The WOW Factor – MTA has ‘Zero Flight Risk™
MTA – Mobile Travel Agents’ co-managing director, Roy Merricks says the collapse last week of Icelandic budget airline WOW Air, while not an approved MTA supplier, serves as a timely reminder that all travel agents need to ensure their clients are adequately protected in the event a travel intermediary or end supplier becomes insolvent and unable to deliver a product or service.
The WOW Air collapse brings to five the number of European carriers forced into insolvency in the last 18 months.
Mr Merricks said many of the 4000 or so passengers affected by the WOW Air collapse will now be looking towards their travel insurance for refunds.
“Travel insurance covers for a host of factors – be that a lost suitcase, damaged camera or overseas medical assistance – but when it comes to supplier insolvency protection that’s a whole different ball game,” he said.
“Sadly, while some of those passengers may see some return on ticket purchases, it is highly likely many of them won’t with the airline having stated the chances of reimbursement are “narrow” and already advising passengers to address claims to the airline’s bankruptcy trustee.
“And remember this doesn’t just happen to overseas companies – locally we only have to go back to December and the Bestjet Travel collapse.”
Mr Merricks said while consumers may buy optional travel insurance products via their consultants or online, many of these either do not offer supplier insolvency protection and if they do, it is invariably limited to a very small number of suppliers and always at additional cost.
“The same applies if a consumer pays for their travel arrangements by credit card. There may be some insolvency protection provided under complimentary travel insurance but the emphasis is very much on the ‘may’.”
Mr Merricks said the WOW collapse provided a compelling reason as to why consumers needed to ensure that when they book their travel, they book via agents who are able to provide iron-clad, 100 per cent money-back guarantees in the event of insolvency, such as MTA’s ground-breaking ‘Zero Flight Risk™’.
Launched in 2014, shortly after the Travel Compensation Fund (TCF) was dismantled, ‘Zero Flight Risk™’ is an MTA initiative whereby any client purchasing approved travel products and services through the company can rest assured their funds will be guaranteed in the event of any approved MTA travel intermediary or end supplier becoming insolvent and as a result, being unable to deliver the product or service.
“‘Zero Flight Risk™’ provides a very convincing argument why consumers need to book their travel via MTA,” Mr Merricks said.
”We can provide our customers with peace of mind and in the full knowledge that this piece of protection comes with a 100 per cent money back guarantee – no ifs or buts – and at no extra cost whatsoever.”