News from British and Canadian Conservatives

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Zoom collapses

Today Zoom Airlines has annouced that it has collapsed under the weight of high fuel costs. The news has stranded hundreds of passengers around the world, and has thrown the travel plans of thousands more into turmoil. The airline was founded by two Scottish brothers and based in Ontario, Canada, so it was very much a British-Canadian venture, and many of the passengers affected will be British or Canadian. My thoughts are certainly with anyone who has lost out, and may miss out on seeing relatives, something which anyone with friends and relatives overseas can surely relate to.

The collapse is an important reminder of the need to protect yourself against airline failure. I've never flown with Zoom, and always try to protect myself against potential incidents like this. However, I've realised that there may have been times when my insurance policies might not have covered me. Here are some steps to take to ensure that you are protected when you fly:
  • Book by credit card. British companies certainly cover customers against this kind of thing, allowing you to reclaim the money paid from your credit card company. I will have to check the terms and conditions attached to my new HSBC Mastercard to ensure that I am entitled to the same benefits in Canada! You may have to pay a small suplement for booking by credit card, but the peace of mind provided is priceless.
  • From the UK, try to book through a body covered by the CAA's ATOL. That covers tour operators, including Canadian Affair, in case of insolvency.
  • Check that you have travel insurance as soon as you book a flight, and check the terms and conditions. Some travel insurance policies cover policyholders in the event of airline failure, but not all of them do. Even those that do cover you normally only cover scheduled airlines and they may have a list of airlines they will not cover. For the most part, that list will comprise airlines which are already bankrupt of in some kind of adminsitration, but it's a good idea to check that your airline is insurable before you book.

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