators and Travel Agents are required to be licensed and bonded in respect of the sale and offering for sale, of travel originating within the State to destinations outside the State.
You’ll see that this says “within the State”. For the purposes of licencing and bonding, no matter what your politics are, flying out of Belfast means you’re not originating your holding from “within the State”, and therefore you’re unfortunately not covered.
Independent Newspapers has “form here”
Back in 2009, Dan White gave travel advice in the Evening Herald which necessitated this warning post from me for consumers, Incorrect advice on Travel Agents in the Evening Herald. The key advice at that time, which is again relevant in light of this more recent article, was as follows:
If you book a holiday with an Irish travel agent, but if you’re departing from an airport outside the Republic of Ireland, then you are not covered by the Commission for Aviation Regulation bonding scheme. You would be covered by the UK Civil Aviation Authority scheme – assuming your travel agent has signed up to it (and many Irish travel agents don’t).
So, if you book your holiday from a Dublin travel agent but fly out from Belfast, you’re not covered by the Commission for Aviation Regulation scheme.
Another thing to be careful of – the Commission for Aviation Regulation only covers anything booked from a travel agent that includes travel (i.e. flights). If you book a villa in the south of France, but decide to book your flights with Ryanair, then your villa booking isn’t covered by this scheme either.
Update 18/04/2013, 13:33 - I meant to add this when I originally published the post, but when checking the ClickAndG0.com website, it doesn’t look like they’re covered by the equivalent UK Civil Aviation Authority scheme, thereby meaning any travel booked through them, flying out of Belfast, isn’t bonded at all.