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Monarch Airlines help

How to get a refund on flights and holidays

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Megan F and Callum | Edited by Steve N

Updated 16 Oct 2017

Monarch

Earlier this month Monarch Airlines went into administration and all its holidays and flights were cancelled with immediate effect. An estimated 110,000 Monarch customers were already overseas, while up to 750,000 had bookings cancelled.

This guide features full info on your rights and what you can do if you're affected.

This is a developing story. This is the latest info we have, but it's subject to change. You can also check the Civil Aviation Authority's dedicated Monarch help website or call its 24-hour helpline (0300 303 2800 from the UK and Ireland, +44 1753 330330 from overseas). If you've a question not answered in this guide, email news@moneysavingexpert.com or let us know in our forum.

I'm already abroad – can I continue my holiday and how will I get home?

If you were overseas when Monarch went into administration, still haven't returned and were due to fly back at some point after 15 October, what happens next depends on whether you have ATOL protection:

  • Have ATOL protection? Your return flight will be arranged at no extra cost. You'll probably have ATOL protection if you booked a Monarch package holiday, or made a flight-only booking on or before 14 December 2016 (LAST YEAR) – you'll have been sent an ATOL certificate when you booked to confirm you're covered.
  • Don't have ATOL protection? You'll need to book your own flight home. You probably won't have ATOL if you made a Monarch flight-only booking from 15 December 2016 onwards. To help, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has a list of airlines that fly similar routes. You'll then need to try to claim back under consumer protections Section 75 or chargeback, or from your travel insurer – see more on this below.

If you were overseas at the time of Monarch's collapse and were due to fly home on or before 15 October, the CAA should have ensured you got home at the end of your break. Here's how it was supposed to work – whether you were on a package holiday OR had a flight-only booking.

  • You COULD continue your holiday as normal. The CAA said your holiday would not be cut short, and you wouldn't be flown home earlier than planned.
  • You should have been given a new flight as close as possible to your original booking. It shouldn't have cost you anything extra and the CAA says it tried to keep groups of travellers together.
  • You should have been given details of your new flight at least 48 hours before you were due to travel. These were posted on the CAA's dedicated website.
  • Once your flight home was confirmed, you were supposed to go to the airport at least three hours before your new departure time. You were supposed to check in at the airport. You may have been flown back to a different UK airport – if so, the CAA said it would get you back to the airport you were supposed to fly back to at no extra cost.
walking dog

Help abroad Q&A

  • Can I reclaim for food, hotels etc while waiting for my flight home?

  • What if I booked my package via an agent and the hotel wants money?

I've booked a package holiday – what are my rights?

Haven't left the UK yet? If you've booked a Monarch package holiday you will nearly always have ATOL protection, so you should be able to get a full refund – or you may be offered a replacement holiday. What you need to do depends on how you booked:

  • Booked with Monarch Holidays directly? If you paid with a credit card the CAA says you will need to claim via your provider, and send it this letter (see how to claim below). If you paid any other way you'll need to claim under the ATOL protection scheme, from the CAA. It says claim forms should have been sent out by Wednesday 11 October using the contact details you gave when you made the original booking – it will have come from a firm called 'Protect Claims', which is working on behalf of the CAA. If you haven't received one, check your spam.
  • Booked a Monarch package holiday via a UK travel agent? You should have ATOL protection. However, the exact process for claiming is a little unclear and we've been given conflicting information. The CAA says you should first contact whichever company made your booking, as it may choose to offer you an alternative holiday, which you can choose to accept instead of a refund. Alternatively you'll need to submit an ATOL claim when forms are sent out (yours may be sent to you or your agent). The CAA says your agent may be able to help you do this, if needed.
  • Booked a non-Monarch package holiday which included a Monarch flight via a UK tour operator? You should have ATOL protection. But rather than claiming under ATOL, contact whichever firm made your booking – it will be obliged to offer you a refund or rearrange your flight at no extra cost. If it can't rearrange your flight without adding an extra fee and you don't want a refund, the firm may offer you an alternative holiday, but it can charge for this.

    Some big tour operators, such as Thomson and First Choice, have said they are in touch with customers about potential replacement holidays and refunds.

Package holidays Q&A

  • How can I double-check if my holiday's ATOL-protected?

  • Will ATOL cover separate bookings for excursions, car hire etc?

  • What if I can't find my ATOL certificate?

  • I booked a DIY package holiday – is it ATOL-protected?

  • What if I booked with a non-UK travel agent?

  • I've received an ATOL form from 'Protect Claims' – is it legit?

I've a flight-only booking – will I get a refund?

If you've a Monarch flight-only booking and haven't yet travelled, the first thing to check is whether you have ATOL protection. Most flight-only bookings DON'T have ATOL protection, but if you made the booking on or before 14 December 2016 (ie, LAST YEAR), it may do.

