British airline Monarch has ceased trading after it lost its licence to sell package holidays in the UK.Monarch was unable to reach a deal on Sunday with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to renew the Atol licence.About 110,000 people are currently overseas on a holiday or flight organised by Monarch. In addition, there are 300,000 bookings in the pipeline involving about 750,000 people. Full details of customers’ rights are available on the dedicated website: monarch.caa.co.uk What does it mean for customers currently on a Monarch package holiday?The Atol scheme refunds customers if a travel firm collapses and ensures those holidaymakers are not stranded. However, while Monarch package holidays were protected by the ATOL scheme, those who booked flights only are NOT protected. However most of those who booked a flight only will still be flown home by the CAA, along with those who are fully ATOL protected.The CAA says customers currently overseas should check monarch.caa.co.uk for confirmation of their new flight details – which will be available a minimum of 48 hours in advance of their original departure time.Monarch flights cancelled as airline ceases trading
Live updates on Monarch failure
What if I am abroad, having booked a flight only?You will be covered by the CAA rescue scheme, provided your return flight to the UK is on or before 15 October.What if I am due to return home after 16 October?If you were on a Monarch package holiday, your booking is Atol-protected, and therefore you will be flown home free of charge. If you had booked a flight only, you are not entitled to that, so you will have to make your own arrangements to fly home. You will then need to try and reclaim your money, using one of the methods listed below.
How about customers who have not flown yet?Holidaymakers who bought a package holiday through Monarch will be Atol-protected, and will get their tickets refunded.The CAA says that roughly half of those with future bookings are in this position, with the other half having booked flights only.In most cases, the ATOL protection on package deals will be provided by a company other than Monarch – usually the firm providing the holiday element of the package.But passengers due a refund may have to wait for some time.”Experience suggests this will take weeks or months rather than days,” according to the Independent’s travel editor, Simon Calder. “They will get the money back, but in the meantime the cost of their holiday will have increased.”What if you only booked a flight with Monarch?By law, every UK travel company which sells air holidays has to hold an Atol licence. Monarch’s website explains that it only holds the licence for package holidays, not flight-only tickets.So customers who only booked flights – the vast bulk of Monarch’s business – are unlikely to get any money back from Monarch. However, those who used a credit card to buy flights worth more than £100 can seek a refund from their card company.
What if I used a debit card to pay?In many cases debit cards, such as those issued by Visa, will also cover the loss.”Debit card companies generally will, but only if you’ve been to the administrators, KPMG, first of all and said, ‘Can I have my money back?’ – and they’ve said no,” said Mr Calder.While some airlines still charge extra for using a credit card, Monarch abandoned that policy last year, meaning a higher proportion of its customers may have booked with a credit card, giving them extra protection.What about claiming on travel insurance?This will depend very much on the terms and conditions of the insurance. Most policies do not cover airline failure as a standard part of the cover.Blair Nimmo an administrator with KPMG told the BBC: “The Atol scheme protects the package holidays. If you’re on a flight only then you will tend to more rely on your credit or debit card provider or perhaps travel insurance.”The rules are “relatively complicated depending on your specific circumstances, he added, but “we would very much hope that the vast majority, if not everyone would get their money back”.Passengers unable to claim any money back will remain as creditors of the collapsed company, but they will be well down the queue for compensation.