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UK European Consumer Centre

Flybmi ceases operation

UK holidaymakers affected by the collapse of Flybmi are being advised to contact the UK European Consumer Centre (UK ECC) for help and advice on their individual circumstances.

Flybmi, which operated services from various airports across the UK and Europe, ceased operations on Saturday 16 February 2019, with some passengers stranded and others no longer able to take up their initial flights. Administrators were appointed today (Monday 18 February 2019).

There is no indication that the CAA will be organising flights for stranded passengers as it did when Monarch Airlines collapsed in 2017, as many Flybmi passengers are not expected to have ATOL protection (the Government-backed Air Travel Organiser’s Licence scheme).

What does this mean for you?

The UK ECC says that UK consumers who booked flights direct with Flybmi are likely to have very few options open to them, even if they have already flown and are stranded abroad.

Adam Mortimer, consumer advisor at the UK ECC, said that the predicament a UK consumer finds themselves in will depend on their precise circumstances. He said: “Many passengers due to fly with Flybmi are likely to already be stressed or upset if they are stranded or not able to fly initially, but this situation is made worse by that fact that the airline is not covered by the Civil Aviation Authority’s ATOL protection scheme, which only covers passengers booked on a package holiday. This means that anyone who booked flights direct with Flybmi is unlikely to have any protection. 

“Passengers who have already travelled will need to make their own arrangements to return home. Some airlines are offering Flybmi passengers ‘rescue fares’. It is highly probable that passengers will need to contact their insurer to arrange a reimbursement of any extra expenses for their return home. This is likely only to apply, however, if they have what’s known as SAFI – Scheduled Airline Failure.”

Adam added that there may be other avenues open to consumers to get their money back.

He said: “If you have paid for the tickets on a credit or debit card, then you are advised to contact your bank/card provider to obtain a chargeback (for a debit card payment) or make a claim under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act (for a credit card payment) . Alternatively, if you have appropriate cover through your travel insurance you can make a claim this way.”

People who have booked flights as part of a package or booked through a third party are likely to be in the best position.

Adam said: “If you have booked through a third party, you should speak with them first as in some instances there may be protection through included insurances etc.

“If you have booked flights or a holiday that includes flights with a travel firm that holds an ATOL (and have received confirmation that you are ATOL protected), the travel firm is responsible for your flight arrangements. This means that they must either make alternative flights for you so that your holiday can continue or provide a full refund. If you are abroad, it should make arrangements to bring you home at the end of your trip. In such circumstances you should contact the ATOL travel firm.”

UK consumers are advised to contact the UK European Consumer Centre for free advice on their individual circumstances on 01268 886690 or email ECCNET-UK@ec.europa.eu



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