Don't have ATOL protection? (Most flight-only bookings)

If you made a flight-only booking on or after 15 December 2016 (LAST YEAR), you won't have ATOL protection – in which case you WON'T be automatically refunded.

Not covered by ATOL? Try Section 75 or chargeback

If you're not covered by ATOL protection and your travel insurance won't pay out as you don't have the rare 'travel abandonment' cover, there are two further helpful protections to try.

The first is Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. That says if you pay for something – or even part-pay – on a credit card and it costs between £100 and £30,000, then the credit card company is jointly liable. In travel, it only works when you book direct, but that's fine for those who paid Monarch on a credit card, as long as the cost was over £100. So get in touch with the credit card firm and ask to make a 'Section 75' claim (and use the name) for any costs not received. See full details on this and template letters below.

For all debit cards and credit cards you can use a less well-known protection called 'chargeback' (though with credit cards, if you paid over £100, Section 75 is better). With this, you ask your card provider to ask Monarch for your money back as you have not received the service. While it's not a legal protection like Section 75, this is a core protection in Visa, Mastercard and American Express rules and it can swiftly help people get their money back. In fact, it was this route which we suggested in the Lowcostholidays issue which got the most success.

That's the overview from Martin – but here are full details on what you can try:

  • Check your travel insurance. See if your policy covers the airline going into administration – though many insurers won't cover you unless you bought specific travel firm failure cover. See below for which major insurers will cover you.

    We've heard some travel insurers are saying you must try to submit a claim to your bank first, even if you are covered under your policy – but you could try to argue the toss and say you expect it to handle your claim regardless.
  • Paid on a credit card and your flight(s) cost more than £100? Try Section 75. Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, if you pay on your credit card for a flight costing more than £100, the card company's equally liable and you may be able to claim from it. (If you booked a return flight, the total value must be over £100 – if you booked flights individually, each must be over £100.)

    You may also be able to claim if you only paid for part of the booking on your credit card, as long as the flight was more than £100. See our Section 75 guide for more info.

    Use our FREE Section 75 template letter. To put in a Section 75 claim for a Monarch flight, download our free template letter and send it to your credit card provider.

    Section 75 quick questions

    Can I use Section 75 to claim for hotels, car hire etc booked separately?

    How does Section 75 work if I made a group booking?

    Can my credit card company insist I try to claim on my insurance first?

    Do I have to wait until after my flight would have taken place to claim under Section 75?

    How long will a Section 75 claim take?

  • Flight less than £100 or paid on a debit card? Try chargeback. This involves asking your card provider to ask Monarch for your money back as you have not received the service. Unlike Section 75, chargeback isn't a legal requirement – it's just a customer service promise. But it's worth trying and when Lowcostholidays collapsed last year, we saw people having success using it. You may be covered by the Visa, Mastercard or Amex protection schemes, and should be covered for the whole price of the flight.

    You'll need to claim via your bank. As a general rule the Financial Ombudsman Service says you've 120 days to submit a claim from when you first became aware of the problem, and 540 days from when you bought your tickets, but do it ASAP. See our Chargeback guide for full help. We've already had some success stories from Monarch customers who've used this.

    Use our FREE chargeback template letter. To put in a chargeback claim for a Monarch flight, download our free template letter and send it to your bank.

    Here are Martin's tips for fighting your corner if your chargeback request is rejected:



    Chargeback quick questions

    My bank says I have to contact Monarch before making a chargeback claim – is that right?

    Can I claim for car hire, hotels etc?

    My bank says I have to wait to submit a chargeback claim – is this correct?

    How long will a chargeback claim take?

    My bank has said it'll reject my chargeback request. Should I put it in anyway?

  • Booked via PayPal? File a protection claim. If your flight is not covered by ATOL protection, you can file a PayPal buyer protection claim using this link.

    Some Monarch customers have found they're unable to make a claim through PayPal because the deadline for its protection has passed – normally you can only claim within 180 days of purchase.

    PayPal's since told us it's waiving that deadline for some as a goodwill gesture, but if you still have problems you could try chargeback. Several banks have told us they are accepting chargeback claims from PayPal customers, as long as you purchased the flight less than 540 days ago.

You can also register as an unsecured creditor with Monarch – you'll need to fill in a 'proof of debt form', attach supporting documentation such as invoices and send to Monarch Holdings Limited – in administration, c/o KPMG LLP, 15 Canada Square, London, E14 5GL. For full details see the administrator's website.

Sadly, though, it's unlikely you'll have much luck via this route, as you'll join a long list of firms trying to get cash back, and there's a strict hierarchy of how this is done. See our Administration Help guide for more info.

Do have ATOL protection (ie, booked on or before 14 Dec 2016)?

