What to do if your airline shuts down

With Monarch’s recent collapse, hundreds of passengers with booked flights were left wondering what they do now. There are a few steps you can take if there is a problem with your flight. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will step in in the case of a whole airline collapsing, whilst if there is an issue with a single flight, after a certain number of hours delay there are measures to protect consumers and you’ll have a right to claim compensation, so don’t despair just yet!

Airline take off

What to do if the airline collapses:

Now this is a pretty rare occurrence but as we have seen in the last week, it can indeed happen.

If you’re already abroad and are due to fly home the same day, the CAA will endeavour to arrange a ‘rescue’ flight for you and stick as close as possible to your original booked flight times and destinations. The likelihood is that these rescue flights will be covered by the CAA, but if your flight is not ATOL protected you are not covered by CAA rescue flights and may be asked to pay.

If you’re booked onto a return flight later in the week, try to relax and enjoy the rest of your holiday and await instructions about your rearranged flight by email, text or phone.

As an alternative, other airlines offer discounted rescue flights as long as you can produce evidence of your original booking. It is more difficult to get compensation for these flights though, so bare this in mind.

If you are booked onto a flight in the coming weeks or months after the collapse, hold tight. If your holiday has an ATOL certificate, you should be refunded any costs with the collapsed airline (flights, accommodation or car rental). If it’s not ATOL protected, you’ll still probably be able to claim from your card provider if you paid by credit card - check with your bank. Otherwise, check your travel insurance as this is likely to cover the fare of the flight.

Remember though, if you have booked accommodation separately to your flights it’s unlikely they will refund you this - you’ll have to find another way to get there. There will be alternative flights through other airlines although it’s likely that prices will noticeably rise.

Delayed airline passengerWhat do if your flight is delayed or cancelled:

Here are your rights under EU law if your flight is delayed or cancelled:

2 or more hours:
You are entitled to airport vouchers for:
 - food and drink
 - access to phone calls/emails
 - accommodation if your delay is overnight
If you are not given these, keep your receipts for your “reasonable” (read: NOT 5* hotel) expenses and claim back afterwards.

3 or more hours:
As well as all of the above, you are entitled to compensation but only if the delay is the airline’s responsibility, not for delays due to weather or strikes.

Find out the value of what you are entitled to 

5 or more hours:
You are not required to take the flight and if you do not, the airline must legally fully refund you for the flight, any connecting flights, and if you’re already part-way through the flight a return journey to your original departing airport.

If you do take it, you are entitled to claim up to €600 compensation as long as the delay is the fault of the airline.  

If your flight is cancelled:

You have the right to either a full refund or replacement flight. You may or may not be entitled to compensation for this, check here to find out.

Remember, if you are having problems receiving compensation, contact the CAA directly - as long as the airline in question is not member of an approved alternative dispute resolution (ADR) body, they will deal with it for you.

So if you are having problems with your flights due to recent developments, don’t panic! There are many options to help you get the compensation you deserve.

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