Tuesday, 3 Oct 2023

Stranded Flybe passengers warned to beware of scams as they seek refunds

Things could go from bad to worse for stranded passengers of collapsed airline Flybe as they have been warned to wary of scams when trying to get refunds, as other airlines and railway companies offer help.

Europe's largest regional airline grounded all planes on Wednesday night, hours before it collapsed into administration in the early hours of Thursday, leaving passengers and staff stuck across the country as well as in cities on the continent.

Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis has already given Flybe customers his advice after airline's collapse, with passengers keen to know their rights.

As passengers plan alternative routes home and attempt to recoup lost money, Citizens Advice has warned about the risk of scams.

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Senior consumer expert Jan Carton said: "Unfortunately we've found that, in these situations, scammers quickly jump on the bandwagon. If you're a Flybe customer and you're contacted by someone offering to act for you to recover your money it's more than likely to be a scam.

"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.

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"If people have accommodation booked, they should check the terms and conditions to see if they can get a refund.

"If they can afford to pay for another flight, it's also worth checking if they can alter the dates."

Stranded passengers and staff have been told to make their own way home.

The Civil Aviation Authority has said there will be no repatriation flights as it was not commissioned by the Government – unlike when airlines Monarch and Thomas Cook failed – because there is "enough capacity in the market for people to travel via alternative airlines, rail and coach operations".

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A Government spokesman said it has asked coach and train operators to accept Flybe tickets and airlines to offer reduced fares "to ensure passengers can make their journeys as smoothly as possible".

Several companies have already offered their support for Flybe passengers and staff.

Free travel for Flybe passengers and staff is being provided by all First Rail train operators, which consist of Great Western Railway, Avanti West Coast, South Western Railway and TransPennine Express.

Phil Whittingham, managing director of Avanti West Coast, said: "This is a very difficult time for Flybe staff and passengers. If we can help make it a bit easier, we're happy to do so."

The Rail Delivery Group, which represents Britain's train companies, was unable to immediately confirm if free travel for Flybe passengers would be offered by all operators.

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