Flybe collapse: How to get a refund on flights and and what customers’ rights are

Flybe collapse leaves 75,000 customers in limbo: Your rights around refunds and replacement flights

  • Domestic airline Flybe has fallen into administration for the second time
  • Thousands of customers had flights booked and now face uncertainty 
  • We explain how Flybe customers may be able to get their money back 

Airline Flybe has collapsed for the second time, leaving 75,000 passengers facing uncertainty about how how to get refunds or replacement flights.

Flybe was a small-scale airline with eight planes flying 21 routes to 17 destinations across the UK and Europe.  

But the firm said it had gone into administration in a shock announcement over the weekend. 

The firm employed 321 workers, 277 of whom have lost their jobs while the rest will stay on to help with winding the airline down.

A Flybe statement on January 28 said: ‘Flybe has now ceased trading. All Flybe flights from & to the UK are cancelled & will not be rescheduled.’

However, there are several ways Flybe customers can get refunds or alternative flights.

Collapse: Flybe mostly ran flights within the UK, using a limited fleet of aircraft

Can I get a refund if I bought directly from Flybe?

Yes, but this is not guaranteed and depends on how you paid for a ticket.

If you booked a ticket directly with Flybe using a credit card, you may be protected under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, according to the Civil Aviation Authority.

If you pay for something worth more than £100 using a credit card, your credit card provider may have a legal obligation to refund you if that product or service isn’t delivered or isn’t as described.

If you paid for tickets worth less than £100 using a credit card, or paid with a debit or charge card, you may be able to make a claim under chargeback rules.

The voluntary chargeback system sees banks issue refunds for cash spent on goods and services that never materialise.

Customers may also be able to get a refund if they bought travel insurance for their Flybe trip.

However, they will need to check their policy terms as many travel insurance deals do not cover airline failure, according to financial data firm Defaqto.

Anna-Marie Duthie, travel insurance expert at Defaqto, said: ‘With flights and holidays cancelled as a result of the Flybe collapse, a lot of people’s holidays will be ruined over the coming months. 

‘Whilst airline failure has become more available under travel insurance in recent years, nearly half of annual travel insurance policies still offer no cover.’

What about if I bought through a third party?

If you bought Flybe tickets through a third party firm such as a travel or booking agent, the CAA advice is to contact them directly for any refund.

When was the first Flybe collapse? 

The airline first announced it would cease in March 2020, costing 2,400 employees their jobs as the Covid pandemic ravaged the tourism sector.

It returned in summer 2021 with a plan to operate up to 530 flights per week across 23 routes, serving airports such as Belfast City, Birmingham, East Midlands, Glasgow, Heathrow and Leeds Bradford.

What if I bought a Flybe flight with a package holiday?

You may be covered by ATOL – the Air Travel Organiser’s Licence. ATOL protection covers people taking a package holiday with a flight involved.

The scheme was set up back in 1973 to cover people flying abroad from being cut off if their holiday firm failed. It promises holidaymakers a refund or replacement trip if a holiday tour firm fails before their trip starts.

Defaqto’s Duthie said: ‘Anyone who has booked a trip with Flybe as part of a package holiday will be fully protected through the ATOL scheme and should not lose out.’

Customers in this position should speak to their travel agent to get a refund or alternative flights.

>> ATOL protection: What does it actually do?  

Rivals offer cheap flights to Flybe customers 

For those looking to book alternative flights, several airlines have launched cheaper deals just for customers affected by the collapse of Flybe.

British Airways is selling one-way fares of £50, plus taxes, fees and charges, on routes between London and Belfast, Newcastle or Amsterdam. Customers can make their booking by calling the British Airways contact centre.

Ryanair has deals for Flybe customers starting from £29.99. These include routes from Belfast to the East Midlands, Manchester and Stansted.

EasyJet is selling flights for £49 inside the UK and £79 internationally. Customers may need to show their original Flybe booking reference.