Flybe Collapse. How to get a refundBy Money Mage · · Travel, Consumer Protection
Overnight Flybe the largest regional airline in Europe has failed. It’s only a few months ago since I was writing about the collapse of Thomas Cook and how to protect yourself and your travel plans.
Flybe was a major sight at every UK airport.
Flybe operates 36% of UK domestic flights. I am personally a heavy user of Flybe out of Edinburgh and previously Dundee. Frequently to London, Southampton, Birmingham & more. Getting to Southampton from Scotland is not fun without a Flybe flight, I can tell you!
Flybe was used by millions of UK business and leisure travellers to quickly get around the UK regions. Airports like Aberdeen, Exeter, Southampton, Belfast City are going to be severely affected by this collapse. At some regional airports in the UK, over 70% of scheduled flights are operated by Flybe.
Given the current situation, a buyer might be difficult to find.
Advice this morning is to not travel to the airport. Instead, you should make alternative arrangements and seek to claim your losses back.
Follow these 3 easy steps. You may be able to claim your losses back. Or at least, avoid the consequences of another collapse in the future.
1. Check your Travel Insurance
Not all Travel Insurance covers you for the failure of a company. Most don’t. You need to check the policy wording before buying.
There are a couple of travel insurance policy terms to look out for. Scheduled Airline Failure Insurance (SAFI) and End Supplier Failure.
Often these are not included by default and are a ‘bolt-on’. You will need to check your policy documents.
If your travel insurance does contain clauses for SAFI or End Supplier Failure, get in touch with your travel insurer to make a claim.
2. Consumer Protection
Be aware of how to keep your money safe. If your travel insurance doesn’t cover you, there is other protection.
In this collapse of Flybe, you are likely best to seek a Section 75 refund via your Credit Provider, or via your Bank’s Chargeback scheme if you paid with your debit card. You are more likely to be refunded if you paid via Credit Card. Speak to your Bank or Credit Provider.
Here are some ways to protect your travel plans:
Pay on Credit Card
If you pay more than £100 on your Credit Card, you are covered by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. This means that your credit provider is jointly liable for the provision of goods and services.
If your airline or travel agent has gone bust, submit a Section 75 claim to your bank or credit provider. You will be refunded in full. This can take time. You will have to provide documentary evidence, like receipts.
Pay on Debit & Chargeback
If your purchase is less than £100 or you purchased on a Debit Card, you may be able to use Chargeback.
Visa, Mastercard and AMEX operate Chargeback schemes. They are not law but may cover you.
Talk to your bank in the first instance.
EU Regulation 216/2004
If your flight is leaving or landing in the EU, you are covered by EU Regulation 216/2004. This provides cover for flight cancellation and delays based on flight duration.
This ranges from food, drink, accommodation, to full refunds for cancellations. It’s important to note that this regulation does not protect you in the event of airline insolvency.
Avoid Gift & Prepayment Cards
I am not a fan of Gift or Prepayment Cards. You are placing your money into an unprotected business which may fail. Rather, place your money into protected savings. Use accounts protected by the FCSC (Financial Services Compensation Scheme). Your money is then protected up to £85,000.
0%-fee Travel Card
Some accounts offer 0%-fee transactions. These credit cards or bank accounts that will save those excessive foreign-transaction fees. This means you won’t need to carry cash. Don’t use prepaid, get an account with a card from an FSCS-covered bank.
3. Get Holiday & Travel Protection
Check that you have government & industry protection for your holiday. You may be travelling on Flybe as part of a package holiday. This is somewhat unlikely at this time of year, but maybe you have a holiday booked later in the year where the flight was with Flybe.
If you don’t book your flight and hotel together you can run into issues.
Check with your provider of your ATOL or ATBA protected holiday if so.
You don’t need to book a traditional ‘package holiday’ to get protection.
What is ATOL?
ATOL (or Air Travel Organiser’s Licence) is the UK government protection scheme. It covers your travel if you book your Flight, Accommodation, and/or Car Hire via the same provider. The cover protects if you book:
- flights and accommodation (including a cruise), or
- flights and car hire, or
- flights, accommodation and car hire.
The UK Government operate ATOL via the Civil Aviation Authority.. Under EU Regulations, for what it’s worth.
Be careful when booking with ‘cheapest deal’ sites. Often you can book flights, hotel and car hire on these sites, but they are not booked via the same operator. You wouldn’t be ATOL protected. Some online sites do offer strong ATOL protection if you book flight & hotel together. Expedia being one.
You can also use online travel agents who provide cheap deals with ATOL and ABTA protection. I have used Dial A Flight in the past for overseas work travel which offered protection.
What is ABTA?
ABTA or Association of British Travel Agents is a regulated industry body. They provide cover and dispute resolution. It is useful for holidays that do not involve a flight or when ATOL protection is not available.
If you booked your holiday via an ABTA member, your holiday will be ABTA protected. ABTA provides cover in the event of company failure. If a company goes bust ABTA protection will enable you to continue your holiday or get a full refund.
ABTA also helps you resolve other problems or complaints about your holiday. You can use ABTA for dispute resolution. The operator has to abide by a code of conduct, and ABTA will help enforce.
Was Coronavirus responsible?
Flybe is blaming the Coronavirus outbreak this morning, but Flybe has been troubled for years. With the UK offering state-aid earlier in the year. Reduced ticket sales from Coronavirus was likely just the straw that broke the camels back.
It’s been a bad couple of years for the travel industry. Six tour operator collapses and thirteen airline collapses in 2018.
The current coronavirus outbreak isn’t just hitting your investments, it’s hitting your travel plans.
It’s also terrible for the getting on 2,000 employees of Flybe who are now facing uncertainty.
I’ve used Flybe hundreds of times over the years, especially in and out of Edinburgh and Dundee. They used to operate a Dundee to London City flight which had two of the coolest approaches possible, both east and west approaches into Dundee are an awesome sight with the Tay bridges and river, and eastbound approaches into London City are also an amazing sight flying below the height of Canary Wharf. I am going to sorely miss their service, not just for the sights but the convenience.
If you are affected, my thoughts are with you. Stay safe.
Subscribe now, follow me on Twitter @moneymagery, plan a cheap holiday for 2020 and you’ll be mortgage-free in no time.
Sources and Attribution
- FlyBe plane at London City Airport (c) Oli Lynch, CC-BY