With Flybe finally closing its doors for good, many passengers will have been left wondering what to do next. Many will be holding hundreds of pounds worth of useless tickets, while others may have been stranded away from home. Here’s what you need to know about your rights and options in the wake of Flybe’s collapse.
The advice from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is that Flybe customers should make their own travel arrangements and not to turn up at the airport if they’re booked to fly. But what alternatives are there? Let’s take a look.
Flybe customers are urged to make their own alternative travel arrangements via other airlines, rail or coach operators.
— UK Civil Aviation Authority (@UK_CAA) March 5, 2020
If you’re booked to fly but haven’t left yet
Passengers who have future bookings with Flybe won’t be able to get their money back from the airline directly. Depending on how the fare was paid for, there could be a means to get at least some of your money back.
If you paid on credit card, you’re covered by section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. This applies when the total booking cost exceeded £100. Talk to your credit card issuer for more information.
Fares paid for on debit cards could be refunded under the ‘Chargeback’ scheme. This could also be used for credit card bookings that were under the £100 threshold. Your card issuer will have further information.
PayPal and other online means of making payments often have their own coverage. Contact the service you used to make the booking for information.
Most insurance companies do not pay out in the event of an airline insolvency. However, if you hold trip insurance, it’s worth double checking.
You can, of course, request a refund from Flybe’s administrators, once details of who is handling the collapse emerge. However, this is likely to be a very long process, and with numerous creditors to pay in front of you in the queue, it’s unlikely be successful either.
If you’re stranded away from home
For those who have taken an outward flight with Flybe and are now stranded, there are some options on the table. Several UK airlines are offering rescue fares to get people back home, which although not free of charge could be far cheaper than trying to book a fresh ticket.
British Airways has confirmed to Simple Flying that it will fly any stranded Flybe passengers home for a flat fee of £50. This is exclusive of taxes, fees and charges, so could be a fair bit higher, particularly on domestic flights. Fights are bookable by telephone only.
— British Airways (@British_Airways) March 5, 2020
UK low-cost carrier easyJet is also offering rescue fares of £65, including a hold bag, to anyone with a Flybe booking. The airline says it will offer these fares until the end of May, but again tickets need to be booked by phone.
Ryanair has announced rescue fares today also, starting at £19.99 on five routes that it shares with Flybe. These are Liverpool to Knock, Bournemouth to Dublin, Belfast to London Stansted, Bristol to Dublin and Belfast to Manchester. Fares are available on the Ryanair website and are on sale from now until Sunday March 8th, for travel up until the end of April.
As well as airlines, all UK rail companies have stepped up to offer free travel for any Flybe customers who have been left in the lurch. The Rail Delivery Group announced that any booked Flybe passenger can travel for free on presentation of their flight confirmation.
Britain’s train operators have agreed to provide free travel to Flybe staff and customers unable to travel over the next week.
Please show proof of employment or planned journey (boarding card or flight confirmation) to station staff who will help you get to your destination. pic.twitter.com/sv7YG8VHFi
— Rail Delivery Group (@RailDeliveryGrp) March 5, 2020
For Flybe employees
Of course, it’s not just passengers who have been left stranded by the sudden collapse of Flybe. Many Flybe employees, particularly flight crews, will have woken up miles from home and unable to get back. Thankfully, there are also options for you too.
British Airways has extended a free flight offer to Flybe staff to get them home. It doesn’t say whether it’s offering to cover the cost of taxes and fees, but it’s a great offer from the UK’s flag carrier.
easyJet too is offering to fly Flybe employees home for free today and tomorrow. Ryanair hasn’t confirmed if Flybe staff can travel for free, but it has provided the following statement to Simple Flying:
“We are working with the CAA to accommodate passengers who may have been left stranded or have had their travel plans disrupted by the collapse of the airline. We again call for more robust and frequent stress tests on financially weak airlines and tour operators so customers are not the ones who suffer.”
The free rail travel offer is extended to all Flybe staff too so, hopefully, there’s a convenient way for everyone to get home. Our thoughts are with the staff at Flybe during this difficult time.