Monday, 8 September 2014

What is ATOL?

I have been working at the Civil Aviation Authority for just over two months now. When i started it felt strange to be in a proper full time job, with responsibility and a constant workload. But after not even a week, i felt extremely settled and everything became more and more manageable. I have reflected on the two previous months and I have been engaged in so many exciting experiences and opportunities. I think the most important yet simple life lesson I have learnt so far is, 'Always buy travel insurance', something my case officer taught me early on. After dealing with customer enquiries it has become apparent why that is so vital. You never know when your holiday plans aren't going to go exactly the way you planned, and if the company hasn't gone into administration then your travel insurance may be the answer to your prayers.

So what is ATOL?
The Air Travel Organisers Licence (ATOL) is managed by the Civil Aviation Authority. Travel providers within the UK that sell package holidays abroad are required to hold an ATOL licence in order to provide consumers with protection, this is renewed yearly. However, ATOL does not only protect package holidays, it can also protects dynamically packaged products. This can be shown through  a flight and accommodation / car hire  not booked as package but by the same travel provider within a 24 hour period, this is housed under the flight plus scheme. In some occasions, a flight only sale can be protected, if it has been booked through a travel company holding an ATOL licence and an ATOL certificate has been issued. 

The URL link below leads to a straightforward guide:


By dealing with consumer needs on a day to day basis, I have been grasping the actual concept of the ATOL licence, by many consumers can be thought of as complex and confusing. However in reality many are unaware of the true value in relation to the ATOL licence and what it stands for. The ATOL licence comes into affect when the company the consumer has booked through has ceased trading. This helps protect the consumers who may be currently abroad, as we are able to provide advice and arrange transport to help them return to the UK. It also protects consumers who are due to travel, we are able to provide advice regarding claims and the current situation. 

Dealing with situations like these on a day to day basis can be challenging, but it has helped grow my confidence when dealing with customers and understanding their individual needs.

 Education regarding how consumers understand ATOL licensing is important and vital in order for consumers to 'pack peace of mind' as our slogan says. 


Monday, 30 June 2014

Life update

Dear readers,

I apologise for not posting since the start of the academic year. It has certainly been a busy second year at university. This year was different, as usual it was a step up from the year before (as expected). But the school of tourism at BU had also changed over to semesters. This meant that instead of having 6 units run throughout the university year, I studied 3 units intensely followed by the winter break, and then 6 new units. It was both good and bad. I felt that it was good as it meant everything was fast paced (I find this more motivating), but as we were the first year experimenting it, it also meant that some of the unit topics were rushed and therefore sometimes i felt under-prepared and had to carry out extra reading and guidance to feel confident again. All on all it was a good year! 

I think my favourite unit was 'managing people', basically, it was a unit that was central around human resources. This unit was a coursework only module, which meant it was easy to apportion time to projects and plan out when certain parts of the essay's needed to be done by in order to stay on track. I undertook other modules too, such as financial reporting, research methods (useful for my dissertation in my final year), tourism development and planning as well as continuing on with Spanish. 

One of the modules within my second semester was 'operations management' i was highly intrigued with this unit and thoroughly enjoyed it. This included learning about the aviation industry and cruising industry, both of which I think are very interesting. This included learning about ATOL licences which are managed and certified by the Civil Aviation Authority. ATOL licences protect consumers when they purchase travelling components, such as a package holiday. However, after a number of reforms there are now multiple types of ATOL licences for different purposes, for example, flight only and flight plus schemes, in order to make ATOL more flexible.

I am pleased to announce that I have secured a placement within the Consumer Protection Group of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), that deals with ATOL licensing. I will be starting a week today! 


Thursday, 12 September 2013

Happy is not the word

The traffic on the blog this week has been phenomenal, and I found myself wondering why it had suddenly sparked up so much, little did I know, Bournemouth University (where I study Tourism Management) had mentioned me on there course overview as I wrote a post on the course trip we took to Jersey at the end of 2012, how delightful! 

Cropped from Bournemouth Uni's website, below is the link.




Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Summer 2013

So after spending the academic year learning about tourists and the industry, I've been able to spend 20 days of my summer as a tourist in Singapore and Australia. After jumping around from Heathrow to Singapore via Helsinki with Finnair and then Singapore to Sydney with Qantas, I am definately doing my fair share of flying this holiday, luckily I enjoy it!

 I'm currently typing away in a Qantas domestic lounge in Sydney awaiting my plane to the Gold Coast and thought that my blog would benefit from a little update regarding my travels!


Singapore:


For such a small city, there was so much to do in Singapore. I liked how Singapore played a major part in the Finance industry and had a bustling business district, but at the same time, had such lush greenery along the roads with exotic plants (even though they were probably native for Singapore) as well as the botanical gardens. I think that for such a busy and well known city, it's good that they still cared about there environment, shown by the clean and well looked after public areas.



Marina Bay and the Botanical gardens.

How Singapore is run actually made sense, i liked the fact that the government put a large tax on buying a car out there, which in turn would make more people consider using public transport, which then would increase the amount of money going into the public transport, and therefore could highlight the Multiplier Effect as the government could use some of that money to increase and improve the public transport.

I also enjoyed how many ways you could see Singapore from different levels, and still feel like you were in a different city every time, such as from a simple night time boat tour from Clarke Quay, the Singapore Flyer


and the viewing deck of the Marina Bay Sands hotel.


Sydney:


Although it was technically still winter in Sydney it has at least been as warm as England's summer! With a few days hovering around the mid 20's and the last day topping 30 degrees I can truly admit that i'm jealous of the 'winter' weather that Australia experiences. I think that Sydney was a good mixture between a bustling city offering a superb social life as well as areas such as Watson's Bay, Manly and the Botanical Gardens offering space for recreational activities and almost a little holiday from the city.



Shelly Beach, Manly

Transport in Sydney made sense. The underground was obviously newer and more technologically advanced than London's, with double decker trains, a cleaner environment and more opportunities to buy self-selection tickets from machines. As well as the trains, the ferry services offered throughout the city were amazing! Little ferry docks dotted about at different bays, including Taronga Zoo, meant that tourists, commuters and just the general population of Sydney could easily get around the city most probably quicker and cheaper than a car, as well as having a lovely view.