THOUSANDS of passengers of failed airline Flybmi have been told to claim refunds for cancelled flights from their credit or debit card providers.
The East Midlands airline, which operated routes to 25 European cities, went bust this weekend causing chaos for thousands of passengers with bookings.
Customers who booked direct are being advised not to turn up to the airport unless they’ve bought alternative flights.
Meanwhile those who booked via a travel agent or one of Flybmi’s codeshare partner airlines – which includes Lufthansa, Brussels Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Loganair, Air France and Air Dolomiti – will need to contact them.
The airline has blamed its failure on rising fuel and carbon costs, as well as on Brexit uncertainty which it says left it unable to secure flying contracts across Europe.
Where did Flybmi operate?
FLYBMI flew between the following European cities:
- City of Derry
- East Midlands
- London Stansted
- Milan Bergamo
- Paris Charles de Gaulle
Here’s how to get your money back if your flight is no longer taking off.
Find out if your trip was ATOL protected
If your flight was part of a package it may have ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s Licence) protection – you would have received a confirmation certificate when you booked if this was the case.
In this scenario, the package organiser is responsible for your flights and must either arrange alternative flights or provide a full refund.
If you are abroad, it should also arrange for flights to bring you home.
You might be able to get a refund from your debit or credit card provider
If you booked directly with Flybmi on debit or credit card you should be able to get a refund for cancelled flights from your card provider.
Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, card providers are jointly liable when a purchase or service isn’t fulfilled.
This service only kicks in if you paid at least £100 on credit card.
If you paid less than £100 on credit card or you paid for your flights on debit card, you may be able to get a refund via a scheme called Chargeback.
This is similar to Section 75 in that it pays out when purchases go wrong. But unlike Section 75 this isn’t a legal requirement so there’s no guarantee you’ll get your money back.
'I've had 14 flights cancelled'
Civil engineer Danny McLaughlin, 46, had 14 flights booked through his job over the next seven weeks between City of Derry Airport and London Stansted.
The father-of-two says he was shocked when he received a text message telling him of the airline’s demise.
Mr McLaughlin said: “I’m a bit stunned to be honest with you.
“I know airlines and things have been saying this for quite a while but it just came as a bolt out of the blue.
“I feel sorry for the staff. I haven’t reached the angry stage yet, I probably will. I probably will get a bit annoyed as the weekend goes on. And on Monday morning when I can’t get to work.”
Bmi Regional employed a total of 376 employees based in the UK, Germany, Sweden and Belgium.
Be aware that Section 75 and Chargeback are only likely to cover your flights booking as technically there’s nothing wrong with your hotel booking or other associated costs.
If you can’t travel, check if the providers will cancel or move your booking without charging a fee.
Section 75 and Chargeback are also unlikely to cover the cost of alternative flights.
The UK’s aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) says it will shortly publish a “negative response letter”, which some card providers will ask for before you can apply.
Check your travel insurance cover – it may pay out
If you didn’t pay on credit or debit card or you’re having trouble getting your money back, check your travel insurance cover.
You may be able to get your money back for all of your holiday if you were covered for “scheduled airline failure insurance” (SAFI).
The CAA says a policy may simply cover the cost of the original tickets purchased or any unused portion, or the additional cost of purchasing new flights, such as new tickets for travel back to the UK.
Be aware that with travel insurance, you’ll likely have to pay what’s known as an “excess” fee before you’ll get a payout.
You’re unlikely to get compensation
Where an EU flight is cancelled you may be due compensation for delays reaching your final destination and food, drink and accomodation if you’re left waiting at the airport.
This is paid under EU rules EU261/2004. But while Flybmi says you can submit a compensation claim, as the airline has no cash it’s unlikely you’d get anything back.
You’d become one of a long line of creditors owed money.
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