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‘Unprecedented situation’ as Monarch Airlines ceases trading

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
Hundreds of thousands of people have had flights and holidays cancelled as Monarch Airlines entered administration this morning.

The troubled airline was in discussion with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) over the renewal of its ATOL certificate last week, and this summer, Monarch reported a £291m pre-tax loss.

There are up to 110,000 Brits currently abroad on a Monarch holiday or with a return flight provided by the company. The government and the CAA are co-ordinating flights back for them.

For anyone who has booked through Monarch but is yet to fly, the message is not to travel to the airport as your flight won’t be operating.

Here’s what you need to know if you’ve booked but not travelled:

Monarch Airlines Ltd, Monarch Holidays Ltd, First Aviation Ltd, Avro Ltd and Somewhere2stay Ltd have all ceased trading.

If you booked a flight directly with Monarch Airlines from 15 December onward, you have no ATOL protection and are not entitled to make a claim to the CAA. Instead, you need to contact your credit card issuer, insurer or Paypal for help on how to claim a refund.

If you booked a flight on or before 14 December 2016 directly with First Aviation Ltd (trading as Monarch Airlines) and you received an ATOL certification stating your flight is protected with First Aviation, you are ATOL protected. The CAA said it will make refund arrangements as soon as possible, including a claim form on its site.

Anyone who booked directly with Monarch Holidays are ATOL protected and so you should have received an ATOL certificate after making the booking. The CAA said these customers should receive a refund by the end of the year.

If you only booked a hotel via Monarch, you’re not ATOL protected so you’ll need to contact your card issuer or insurer to see if you can claim a refund. If you booked a hotel as part of a package holiday – at the same time or within a day of a flight) then this Flight-Plus arrangement gives you ATOL protection.

For those who booked a Monarch flight or holiday through a third party such as a travel agent or travel company, the CAA said you should contact it for further information.

If you’re already abroad:

For those who are due to return to the UK on or before 15 October, the CAA is arranging flights to get holidaymakers home. It confirms holidaymakers won’t need to pay for these new flights.

You should receive details of the new flight at least 48 hours in advance of your original departure time and the CAA said it’s making arrangements for people to remain in the current accommodation for the remainder of the holiday, on the same board basis, at no extra cost to you. If you are asked to pay extra, the CAA said you should pay this and can claim back the money once you’re back in the UK – just make sure you keep receipts.

If you had booked an airport transfer, the CAA said this will be re-arranged with your new flight. Further, the CAA stated that if your new flight departs four hours after your original flight, it will consider reasonable expenses while you wait for travel back to the UK. See this Monarch claim page for more information.

Customers should explore their options for refunds

Alex Neill, Which? director of home products and services, said: “The government has said that Monarch passengers stranded overseas will not be charged for their flights home. This will be a great relief to the 110,000 people currently affected, and we advise that they check for the latest information about how to arrange their flight home.

“As all future flights have been cancelled, Monarch customers should explore their options for refunds. If you purchased your flight as part of a package you should be ATOL protected, which means you should get a refund. However, if you didn’t book as part of a package you may be able to claim the cost back through your travel insurance or credit card issuer, but it depends on your circumstances.”

Airline failure not covered as standard

Financial information site Defaqto warns that two fifths of travel insurance policies offer no protection against airline failure, with less than half (49%) covering this as standard.

As a result, holidaymakers could be left unprotected if their airline gets into difficulty.

Its research found the following:

  Single Annual
Do not provide cover 382 392
Provide cover as “standard” 457 476
Provide cover as “optional” 99 94
TOTAL 938 962

Brian Brown, head of insight at Defaqto, said: “Around 300,000 flights and holidays have been cancelled as a result of the Monarch Airlines failure, ruining a lot of people’s holidays over the coming months. Airline failure is not covered as standard on two fifths of travel insurance policies as the risk is usually relatively small.”

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