Monarch Airlines has collapsed: What happens now for those who’d booked holidays?

Hundreds of thousands of people woke up this morning to the news that their holidays have been cancelled because Monarch Airlines – which runs flights and package deals – has gone bust.

For the 110,000 passengers already on holiday, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has chartered flights to return them home – in what’s been described as the UK’s biggest peacetime repatriation.

But what about those people, an estimated 750,000 passengers, who have future holidays booked?

Don’t go to the airport

On the dedicated website set up for passengers by the CAA, it confirms Monarch Airlines, Monarch Holidays, First Aviation, Avro and Somewhere2stay have ceased trading.

“As a result, we are sorry to inform you that, as of 2 October 2017, all future holidays and flights provided by these companies have been cancelled and are no longer operating.”

The CAA chair, Dame Deirdre Hutton, told Radio 4’s Today Programme: “I’m conscious that people who have booked holidays will be distressed… I’m afraid the harsh message is that they must not go to the airport, there will not be a flight for them.”

Check if you are protected by ATOL

The CAA advises Monarch customers who haven’t yet started their holidays to check whether they have an ATOL certificate for their booking, which should have been issued at the time of booking. Every travel company in the UK by law should have an ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s Licence) – and if a company goes bust, the ATOL protection scheme protects passengers so they don’t lose money.

There are examples of what the certificate looks like, here on the website, as well as more information on how to find out if you’re protected if you booked a hotel only or through a travel company.

However, the CAA states that only those passengers who booked flights on or before December 14, 2016, will be ATOL protected and able to make a claim to the CAA. Those who booked from December 15 are not ATOL protected and will need “to contact their card issuer, insurer or PayPal for advice on how to claim a refund”.

There’s slightly better news for those who booked with Monarch Holidays, as they are ATOL protected.

The CAA says: “We are making arrangements for refunds to be made on these bookings as soon as possible, and we aim to complete this by the end of 2017 at the latest. We will be providing more information on how you should claim shortly. You will be able to submit a claim when we make the Monarch claim form available. Please do not submit a claim until you are advised to do so.”

Here’s what the CAA advises for different eventualities:

– Customers holding an ATOL certificate issued by Monarch should check for more information about how to claim a refund for their flights or holidays.

– Customers holding an ATOL certificate issued by another travel agent or tour operator should check with whoever they booked their holiday or flights with, for more information about what happens next.

– Customers whose future travel is not protected by ATOL should check with their travel insurer or – depending on how they paid for their holiday – their credit card or debit card issuer, in the first instance.

The CAA’s dedicated 24 hour helpline (0300 303 2800 from the UK and Ireland, and +44 1753 330 330 from overseas) is available to provide additional assistance to customers.

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