What to Do If You Have A Flight Booked with Bankrupt Primera Air?

As we reported earlier today, Primera Air are bankrupt, and have grounded all flights as of midnight 2nd October 2018.

Many passengers have had little or no notice of the cancellation of their flights, leaving hundreds stranded and many more wondering what to do now. If you’ve booked Primera Air tickets and are worried about how to get your money back (or even how to get home), here’s the advice as it stands at the moment.

Refunds from Primera Air

Passengers who have had their Primera Air flights cancelled were initially advised to by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to contact the airline directly.

However, putting it bluntly, you’ve got more hope of getting a refund from Primera Air as you have of making a cuppa in a chocolate teapot. The website itself advises that both phone and email support have been shut down, so there is little point in trying to contact them directly.

With aircraft impounded by airports in lieu of settlement of fees and numerous other creditors baying at the door, passenger refunds are going to be waaay down the list for this bankrupt carrier.

Primera Air Trustpilot review
Even before the bankruptcy, Primera Air weren’t well known for customer service

Other ways of refunding Primera Air tickets

All is not lost, because there are some other methods you can use to try and claw back some of the money you’ve lost. For example:

  • Credit card refunds: If you paid for your flight on your credit card and it cost in excess of £100, you can claim back your ticket cost under section 75 of the consumer credit act. The £100 has to be for an individual flight, however, not for a group of flights.
  • Debit card chargeback: If you paid on your debit card or have paid by credit card for a flight costing under £100, you could be successful in claiming a chargeback. This isn’t a legal requirement; simply a customer service offered by some card companies, but it’s worth trying. Visa, Mastercard and American Express all have their own protection schemes in place, so do investigate before giving up on your lost money.
  • PayPal Buyer Protection scheme: If you paid by PayPal, which many of us do these days, you could be able to claim back your expenses via the Buyer Protection Scheme. This must be done within 180 days, but the sooner the better is probably a good strategy.
  • Travel insurance claim: If your trip was insured, you could be eligible to claim back your ticket costs this way. However, many policies will exclude situations where carriers go into administration, so don’t get too excited until you’ve spoken with your company.
  • ATOL protection: Unfortunately, Primera Air was not covered by ATOL, so if you booked your flights independently, this won’t help. However, if you booked via a travel agent or as part of a package holiday, it’s possible that the agent’s ATOL protection will apply. This means you’ll either be refunded in full or your agent will have to book you alternative flights.

It is possible for customers of failed companies to submit a claim as a creditor of that company, but the chances of getting a refund this way are fairly slim. The administrators of Primera Air bankruptcy are not yet known, and even when they are consumers will be at the bottom of a very long list of people waiting to get their money back.

Stranded abroad

If you’re stranded overseas and have had your Primera Air flights cancelled, you should check if your travel agent is ATOL protected. If you booked your flights directly with Primera Air, this won’t apply.

If your agent has supplied you with a certificate of ATOL protection, they have a responsibility to get you home. Contact them directly and they will make arrangements for an alternative flight and accommodation as necessary.

ATOL certificate
If you booked through an agent and have a certificate like this, they have a responsibility to get you home.

You can also talk to your travel insurance company. However, many firms will only insure you against carriers going into administration if you specifically asked them to.

If all else fails, find a cheap flight home as soon as you can and then follow the advice above to recoup some of your lost money. Often, when an airline collapses in an abrupt manner such as this, other carriers will step in and offer cheap repatriation fares to get you home again. Tell them you were booked on Primera Air, and see what they can offer.

What about compensation?

Regardless of the airline, any flight which departs or lands at an EU airport is governed by EU flight delay and cancellation rules. This means that if your flight is cancelled, you are automatically entitled to a full refund or an alternative ticket.

When the cancellation is the fault of the airline, you are also entitled to compensation on top of the refund.

But… before you get excited… Primera Air have literally no money. The company has gone bankrupt, and will not be able to provide refunds, compensation or anything else to you. Unfortunately, the best you can hope for here is some money back from your payment company, or that your trip was covered by ATOL.

If you’ve already got an outstanding claim for compensation, for a refund or other money related issue with Primera, you’re in the same situation as those who are trying to get their money back today. There’s no queue jumping involved; it doesn’t matter when your claim was started, you’re still a long way down the list of creditors. Your best course of action is to talk to your insurer.

Let us know if you successfully got any money back, or what’s happened to you as a result of Primera Air going bankrupt.