Monday, 2 Oct 2023

Flybe collapse: Your rights as a passenger to refunds and new flights

After failing to secure a loan from the Government to stay in the air, Flybe collapsed into administration overnight.

The airline's chief executive Mark Anderson announced the news the company was likely going to be put into administration "with enormous sadness". Accountants Ernst & Young EY will handle the process.

The news leaves 2,000 people potentially our of work as well as affecting staff at 71 airports in the UK and Europe.

But what are your rights as a passenger?

As the largest regional airline in Europe, Flybe carries about eight million passengers a year, with thousands stranded across the UK and Europe mid-way through trips and potentially millions more left with a ticket but no plane to fly them.

This is what the collapse means for passengers, as well as their rights to refunds and new trips home.

What happens to Flybe customers already on a trip?

  • Flybe collapses into administration after coronavirus 'pressure' with 2,000 jobs at risk

  • Flybe collapse: Everything you need to know as regional airline goes under

When Monarch Airlines and Thomas Cook collapsed, the Civil Aviation Authority was ordered by the Department for Transport to launch a major repatriation operation to fly them home.

Government chiefs have also asked bus and train operators to accept Flybe tickets and other airlines to "offer reduced rescue fares".

Will travellers get a refund?

  • Martin Lewis explains what Flybe passengers need to do after the airline's collapse

Martin Lewis told viewers of Good Morning Britain to try chargeback firt.

"The first thing I'd be looking to do is a chargeback, that's the thing to do whether you've paid by debit card or credit card," he said.

"That is where you ask your card provider to go to Flybe's bank and ask for the money back – effectively disputing the transaction because you have not received what you paid for.

"In most cases that has tended to work in the past and that would be my preferred situation here."

Some travel insurance companies offer cover for cancelled flights if they are the result of an airline collapse, but not all policies provide this coverage.

If you have travel insurance, check your policy for the phrase "Supplier Failure", or if you've only booked a flight the phrase "Scheduled Airline Failure", to see if you're covered.

Flights bought directly from airlines such as Flybe are not generally Atol protected but those bought through a separate travel company may be covered.

Jan Carton from Citizens Advice said: “Flybe customers who bought tickets directly from the company won’t be protected by the Atol scheme.

"However, if you went through a travel agent or other third party you may be covered. Some people may be able to get their money back if they paid by credit card."

If the holiday costs between £100 and £30,000, and you booked any part of it on a credit card, you should be able to reclaim the money from them thanks to Section 75 of the consumer credit act.

If you've paid less than £100 or used a debit card, then you can try claiming from the card provider under the chargeback system – however, this is not a legal right so might not be successful.

What is the Atol scheme?

  • Flybe compensation – why you may be entitled to £200 for cancelled flights

  • Flybe compensation – why you may be entitled to £200 for cancelled flights

Atol provides protection to holidaymakers when travel firms collapse.

The scheme protects most trips booked as a package, such as flights and accommodation, or flights and car hire.

It also applies to some flight-only bookings, particularly when the tickets are not received immediately.

If a business collapses while you are on holiday, the scheme will make sure you can finish your holiday and return home.

If your flight or holiday is ATOL protected, you should have received an ATOL Certificate as soon as you made any payment towards the booking, either by e-mail or post.

Customers who have not yet left home will be given a refund or replacement holiday.

Which? has a handy guide on how to find out if  your holiday is Atol protected, here .

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