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.
In this guide...
- I'm already abroad what should I do?
- I've booked a package holiday...
- I've a flight-only booking will I get a refund?
- Can I claim on my travel insurance?
- What about flight delay claims?
- Other FAQs
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or let us know in our forum.
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.
Help abroad Q&A
If you're ATOL-protected (so in most cases if you're on a Monarch package holiday, a package holiday with a different firm which includes Monarch flights or have a flight-only booking made on or before 14 December 2016 ie, LAST YEAR), you may be able to reclaim expenses from the CAA as follows make sure you keep receipts:
- If your new flight is more than four hours later than the original... you can reclaim for refreshments, phone calls and car parking etc.
- If your new flight is a day or more after the original... you can reclaim for the above PLUS accommodation.
For full details of how much you can claim, see the CAA's expenses guidance.
However, if you booked a package holiday with another travel agent, the CAA says you should contact the agent first to see what support it can give you before paying for your own accommodation etc.
What if I booked my package via an agent and the hotel wants money?
If you booked a package via another travel agent or website and have ATOL protection, contact it for help if your hotel asks for payment. It will need to sort this out for you again, if you have to make a payment and reclaim, ensure you keep copies of all receipts.
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
ATOL protection generally applies to any holiday booked via a UK-registered travel company that includes flights plus accommodation and/or car hire.
If your flight or holiday is ATOL-protected, you should have received an ATOL certificate as soon as you made any payment towards the booking, by email or post. Check your booking documents to see if you received one. The document is usually light yellow in colour and has 'ATOL Certificate' at the top.
Until 1 October 2017, the following companies which have now ceased trading as part of Monarch's entry into administration provided ATOL cover:
- Monarch Holidays Ltd (ATOL Number 2275)
- First Aviation Ltd (ATOL Number 4888) previously trading as Monarch Airlines
- Avro Ltd (ATOL Number 1939)
However, the following did not:
- Somewhere2Stay Ltd
- Monarch Airlines Ltd (since December 2016)
You may also have ATOL protection if you booked via another firm, so check to see if you have the certificate.
No. While the ATOL scheme covers your package holiday, it won't cover anything you've booked separately, such as excursions. You'll need to see if you can claim these back via travel insurance or Section 75 protection see more on this below.
Some travellers have told us that they know they have ATOL protection for example, if they booked a Monarch package holiday direct yet they can't find the ATOL certificate which should have been sent to them after booking.
The CAA has said you don't actually need your certificate to reclaim money, and you'll still be sent a claim form directly or via your travel agent.
Yes it's possible to create your own protected package holiday. If you booked a flight plus separate hotel or car hire together (or within 24 hours) from the same travel website (not airline), you would have been given ATOL protection, just as with a traditional package holiday. This type of DIY package holiday is called 'Flight-plus' in the ATOL regulations.
While having booked this way means you are covered under ATOL, the Association of British Travel Agents says you should actually go to the firm you booked with for help. It will be responsible for rearranging your holiday at no extra cost or if it can't do this, refunding you.
If you used a travel agent not based in the UK to book a Monarch package holiday, or another package holiday which included a Monarch flight, there's a chance you may NOT have ATOL protection. That's because only UK travel firms are required by law to hold an ATOL when selling package holidays as, for example, Lowcostholidays customers found out last year.
If this applies to you, you'll need to look at other routes to claim, though your options may be limited. See info on Section 75 and chargeback claiming below.
Yes. A number of MoneySavers have queried this, but the CAA's confirmed it is using a company called 'Protect Claims' to send out its ATOL forms. If you have any questions or are concerned, contact the CAA on 0300 303 2800 (from the UK) or +44 1753 330330 (from overseas).
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.
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?
We've heard of a small number of cases where a credit card company has paid out for 'consequential losses' such as separately booked hotels and car hire after a Section 75 claim though there's no guarantee this will work for everyone. The Financial Ombudsman Service has said it will depend on each individual case and factors such as whether you still manage to use part of your bookings.
To put in a claim for this kind of consequential loss, mention it when you submit your claim, with proof of expenses where possible.
How does Section 75 work if I made a group booking?
If one person has booked flights for a group, it's that person the credit card-holder who must put in the Section 75 claim.
The general rule is each 'item' claimed for under Section 75 must be over £100 so in this case, that's each individual flight, or return flight if you booked one.
If you booked flights for several people, what counts is still the cost of each individual's single or return flight. If individually your flights work out as costing £100 or less, you may need to make a chargeback claim instead.
Can my credit card company insist I try to claim on my insurance first?
It shouldn't. UK Finance, the body which represents card providers, has told us that as Section 75 is a legal route, card providers should co-operate with you, and allow you to try to claim back money without insisting you try your travel insurer first.
Do I have to wait until after my flight would have taken place to claim under Section 75?
No the Financial Ombudsman Service says in this case it's fine to put in a claim before your scheduled flight date, as consumers can supply evidence that Monarch flights won't be leaving the UK.
How long will a Section 75 claim take?
It depends it's usually a matter of weeks, though your credit card provider's likely to be processing a lot of claims. If your claim isn't resolved within eight weeks you can take it to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
There are no time limits for making a claim under Section 75, but once you start the claim you have six years to settle it or issue court proceedings.
