Monarch Airlines has gone into administration and all its holidays and flights have been cancelled with immediate effect.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Department for Transport say they are now working to organise the return of 110,000 Monarch customers who are currently overseas.
Some 300,000 future bookings have been cancelled and Monarch customers due to travel today have been told not to go to the airport. A dedicated website monarch.caa.co.uk has been set up for customers affected by the company’s collapse.
Monarch is the largest airline in the UK to ever go into administration and the CAA says it is dealing with an “unprecedented situation”.
If you’re abroad on a Monarch package holiday, you can continue it. The CAA says it’s contacting hotels to ensure you can remain in your accommodation – however it says you may be asked to make a further payment, in which case you should pay, keep a receipt showing a full breakdown of charges and claim back from the CAA when you’re back in the UK.
If you’re currently abroad and due back by 15th October
If you’re a Monarch customer, already overseas and due to come back on or before 15 October, the CAA has said it will ensure you get home at the end of your break. This applies whether you’re on a package holiday or have a flight-only booking.
You’ll be given a new flight as close as possible to your original booking. It won’t cost you anything extra and the regulator says it will try to keep groups of travellers together.
The regulator says details of your new flight will be available at least 48 hours before you’re due to travel. This should be on the CAA’s dedicated website – although so far there seems to be no information beyond today. The CAA says to keep checking as the website is continually being updated.
Once your flight home’s confirmed, you’ll need to go the airport at least three hours before your new deparutre time. (Don’t go to the airport unless your new flight is listed on the website or the lead passenger on the booking has received a text or email telling them to do so.) You’ll have to check in at the airport. You may be flown back to a different UK airport – if so, the CAA says it’ll then get you back to the airport you were supposed to fly back to at no extra cost.
If you’re ATOL-protected (so if you are on a Monarch package holiday, or flights which were booked on or before 14 December 2016), then you may be able to reclaim expenses from the CAA as follows – make sure you keep the receipts:
- If your new flight is more than four hours later than the original, you can reclaim for refreshments.
- If your new flight is a day or more after the original, you can reclaim for refreshments and accommodation.
However if you booked a package holiday with via another travel agent, the CAA says you should contact the agent first to see what support it can give you before paying for your own accommodation etc.
If you’re currently abroad and due back after 15th October
If you’re currently overseas and your return flight isn’t scheduled until 16 October or later, then what happens next depends on whether you have ATOL protection:
If you do have ATOL protection, your return flight will be arranged at no extra cost. This should apply if you booked a Monarch holiday, or booked a flight on or before 14 December 2016 – you’ll have been sent an ATOL certificate when you booked to confirm you’re covered.
If you don’t have ATOL protection, you’ll need to book your own flight home. The CAA has a list of airlines that fly similar routes. You’ll then need to try and claim back under Section 75, chargeback or from your travel insurer.
If you haven’t yet travelled and have a future Monarch “flight-only” booking which you booked on or after 15 December 2016.
You won’t be ATOL-protected and so won’t be able to claim from the CAA. Your protection’s likely limited, though it’s worth checking your travel insurance and if you paid with a credit card and your flight cost at least £100, you may be able to claim from your credit card company – see Section 75 protection for full info. With flights which cost less than £100 booked on a credit card, or any flights booked with a debit card, you may have some protection from the chargeback scheme.
If you haven’t yet travelled and have a future Monarch “flight-only” booking which you booked on or before 14 December 2016
You should have ATOL protection – you’ll have received an ATOL certificate confirming this. If so, you should be able to get a refund. The CAA says it’ll be publishing more details on how to claim shortly.
If you haven’t yet travelled and booked a Monarch package holiday
You will have ATOL protection and so will be able to get a refund. Again, the CAA says it’ll be publishing details on how to claim shortly – it says it hopes to complete refunds “by the end of 2017 at the latest”.