The failure of Europe’s biggest regional airline has wrecked the travel plans of hundreds of thousands of passengers. These are the key questions and answers.
I have a Flybe flight booking. Will it take off?
Almost certainly not. The airline’s 68 aircraft have been grounded and the entire schedule of Flybe and its partner, Stobart Air, has been cancelled. However, there are a few flights that are Flybe-branded but operated by other airlines: Blue Islands, Eastern Airways and Loganair. These should fly normally. Your booking should say if the “operating carrier” is an airline other than Flybe.
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I am stranded, having flown out on Flybe. Will a plane be coming to get me?
No. Unlike the collapses of Monarch and Thomas Cook, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is not setting up a shadow airline. The nature of Flybe’s network means that there are far fewer passengers stranded abroad, and those that are affected are mainly in locations such as Amsterdam, Dusseldorf and Paris from which there are plenty of alternative routes home.
The biggest problems are likely to be faced by passengers on the dozen links from George Best Belfast City to airports in England, Wales and Scotland. Most of the routes were exclusive to Flybe, and there are few alternative flights or ferry options.
I have yet to travel. How do I get my money back or switch to another airline?
The Department for Transport (DfT) said it is encouraging other airlines to offer “rescue fares,” which are low prices specifically offered to Flybe customers. The DfT is also urging rail and bus operators to accept passengers with Flybe bookings, which will help those trying to make their way home within the UK.
If you booked directly with Flybe with a credit or debit card, contact the card issuer. For tickets costing £100 or more, bought by credit card, you should be able to reclaim the cash under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.
If you paid by debit or charge card, or paid less than £100 with a credit card, contact your card issuer for advice as you may be able to make a claim under their charge back rules.
Customers who used PayPal should contact that company.
Passengers who booked through a travel agent should contact them to secure either an alternative flight or a refund. Be warned that if you used an online travel agent with a questionable reputation, this could be struggle.
Opodo has told passengers who are due to travel imminently: “No alternative flight or immediate refund can be offered.”
If the Flybe flight forms part of a package holiday (with accommodation included and bought in a single transaction), it is the tour operator’s problem to find you a suitable alternative flight.
In the unlikely and unfortunate event that you bought a flight direct with Flybe with cash, cheque or vouchers, you are an unsecured creditor and are unlikely to recover more than a tiny fraction of your outlay.
What about the extra costs for my journey?
If you purchased travel insurance that includes cover for scheduled airline failure (known as Safi), contact your insurer – it may well be that they will meet the bill.
I have a flight booking with another airline that appears to be operated by Flybe. What can I do?
Flybe was very active in “codesharing” – allowing other airlines to attach their own flight numbers. So, for example, Flybe BE101 from Birmingham to Amsterdam was also known as Singapore Airlines SQ2449. In such circumstances you should assume your flight is not going, and talk to the airline that was codesharing with Flybe.
They should find an alternative – in that example, using KLM on the short hop to the Dutch capital. Or, from Manchester to Paris, Air France should be able to transfer passengers booked with an AF code on a Flybe flight to one of the French airline’s alternative services between the two cities.
I have a claim against Flybe for a delayed or cancelled flight. Who will pay the compensation I am due?
No one. You are an unsecured creditor.
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