When things don't quite go according to plan

In the unlikely event that something goes wrong during your holiday we can offer you expert advice, and we have a three-step complaints handling process, set out below.

How you complain depends on who your travel complaint is about.

  • If the company is an ABTA Member, we can help with your holiday complaint. Check our Find a Member section to see if you have booked with an ABTA Member.
  • If the company is not an ABTA Member, unfortunately you can’t register your complaint with us. You’ll need to ask the company what procedures they have for complaints. You can also contact the Citizens Advice Service for further help.

    However, we still suggest that you follow steps 1 and 2 below in an attempt to resolve your complaint.
  • If you have a complaint about an airline, please follow steps 1 and 2 below. If you still can’t resolve the dispute, please contact the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Before you make a complaint, please see our Help section, you’ll find a wealth of information which might help you.

Holiday complaints – a step-by-step guide

Please remember, these steps only apply if you’re complaining about an ABTA Member.

Step 1 

Send your complaint in writing to the travel company with whom you booked. The company should reply within 28 days.

The company may well telephone you in an effort to resolve the complaint and we would suggest you keep detailed notes in relation to what was discussed. This  will hopefully settle the complaint. If you speak to the company by phone we advise you to follow it up in writing.

If you aren’t satisfied with their response, continue to Step 2. There are two exceptions to this: 

  1. If the company doesn’t respond within 28 days please make a complaint to us and we’ll facilitate the complaint with our Member on your behalf. You will need to provide us with the original correspondence with your travel company.
  2. If you are due to travel in the next  30 days, please register with us make sure you have all of your original paperwork as you’ll need to send us all of your booking correspondence.

Step 2

Send a second written complaint to the travel company. Again you should receive a full response within 28 days.

  • If the company’s reply doesn’t satisfy you and you're not happy with the level of holiday compensation being offered, or you feel that you’ve reached deadlock , please go on to Step 3.
  • If the company doesn’t respond to your second letter within 28 days please register your complaint with us and complete our online process. 
  • If your complaint is with an airline and you can’t resolve the dispute after following steps 1 and 2, please contact the CAA.

Step 3

If you’ve already travelled or if your holiday has been cancelled, and you have used steps 1 and 2 and still not settled your complaint, please register your complaint with us and will we facilitate it with our Member.

You will need to send us your booking confirmation invoice and your correspondence with the travel company before we can assist. Whether your correspondence was by email, by letter or both, once you’ve registered with us you will need to upload all of these documents before we can proceed.

Please remember, this only applies if you are complaining about an ABTA Member.

When you register with us and submit your complaint, you will be sent your reference number by email and SMS text message. You will be prompted to log back into the ABTA website whenever there is any update on your complaint from us (ABTA) or your travel company (the ABTA Member).

Please note, in order to register your complaint with us, you will need an email address and a mobile telephone number. You will not be able to register your complaint without them. See our guide to making a complaint for more information.