If you made your flight-only booking on or before 14 December 2016 you're likely to have ATOL protection and so WILL be able to claim a full refund – in most cases you'll need to apply to the CAA to get this. You should have been sent a claim form by 11 October, using the contact details you gave for the original booking. The CAA says that if you're ATOL protected and haven't yet received a claim form from 'Protect Claims', a company working on behalf of the CAA, you should check your email spam folder.

If it's not there, you can contact the CAA's call centre on 0300 303 2800 (from the UK) or +44 1753 330330 (from overseas).

What if I booked with a travel agent or website such as Expedia?

If a travel agent booked you onto an individual Monarch flight, the Association of British Travel Agents says the agent is, strictly speaking, not liable – so they don't have to refund you or even sort you out a replacement flight. That said, it's worth speaking to the agent and asking what it can do, as different agents and websites may have different policies.

Expedia, for example, says with flight-only bookings you'll have to try your travel insurer or card provider. Lastminute.com, meanwhile, says that it will be trying to get a refund for flight-only customers and that this could take up to 60 days (though some Lastminute.com customers also tell us they've received an email telling them to go to the administrators).

If you did book via an agent, it's also worth noting you WON'T typically be able to reclaim using Section 75, as that protection doesn't usually apply when you buy something through an intermediary.

One exception to this comes when the agent has directly passed your credit card details onto the provider – in this case Monarch. Usually when agents do this, you're charged a booking fee, and your receipt will come directly from the provider. If this is the case, you MAY be able to claim money back under Section 75. If you're unsure, the Financial Ombudsman Service says it will advise on whether you can claim.

You may also be able to use the chargeback scheme to claim if you booked via a third party, though not in every case. The Financial Ombudsman Service says if you have any problems with your claim, you can get in touch with it.

Flight-only Q&A

  • Can I claim for other things I've booked, eg, hotels and car hire?

  • What if I was due to fly with another company and return with Monarch?

Can I claim on my travel insurance?

In many cases you WON'T be able to claim on your travel insurance – to do so, you'll usually need extra travel firm collapse cover. We've called the major travel insurers to find out what their policies will cover, for flight costs – if you're not covered by ATOL – and 'consequential losses', such as hotels or car hire you may have booked separately (see the table below).

Will your travel insurer cover you for Monarch collapse?
Name of insurer Flight costs Consequential losses
Axa Only if policy includes travel disruption or scheduled airline failure cover Only if policy includes travel disruption or scheduled airline failure cover
Aviva Not typically, but Aviva suggests you contact it anyway if struggling to get money back Not typically, but Aviva suggests you contact it anyway if struggling to get money back
Churchill No No
Direct Line

Yes, except for Home Insurance Plus customers

No
Holidaysafe Only if policy includes travel firm/airline collapse cover Only if policy includes travel firm/airline collapse cover
Leisure Guard Only for Premier and Premier Plus customers Only for Premier and Premier Plus customers
Liverpool Victoria Only for Premier customers, up to their policy limit Only for Premier customers, up to their policy limit

You may be told to claim via ATOL or your card provider first

Many have told us that even though their travel insurance policy DOES cover Monarch's collapse, their insurer has insisted they first try to claim under ATOL, or from their credit or debit card provider using Section 75 or chargeback.

Most of the major insurers have also told us this is their policy. The Association of British Insurers acknowledged to us this could be "frustrating" for policyholders, but said "the responsibility clearly lies with the banks and credit card issuers in the first instance".

If you have ATOL protection, try that first. Otherwise you may find it easier to first contact your card provider as UK Finance, which represents card firms, has told us you can go to your insurer or card provider first. Some Monarch customers have told us they're unhappy their insurer has told them to go elsewhere, though – if that's you, you may want to argue your case and say you expect it to handle your claim regardless.

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

Unfortunately you're unlikely to get your cash. The CAA has said it will not be paying any outstanding flight delay claims on Monarch's behalf.

One option is to join the list of companies trying to claw back money from Monarch, by registering as an unsecured creditor.

Sadly, it's unlikely you'll have much luck with this route, as there'll be a long line of people claiming. But to give it a go, fill in a 'proof of debt form', attach supporting documentation such as invoices and send to Monarch Holdings Limited – in administration, c/o KPMG LLP, 15 Canada Square, London, E14 5GL. For full details see the administrator's website.

Other FAQs

Here are some other questions we've been asked.

  • Can I claim back Air Passenger Duty?

  • What about hotel-only bookings?

  • What if I've paid using a Monarch credit voucher?

  • What if I can't get hold of my Monarch invoices?

  • What if Monarch lost my luggage before going into administration?

  • Can I alter the date of my flight back (and still return on a CAA flight)?

How have you been affected? Still got questions? Share your experiences and let us know what you still need help with by emailing news@moneysavingexpert.com or in the Monarch Airlines collapse forum thread.

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