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Budget airline Cobalt cancels all flights – what you need to know

Budget airline Cobalt has announced it is cancelling all of its flights and indefinitely suspending operations.

Cobalt, which has services from Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick, warned travellers on Wednesday night not to arrive for flights.

The cancellations come after Danish budget carrier Primera Air ceased trading earlier this month.

In a statement on its website, the airline said: "Cobalt regrets to announce that it will be cancelling all flights as of 11.50pm 17 October due to indefinite suspension of Cobalt's operations. As a result, future flights or services provided by Cobalt will be cancelled and will no longer operate."

It added that passengers should not go to the airport to travel, and should contact their credit card provider or travel agent for refunds.

'Great start to Dad's wedding'

Cobalt passengers have taken to social media following the cancellations to complain and ask for help:

I'm due to fly with Cobalt, what should I do? 

If you've booked a flight, here's what you can try to get your money back:

  • Check if you have ATOL protection – ATOL is the name of the protection scheme run by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

    Cobalt did not offer ATOL protection, however some passengers who were due to fly with it as part of a package holiday may have ATOL protection. The simplest way to check is to look at your booking – if you had ATOL protection, you should have been sent an ATOL certificate at the time.

    If you do have ATOL protection, the travel firm you booked with is responsible for your flight arrangements and must either find alternative flights, so that your holiday can continue, or provide a full refund. See our Holiday Rights guide for more.

  • Paid on a credit card and your flights cost £100+? Try Section 75. Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, if you booked directly with a firm and paid on your credit card for a transaction costing at least £100, the card company's equally liable and you may be able to claim from it. See our Section 75 guide for more info and template letters.

  • Flights less than £100 or paid on a debit card? Try chargeback. Unlike Section 75, the chargeback scheme isn't a legal requirement, it's just a customer service promise. But it's worth trying and we've seen successful claims from people using this. You may be covered by the Visa, Mastercard or American Express protection schemes, and should be covered for the whole price of the flight. See our Chargeback guide for full details.

  • Try your travel insurance. It's worth seeing if your policy covers the airline going into administration – though many insurers won't cover you unless you have specific travel firm failure cover. Contact your insurer to check. 

I'm stranded in Cyprus – what should I do?

Cyprus' Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works is telling customers who were supposed to fly home today or yesterday to buy a single one-way economy class ticket to get home.

It says to keep "all the evidence and receipts to be eligible for reimbursement". It has not yet said how to claim, but in the interim you can try and contact it via its website

 Wizz Air is offering "rescue" flights – from £79 – to Cobalt customers who are stranded. 

Of course, it's possible that you could find flights cheaper elsewhere, so don't assume these are the best available until checking. See our Cheap Flights guide for more info.

Cyprus' Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works says all other passengers who were due to travel home up to and including 24 October, should call +37524841100 or +37522869999 to ask for a single one-way ticket in economy class for repatriation.

Cyprus' government says it will cover all costs of these tickets, and though it is not legally obliged to do so, it is worth trying.

What about hotels, car hire and other costs?

If you can't get to your destination because your Cobalt flight's been cancelled, you could also lose out if you've already booked accommodation or further travel – these are known as consequential losses.

First, check if you can cancel these bookings and get a refund, either as part of the T&Cs or as a goodwill gesture from the provider.

If that doesn't work, check if your travel insurance will cover you. Some fuller policies give you 'abandonment protection' for consequential losses – but it's not guaranteed. See our Holiday Rights guide for a breakdown of different insurers' policies.

I was due a flight delay payout from Cobalt – what happens now?

Unfortunately, you may find it difficult to get your cash. Passengers have struggled to get delay payouts after other airlines – notably Monarch – have gone bust in the past.

One option is to sign up to become an unsecured creditor – but again, you'll be at the back of a long line of people claiming.

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