Monarch no longer reigns. The Luton-based airline, which was about to mark its 50th anniversary, went into administration early on Monday, triggering uncertainty for customers and a huge effort to get people already on holiday back to the UK.
The collapse – the largest to hit a UK airline – has left some 300,000 future bookings cancelled and customers have been told to keep away from airports as there will be no more flights.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said it had been asked by the Government to charter more than 30 aircraft to bring the passengers home, with Transport Secretary Chris Grayling calling it the biggest peacetime repatriation effort.
Worse, it has since emerged that most standard travel insurance polices won’t even cover an airline collapse.
But all is not lost quite yet – this is what you need to know to get home if you’re abroad, or your money back if you’re yet to fly.
What should I do now? The Government has told Monarch customers to continue their holidays as planned and is organising special flights back for passengers who are affected at no cost to them. At least 48 hours before you are due to return home you should visit the dedicated website monarch.caa.co.uk , call the helpline on 0300 303 2800 if calling from the UK or +44 1753 330330 if calling from overseas to confirm your new flight details. Repatriation flights are for all passengers who purchased tickets with Monarch irrespective of their nationality.
When will I be able to fly? You should expect to be flown as close as possible to your planned departure dates, no earlier, and prepare for disruption to journeys. Some passengers may need to speak with their accommodation provider in case they need to extend their stay.
When should I go to the airport? You should arrive at the airport more than three hours before your confirmed new flight as they will not be able to take earlier services. Foreign Office staff will be available at affected airports to help any vulnerable British citizens with specific needs. Any Britons requiring additional consular support should visit gov.uk/world .
Can I check in online? There will be no online check-in. You will be issued with a new flight and new boarding card and will not be able to check in with your old flight details.
Will I have to pay for the flight? Once on board the plane, you will be asked to provide details of your original Monarch booking. If you are not Atol (Air Travel Organiser’s Licence) protected, this will allow the Government to claim the cost of their replacement flight directly from your credit or debit card company. You will not be asked to pay for your flight yourself.
Do I have to pay for extra accommodation costs? Passengers with Atol protection are entitled to reasonable accommodation and subsistence costs if they are delayed by more than four hours. Those without Atol protection may be able to claim from credit card providers or insurers. Further information will be made available via the website. The CAA will process your refund as quickly as possible – check the dedicated website for more information.
How do I know if I am Atol protected? Check if you have received an Atol certificate, or check with your travel agent.
Will I be flown back to my departure airport? You may be flown back to different UK airports, with coaches available to take you to your destination airport.
Check the dedicated website or contact your travel agent if you booked with one.
They will be able to advise on whether you can change your holiday booking or are entitled to a refund or compensation.
Booked a package holiday? Anyone who booked a package holiday gets Atol protection – meaning you are legally guaranteed a refund – however this doesn’t apply in the case of people booking flights and accommodation separately.
Flight only? If you are not covered by the Atol scheme, you should also contact your credit card company or travel insurer. If you have travel insurance, check your policy for the phrase airline failure .
No travel insurance? You may also be able to claim your money back depending on how you paid. If your booking cost was between £100 and £30,000 and any of it was paid for on your credit card you may be able to make a claim under section 75 Consumer Credit Act. In travel, it only works when you book direct, but that ??s fine for those who paid Monarch on a credit card, as long as the cost is over £100. So get in touch with the credit card firm and ask to make a ??Section 75 ?? claim (and use the name) for any costs not received, said MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis.
If successful, your credit card will refund your money.
Paid with debit card or bank transfer? Section 75 will not apply to debit cards but you can take advantage of the chargeback scheme. You must contact the card provider within 120 days. While it ??s not a legal protection like Section 75, this is a core protection in Visa, Mastercard and American Express ?? rules and it can swiftly help people get their money back, said Lewis.
PayPal? Contact them and claim via their buyer protection scheme. You must do this within 180 days.