Big is best for travel

Hannah ThompsonYouGovLabs and UK Public Opinion Website Editor
August 20, 2010, 6:23 PM GMT+0

Many among our panel are wary of booking holidays with smaller travel and flight operators in the wake of the collapse of British company Kiss Flights.
The news comes not long after the liquidation of Goldtrail and Sun4U, who collapsed earlier this summer.

It seems that when it comes to travel, big really is better for consumers, and the view that it’s better to use a company that’s known and trusted ‘rather than just going for a good deal’ is shared by many of our respondents. Few among the panellists asked felt comfortable booking with small travel operators, and many commented that they would ‘stick with major, well known operators’.

Companies mentioned with which travellers feel safe included well-known companies Thomson, Thomas Cook, Ryanair, Iberia, BA and EasyJet although even these big names didn’t entirely escape criticism, with cancellations to flights and delays quoted as major worries.

And even for companies still firmly in business, the season has been suffering from a distinct lack of bookings, and companies have been forced to heavily discount holidays and packages. Even large operators like Thomas Cook have seen sales at a low. Travel journalist Simon Calder has been quoted as saying it’s ‘not surprising’ that a number of small travel companies have gone bust against such a backdrop.

In addition to booking travels with the large operators, many say they would ‘always book through [insurance firms] ABTA/ATOL agents’, while others make a habit of paying for travels with their credit cards in order to be covered for insurance in case it all goes wrong.

So while many felt that staying away from smaller companies would probably be enough to safeguard their holiday, one admitted that financial collapse was ‘always a worry in the back of my mind’.

Kiss Flights was the thirteenth company of its kind to go bust this year and it is estimated that its collapse affected up to 70,000 people.