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STA Travel falls into administration

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

The travel company specialised in student travel, trips for young people, gap years and volunteer projects.

STA Travel Ltd had more than 50 shops in the UK and 500 jobs are at risk. It also traded as Bridge the World Travel.

The firm’s parent company, based in Switzerland, said the pandemic had “brought the travel industry to a standstill”.

Rory Boland, Which? travel editor, said: “Most STA Travel UK customers have found it impossible to get refunds in recent months for cancelled package holidays, often for very significant sums of money. Anyone with a booking, still waiting for a refund, or those holding a refund credit note, will be able to get their money back through the CAA’s ATOL scheme. Flight-only tickets booked with STA should still be valid. Passengers should contact their airline to check.

“The travel industry has endured a disastrous year, and many other companies will be on the brink of collapse. The government must urgently step in to provide much-needed support if this industry is to survive the next few months.”

What should STA Travel customers do?

ABTA has specific advice set out on its website for STA Travel customers. What customers should do next will depend on what holiday and travel arrangements they have booked and how they paid for them.

The majority of holidays sold by STA Travel were flight-inclusive packages and these are protected by the CAA’s ATOL scheme.

STA Travel also sold some packages which did not include flights and were protected by ABTA as well as holidays as an agent for other tour operators.

If you booked a package holiday through STA Travel and the holiday is provided by another tour operator, you’ll need to contact the tour operator named on your paperwork or ATOL Certificate. Your tour operator should be able to confirm that your booking will proceed as normal.

Your ATOL Certificate will say ’Package Sale’ in the bottom right hand corner, where an ATOL protected package has been booked through STA Travel with another tour operator.

If your booking included flights and was not with another tour operator, you will need to contact the CAA as your booking is protected by the CAA’s ATOL scheme. Your ATOL Certificate will say ’Package Sale’ in the bottom right hand corner.

If you booked a flight only with STA Travel with a scheduled airline, you will need to contact the airline about your booking. The airline is responsible for your booking and this should proceed as normal. Customers due a refund due to Covid-19 will need to make a claim with the airline concerned.

If you booked a non-flight package through a travel agent and not directly with STA Travel you should speak to your travel agent for advice.

If you booked a non-flight package holiday (for example, a cruise without flights) through STA Travel, it is protected by ABTA or by your credit or debit card issuer.

If you paid STA Travel directly using a debit or credit card you will need to submit your claim for a refund to your card issuer.

Customers that paid STA Travel by any other method or booked through a travel agent will need to submit a claim via ABTA. You will need to have all of your booking information and documents to hand when submitting your claim.

STA also operated as separate companies in a number of countries worldwide. Customers that booked with STA Travel businesses outside the UK will need to establish what protection may be available in the relevant jurisdiction.