Flybe flights – how to get your money back as airline goes into administration

FLYBE, Europe's largest regional airline, has collapsed into administration – here's what happens next for holidaymakers stranded abroad and those who have trips planned.

The airline confirmed is had ceased trading with immediate effect in the early hours of this morning, March 5.

It comes after crisis talks were held throughout Wednesday to try to secure a rescue package, but no deal was agreed.

All Flybe flights and those operated by sister airline Stobart Air have been cancelled as a result.

The British airline operated more UK domestic flights than any other carrier but has suffered mounting losses in recent years.

Flybe marks the latest in a string of airlines that have gone bust in recent years.

Thomas Cook went into liquidation last year, while Primera Air and Cobalt went under in 2018 and Monarch Airlines called it a day in 2017.

WOW Air also fell into administration in March but was relaunched in October after being rescued.

What happens now?

When now-defunct airlines including Thomas Cook and Monarch collapsed, the Civil Aviation Authority launched repatriation operations to bring stranded customers home.

Flybe has yet to announce if this will happen, or how many passengers are currently stuck on holiday although this is likely to be in the tens of thousands.

We’ll be updating this article with the latest information as it becomes available.

I’m on holiday and due to fly home with Flybe – what do I do?

If you’re already abroad, you should first check if your booking is ATOL-protected.

ATOL, which is run by the government and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), is a scheme that’s designed to make sure customers don’t lose money or end up stranded abroad in the event of an airline going bust.

However, ATOL protection is not automatic when you book a flight and usually only covers packaged holidays.

This means if your flight was booked separately from your hotel, you may not be covered.

Credit card customers may be able to get a refund through their card provider under Section 75 of the Consumer Rights Act if the payment is more than £100.

Flights booked by debit card may be able to claim a refund by their banks using the Chargeback scheme.

I've got a flight booked but I've yet to travel – what do I do?

Flybe has cancelled all future bookings and is advising customers not to travel to the airport unless they have an alternative flight booked.

The airline has also said it's unable to arrange a new flight for customers.

Like those who are already on holiday and due to fly back with Flybe, your rights to a refund will depend on if your flight is ATOL-protected or covered by travel insurance.

There may also be the option to claim back through either Section 75 of the Consumer Rights Act for credit card customers with bookings that cost more than £100, or the Chargeback scheme for debit card users.

You'll also likely have to rebook your flights, although you won't be able to claim compensation through your travel insurance if you do this.

Will my travel insurance cover me?

You may be able to claim the money back on your travel insurance, although it depends on the terms and conditions of your policy.

However, consumer expert Martyn James from Resolver warns you may not be able to seek compensation from your provider if you buy another flight before getting any money back.

Check with your travel provider first before making any new bookings.

He said: "Speak to your insurance company to see if your travel insurance covers you.

"It also doesn't hurt to check what other flights might be available.

"You won't be able to seek compensation if you buy another flight though, so bear in mind you do this at your own risk."

Flybe flew 8.5million passengers each year to 170 European destinations.

It had narrowly avoided going under in January but has continued to lose money, while the spread of coronavirus is understood to have had a massive impact on bookings.

In a statement, chief executive Mark Anderson said the company had made "every possible attempt" to avoid collapse but had been "unable to overcome significant funding challenges".

He added: "The UK has lost one of its greatest regional assets."

Last February, the airline was bought by a group of companies led by Virgin Atlantic, and including Stobart Air and Cyrus Capital for £million following poor financial results.

Flybe completed the sale of its assets to the group in the deal worth only 1p per share.

The Exeter-based firm operated a number of domestic routes in Britain between cities which are connected by direct trains, such as Manchester-Glasgow, Birmingham-Edinburgh, Exeter-Manchester and Exeter-London City.

It also ran flights connecting airports like Birmingham to Paris and other smaller European cities.

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