Flybe administration: Scramble to change plans after airline ceases trading
For Sophie Levy, a relaxing break to visit family in Windsor was scuppered when Flybe declared on Saturday that it was cancelling all flights.
The airline said it had ceased trading, with 277 out of 321 staff being made redundant.
Sophie is one of 2,500 people who were forced to change their Saturday travel plans last minute.
She flew with Flybe on Friday from Newquay in Cornwall to Heathrow, with a return flight scheduled for Sunday.
“I will now be getting a train at short notice that will put me out of pocket,” she told BBC News.
“My relaxing weekend turned out to be manic.”
Sophie is in the Royal Navy, based at RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall, and said she was under pressure to return to her base in time for a promotional course.
The airline has cancelled all planned flights to and from the UK after going into administration – affecting 75,000 passengers in total.
Flybe said it would not be able to help passengers arrange alternative flights.
Many customers have said they only found out about the cancellations while travelling to the airport.
Freddy McBride, 61, from Balham in south London, was due to fly with his wife from Heathrow to Belfast on Saturday morning but had to rebook with Aer Lingus.
He said he got up at the “crack of dawn” trying to check in, as he had been unable to do so the night before.
“I left my wife to do it while I got the train,” which was before 07:00 GMT, he said.
“I got to Hatton Central [station] and I checked my email and it says they’ve gone into administration. It’s just outrageous.”
‘£100 out of pocket’
Natalie Punshon from Darlington was in Belfast after her Sunday Flybe flight back to Newcastle was cancelled.
“This morning I woke up to two emails, one saying the flight was cancelled and another that I could check in for the flight,” she said.
She said she had booked a flight back with Easyjet, but that she was now £100 out of pocket.
Chris Donnelly, who was scheduled to fly from Belfast City to Heathrow at 07:25 GMT, also said his flight had been cancelled.
At 03:07 GMT he received an email from Flybe stating that the company had gone into administration, he said. The email advised passengers not to travel to the airport.
Mr Donnelly, a school principal and political commentator, was on his way to the airport when he saw the email.
He was able to book an alternative flight from Belfast to Gatwick, but doing so at short notice was inconvenient, he said.
He added that he had booked train tickets from Heathrow into central London for £50 – which he now did not need.
‘I don’t know what has happened’
Neil Baker from Teesside made a Flybe booking on Friday through a third-party website. He bought tickets for his mother, who is 87, and her friend to travel during the May bank holiday, he said.
“I received an email that there would be a delay in getting a booking confirmation which has happened to me before,” he said.
“Now I hear that Flybe has gone into administration, I don’t know what has happened to the flights.”
He said he is now waiting to hear from the third-party website to find out if his booking went through.
Flybe’s administrator confirmed 277 of its 321 staff were being made redundant.
Financial advisory firm Interpath said the rest of the company’s staff would be retained.
Until the most recent collapse, Flybe operated flights on 21 routes from Belfast City, Birmingham, and Heathrow to airports across the UK as well as to Amsterdam and Geneva.
A statement published on the Flybe website early on Saturday said the High Court had appointed joint administrators for Flybe Limited.
It added that anyone who had booked a flight with the airline via an intermediary should contact that intermediary directly.
The government said its “immediate priority” would be to support anyone trying to get home and Flybe staff who have lost their jobs.
What to do if your flight is cancelled
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the body which overseas air travel in the UK, has issued advice to customers:
- Those who booked directly with Flybe with a credit, debit, or charge card should contact their card provider for a potential refund
- Card providers may ask for a “negative response” letter, proving the status of the airline. This will published on the website of the CAA
- The CAA may launch an operation to repatriate stranded passengers, but this has not been announced yet. It is worth checking their website
- Customers who booked their flights as part of a package deal with a travel agent may be ATOL-protected (Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing) and are advised to speak to their agent
- Most Flybe bookings are not part of a package holiday and are unlikely to be ATOL-protected, but may still be covered through travel insurance if it covers scheduled airline failure
- For further information customers are advised to contact Flybe’s administrator Interpath at firstname.lastname@example.org