- 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
We heard of some people having trouble submitting chargeback claims to their banks on the day of Monarch's collapse for example, with Santander. All the banks we've spoken to including Santander, Barclays and Lloyds Banking Group have confirmed they're accepting claims, and you shouldn't need to speak to Monarch first.
But your bank may ask you to check if you have ATOL protection before you raise a chargeback claim (as in that case you'll be covered under the ATOL scheme instead). See above for how to check so you can contact your bank armed with this knowledge.
Can I claim for car hire, hotels etc?
No, chargeback doesn't cover what's known as consequential loss, such as bookings for car hire and hotels; UK Finance has told us with chargeback the claim can't exceed the original transaction's value.
My bank says I have to wait to submit a chargeback claim is this correct?
We've heard that some banks were initially saying you'd have to wait until your flight was due to take place before you could submit a chargeback claim for it failing to happen.
However, this ISN'T right, so if you're told this, challenge it. The Financial Ombudsman Service says in this case it's fine to put in a claim before your flight date as consumers can supply evidence that Monarch flights won't be leaving the UK.
Usually you have 120 days from the payment date to claim. But it's best to do so as soon as you can, especially as there's likely to be a backlog.
How long will a chargeback claim take?
As with Section 75, it depends. It's usually a matter of weeks, though banks are likely to have a lot of claims to get through. If your claim isn't resolved within eight weeks you can take it to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
My bank has said it'll reject my chargeback request. Should I put it in anyway?
In a word, yes. If you ring your bank and it says you aren't eligible for a chargeback request but you think you are, ask to do it anyway. This is because if the bank then rejects your request formally, you can challenge this by elevating your claim to the Financial Ombudsman.
- 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.
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).
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.
If you booked parts of your holiday separately, but only your flights have been cancelled, you need to decide whether you want to try to book alternative flights or cancel your whole trip.
If you decide to cancel your trip, there are a few things you can try to reclaim:
- Check your bookings' T&Cs. See if you can cancel for free, or at least claim some of your cash back. If this doesn't work it could also be worth contacting the company to see if it can help as a goodwill gesture, or move your booking to an alternative date.
- Try your travel insurer. Many policies won't cover you, but some insurers have said they WILL cover 'consequential losses' such as car hire bookings. See more on what major insurers are doing below.
- See if you can claim from your credit card company. We've heard of a small number of cases where a credit card company has paid out for consequential losses after a Section 75 claim though there's no guarantee this will work for everyone. The Financial Ombudsman Service has said it will depend on each individual case and factors such as whether you still manage to use part of your bookings. See Section 75 help above.
The CAA arranged replacement flights home for those passengers who flew out with another company before Monarch collapsed and were due to fly back with the airline before 16 October.
The CAA also initially and repeatedly told us this would be the case if after Monarch's collapse you flew out on another airline and were due to fly back with Monarch on or before 15 October.
However, on 10 October it said this WASN'T the case, and apologised if any of its previous guidance had been "unclear". See the Regulator backtracks MSE News story for full info, and if you faced difficulties because of this, let us know at email@example.com.
If you were due to return on a Monarch flight on or after 16 October, the CAA WON'T put you on a replacement flight. See Flight-only help above for ways to try to reclaim some money.
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|
Yes, except for Home Insurance Plus customers
|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.
Here are some other questions we've been asked.
Air Passenger Duty is tax you pay on your flight, but it's included in the cost and not actually collected by the Government until AFTER you fly.
Because of this, the money is held by Monarch, so you'd have to claim it back with the rest of the cost of your ticket via ATOL, your credit card provider or travel insurer.
While most Monarch customers have flight-only bookings, and a smaller proportion booked package holidays, there are also a small number who have hotel-only bookings.
If you have a hotel-only booking, it won't be ATOL-protected. So to reclaim you'll need to look at the same options as those with flight-only bookings which don't have ATOL protection checking your travel insurance, Section 75 and chargeback. See more on this above.
If you have a Monarch credit voucher, you'll no longer be able to spend it. You can make a claim as an unsecured creditor to the administrators (see how to do this above) though be warned, you'll be towards the back of a long queue.
If you booked an ATOL-protected holiday or flight using a voucher, you may be able to get a refund in cash under the ATOL scheme, subject to proof of the transaction. You'd need to claim for this under the ATOL scheme.
If you used a voucher to make a booking which isn't ATOL-protected, it's trickier.
What if I can't get hold of my Monarch invoices?
Some Monarch customers have told us they've struggled to get hold of the documentation proving they'd booked a holiday or flight particularly as they can no longer log in to the Monarch website to access their booking.
KPMG, the administrator, says customers in this situation should try checking credit/debit card statements or their email to find proof of purchase.
What if Monarch lost my luggage before going into administration?
If you lost luggage or were due to receive a refund for luggage lost on a Monarch flight on or before 1 October 2017, you paid for your ticket using a credit card and the cost of the ticket was £100 or more, Monarch's administrator KPMG says you should contact your card issuer or travel insurer. Alternatively, you can submit a claim in the administration of Monarch by writing to KPMG.
No the CAA says you must take the flight that has been arranged to replace your return flight home. If you wish to alter the dates of your return, you'll need to pay for a new flight.