The government today (2 October 2017) began an unprecedented repatriation effort to return 110,000 passengers affected by the failure of Monarch.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling commissioned the extraordinary operation to return passengers who would otherwise have been left stranded by a lack of capacity in the aviation market to deal with such a significant demand.
The response means the government has agreed that passengers will not be charged for repatriation flights. Work is underway to recoup costs from the ATOL scheme and card providers.
The government is working closely with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to build a temporary airline from scratch that would be one of the UK’s biggest carriers if operating permanently.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:
"This is a hugely distressing situation for British holidaymakers abroad — and my first priority is to help them get back to the UK.
"That is why I have immediately ordered the country’s biggest ever peacetime repatriation to fly about 110,000 passengers who could otherwise have been left stranded abroad.
"This is an unprecedented response to an unprecedented situation. Together with the CAA, we will work around the clock to ensure Monarch passengers get the support they need.
"Nobody should underestimate the size of the challenge, so I ask passengers to be patient and act on the advice given by the CAA."
Administrators were appointed to Monarch Airlines Ltd and Monarch Travel Group on 2 October 2017. About 110,000 travellers are currently abroad on trips booked with the group — with no flight home.
Advice is being issued to passengers as follows:
- anyone affected should visit the dedicated website monarch.caa.co.uk – the quickest and best way to get information on your new flight — or call the helpline: 0300 303 2800 (UK) or +44 1753 330 330 (overseas)
- repatriation flights are for all passengers who purchased tickets with Monarch — irrespective of nationality
- details of all new flights will be available on the dedicated website or through the helpline — passengers should check for new flight details 48 hours before they are due to fly, and the site will be updated frequently
- passengers should expect to be flown home as close as possible to their planned departure dates and no earlier, and to prepare for disruption to their journeys
- some passengers may need to extend their stay abroad — and others may be flown back to different UK airports, with coaches available to take them to their destination airport
- nobody should travel to the airport unless they have a confirmed new flight booking
- nobody should arrive at the airport until 3 hours before their new flight as they will not be able to travel on an earlier flight
- Foreign Office consular staff will be at affected airports to assist vulnerable British citizens with specific needs, for example urgent medical issues
Passengers with ATOL protection will be entitled to reasonable accommodation and subsistence costs if they are delayed beyond their original departure date. Those without ATOL protection may be able to claim from card providers or insurers. Further information will be made available via the dedicated website monarch.caa.co.uk.
People with upcoming trips booked with Monarch should visit the dedicated website monarch.caa.co.uk. Those with ATOL protection will receive a full refund or alternative arrangements. Those without may be able to claim through card providers or insurers.
The government’s immediate priority is to return passengers to the UK, but we will give full consideration to how this happened and what can be done to stop it happening again in the future — including through legislation if needed.
For more information, passengers should visit the dedicated website monarch.caa.co.uk or call the helpline on 0300 303 2800 (UK) or +44 1753 330 330 (overseas). Passengers who need consular support should visit www.gov.uk/world.
Questions and answers
What has happened?
Administrators were appointed to Monarch Airlines Ltd and Monarch Travel Group Ltd went into administration on 2 October 2017. All Monarch flights have been cancelled with immediate effect, and the government has pledged to work with the CAA, who are leading the repatriation effort, to bring back all passengers currently overseas who were booked on a Monarch flight home to the UK. The government is organising special flights back for passengers who are affected, at no cost to them.
I’m an Monarch customer on holiday at the moment. What should I do?
Continue your holiday as planned. At least 48 hours before you are due to return home, visit the dedicated website at monarch.caa.co.uk or call the CAA helpline on 0300 303 2800 (UK) or +44 1753 330 330 (overseas) to confirm your new flight details. You may also need to speak to your accommodation provider about extending your stay. Do not travel to the airport until your confirmed flight as you will not be able to travel on an earlier flight. You should check in at the airport 3 hours before departure, there will be no online check in — you will not be able to check in with your old flight details, you will be issued with a new flight and new boarding card.
Once on board the plane, you will be asked to provide details of your original Monarch booking. If you are not ATOL protected, this will allow the government to claim the cost of your replacement flight directly from your credit or debit card company. You will not be asked to pay for your flight yourself.
What if I need to extend my hotel stay — will I need to pay for that?
Speak to your accommodation provider or travel agent to find out if they have rooms available.
If you are ATOL protected:
- you may be able to claim back reasonable costs for any additional accommodation, food or other expenses if you are delayed by more than 4 hours
- the CAA will process your refund as quickly as possible — check the dedicated website monarch.caa.co.uk for more information
If you are not ATOL protected:
- you may be able to claim back the cost of any additional expenses such as accommodation or food through your credit card provider or travel insurance
No passenger will have to pay for their replacement flight home during the flying programme.
Foreign Office consular staff will be at affected airports to assist vulnerable British people with specific needs, for example urgent medical issues.
How do I know if I’m ATOL protected?
Check if you have received an ATOL certificate, or check with your travel agent.
Why is the government paying to bring back passengers who don’t have ATOL protection?
With 110,000 Monarch passengers currently abroad this collapse would create unprecedented demand for flights and there is insufficient capacity in the aviation market to deal with it.
It’s right in these circumstances for the government to step in and take this unprecedented step to fly about 110,000 people back to the UK.
The government is working with credit and debit card companies, who would normally be liable for covering the cost of replacement flights for passengers who are not ATOL protected.
I’ve got a holiday booked with Monarch next month. What will happen next?
Check the dedicated website monarch.caa.co.uk or contact your travel agent if you booked with one. They will be able to advise on whether you can change your holiday booking or are entitled to a refund or compensation. If you are not covered by the ATOL scheme, you should also contact your credit card company or travel insurer.
About The UK Department for Transport
The UK Department for Transport works with our agencies and partners to support the transport network that helps the UK’s businesses and gets people and goods travelling around the country. We plan and invest in transport infrastructure to keep the UK on the move.