Flybmi cancels all flights and files for administration – latest info and your rights
British airline Flybmi has filed for administration and all its flights have been cancelled with immediate effect, leaving passengers' plans in chaos and some £100s out of pocket.
Flybmi, which is based in the East Midlands, operated 17 planes on routes to 25 European destinations. More than 10,000 passengers had booked to fly with it on 440 flights this week. The airline's blamed its collapse on uncertainty around Brexit and a number of other factors, including a spike in the costs of fuel and meeting emissions targets.
If you've a Flybmi flight booked and were due to depart imminently, DON'T travel to the airport unless you've first arranged an alternative flight with a different airline. We've full help below on what to do and how to try to claim if you've lost out.
It's worth noting, given that Saturday's announcement has caused some confusion on social media, that Flybmi is a separate airline to its larger rival Flybe.
For more help on what to do if there's a problem with your holiday, see our Holiday Rights guide.
I'm already abroad – how do I get home?
If you're overseas and were booked to return to the UK on a Flybmi flight, regulator the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) says you'll need to book yourself a replacement flight on another airline or find a different route home.
The CAA has confirmed that it won't be organising flights for stranded passengers, as it did when Monarch Airlines collapsed in 2017. Monarch passengers were flown home because most had ATOL protection, whereas the CAA has told MoneySavingExpert.com that few Flybmi passengers are protected through ATOL (the Government-backed Air Travel Organiser's Licence scheme).
However, if you did book your flights as part of a package holiday and are ATOL-protected, the CAA says you should speak to your travel firm – it's responsible for making sure you get home. If you're ATOL-protected, you should have got an ATOL certificate after you booked.
If you're stuck abroad and need to make your own way home, make sure you keep receipts and any related paperwork for replacement travel and any extra expenses you face, such as hotels, food or car hire. You may be able to reclaim these expenses.
The CAA has also listed airlines offering passengers rescue fares on its website. Don't assume these are the cheapest fares out there, although they may be worth considering.
What if I'm due to fly from the UK in the next few days?
All Flybmi flights have been cancelled with immediate effect, so unless you have ATOL protection you'll need to arrange alternative travel. Go to the airport only when you've arranged the new flight. You'll also need to check if you can get a refund for your original flight – see more on how to do this below.
If you booked your flights as part of a package holiday and are ATOL-protected, speak to your travel firm. The CAA says it must make alternative arrangements so your trip can continue, or provide a full refund.
Will I get a refund for my flight?
You may be able to, but it's far from guaranteed. First, check if you have ATOL protection – though the CAA says that few will. If you do, as you booked your flight as part of a package holiday, contact your travel firm – it should arrange alternative flights or give you a full refund.
If you don't have ATOL protection – and no one who booked their flight directly will – here are a few ways you may be able to get your cash back:
- Check your travel insurance. See if your policy will allow you to claim. You may be able to if it includes cover for 'scheduled airline failure', known as SAFI.
- Paid on a credit card and flight cost more than £100? Try Section 75. Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, if you pay on your credit card for an individual flight costing more than £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.
- Flight 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 when other travel firms have collapsed previously, we've seen successful claims from people using this. You may be covered by the Visa, Mastercard or American Express protection schemes. See our Chargeback guide for details of how to claim.
- Booked another way, such as PayPal? Check protection schemes. You may have some form of protection – we'll update this guide when we know more.
- Didn't book direct? Contact your travel agent. The CAA states that if you booked your flight via an agent you should contact it in the first instance. It may have provided travel insurance that includes scheduled airline failure cover. We've asked the CAA what other help travel agents may be able to give and will update this story when we hear back.
The CAA says that if you're trying to claim via Section 75 or chargeback – routes that have worked well for passengers previously – your card firm may ask you to provide a 'negative response letter' confirming the situation.
You can register as a creditor by contacting the administrator BDO on BMR@bdo.co.uk. Sadly, it's unlikely you'll have much luck via this route as you'll join a list of firms trying to get cash back, and there's a strict hierarchy to how this is done. See our Administration Help guide for more info.
Can I get a refund for hotels, car hire etc?
It's likely many passengers with cancelled flights will also have separately booked accommodation, car hire or other elements of a trip.
If you need to change your plans as a result of Flybmi's collapse, first check if you can amend or cancel your hotel (or car hire etc) booking. Even if officially it's too late to do so, it may be worth contacting the firm, explaining the situation and asking it to make an exception.
If you still can't cancel without paying a penalty, check with your travel insurer to see if you're covered for this kind of 'consequential loss'. Some policies may cover this – but unfortunately many won't.
Can I claim compensation for my cancelled flight?
Unfortunately, almost certainly not.
Under EU rule 261/2004, you are often entitled to between £110 and £530 in compensation if your flight's cancelled – see full details in our Flight Delays guide. And Flybmi's statement on its website says you legally have a right to apply for compensation.
However, the CAA's confirmed in practice it's almost certainly not worth doing this, as it would be Flybmi you would be claiming from, and it's unlikely to be in a position to pay.
What if I have an outstanding flight delay claim?
If you had a previous Flybmi flight delayed or cancelled and have an outstanding compensation claim, the CAA says it will be up to the administrator to decide how to handle your claim. But based on what's happened when airlines have collapsed previously, you may struggle to pursue your claim.
What are Flybmi passengers saying?
We've seen lots of reports on social media from affected passengers – including the following:
Some routes are being taken on by Loganair
Regional airline Loganair has said it will take over some services provided by Flybmi.
Loganair will operate flights from Aberdeen to Bristol, Oslo and Esbjerg from Monday 4 March – so if you regularly book with Flybmi for flights on these routes, you'll be able to book with Loganair in future.
What does Flybmi say?
In a statement posted on the Flybmi's website on Saturday, a spokesperson said: "It is with a heavy heart that we have made this unavoidable announcement today. The airline has faced several difficulties, including recent spikes in fuel and carbon costs... These issues have undermined efforts to move the airline into profit. Current trading and future prospects have also been seriously affected by the uncertainty created by the Brexit process.
"We sincerely regret that this course of action has become the only option open to us, but the challenges, particularly those created by Brexit, have proven to be insurmountable."
Three partners from BDO LLP have been appointed joint administrators.
BDO business restructuring partner Tony Nygate said: "As joint administrators, we are taking all necessary steps to ensure customers, staff and suppliers are supported through the administration process. Our job is to maximise recoveries and minimise distress for all parties, acting as smoothly and swiftly as possible."
Additional reporting by Anthony Hill.
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