Updated 5 October: The Foreign Office says that 34,608 Monarch customers are already back in the UK, being brought back on more than 173 flights. Today, Thursday 5 October, the CAA plans to bring back 6,885 passengers from Spain, 10,793 in total from across all Monarch destinations.
The CAA launched its flights programme on Monday to bring 110,000 people back to the UK. On the first two days 119 flights operated, bringing 23,330 travellers home. Yesterday, 54 flights operated with 11,287 passengers. Today, 58 flights are planned. This programme will run until Sunday 15 October.
The FCO says that all future Monarch bookings, flights and holidays, are now cancelled. Passengers currently overseas shouldn’t go to the airport unless their flight back to the UK has been confirmed on monarch.caa.co.uk. Once their new flight details have been confirmed, customers should aim to arrive at check-in three hours in advance of their new flight time as check-in is likely to take longer than normal. No-one will be able to request to fly back to the UK earlier than the date of their original flight with Monarch. The vast majority of customers’ new flights will be at the same time or later than their original booking, so they should continue to enjoy the rest of their holiday.
Monarch customers who haven’t yet started their holidays should check whether they have an ATOL certificate for their booking. Customers holding an ATOL certificate issued by Monarch should check monarch.caa.co.uk for more information about how to claim a refund for their flights or holidays. Customers holding an ATOL certificate issued by another travel agent or tour operator should check with whoever they booked their holiday or flights with, for more information about what happens next. Customers whose future travel is not protected by ATOL should check with their travel insurer, or – depending on how they paid for their holiday – their credit card or debit card issuer, in the first instance.
The CAA’s dedicated 24 hour helpline – 0300 303 2800 (+44 1753 330330 from overseas) – is available to provide additional assistance to customers.
Updated 3 October: HERE, again, is the link to check the schedule of rescue flights.
There have been several reports about hotels demanding money from holidaymakers booked in through packages arranged by Monarch. Whether they are spurious stories or genuine, people are concerned and so I am pleased to pass on advice from ATOL as to what to do if faced with such demands.
If you booked your package with an ATOL-protected tour operator, which Monarch was, the Civil Aviation Authority will work to ensure all customers can remain in their accommodation until their departure date. The hotel should be made aware of the situation. If they insist on payment when the holiday was already fully paid in advance of arrival, contact the CAA and confirm that it has contacted the hotel. Some hotels may not understand the ATOL protection scheme and it is possible that the demand for money will drop once the CAA has been in touch. Anyone forced to pay for accommodation again can claim a refund from the CAA after returning to Britain.
Updated 4pm: Tenerife Turismo has confirmed, from information supplied by the director of TFS, Santiago Yus, from the CAA in the UK, that some 12,500 passengers in Tenerife will be affected over the next fortnight, and who will therefore need repatriation. A schedule of rescue flights has been set up, and these will arrive empty in Tenerife to return passengers to the UK as follows:
Today, Monday 2 October: a 180 seat TITAN, destination Birmingham, and a 360-seat 747 which will return passengers originally booked on two flights. One of these was to Manchester, the other to Gatwick. The rescue flight will land in Gatwick and the passengers headed for Manchester will be transferred by coach.
There will be a range of similar flights over the next few days: eight flights will arrive tomorrow, 3 October, three on Wednesday, four on Thursday, six each on Friday and Saturday, and three on Sunday. It is expected that this kind of schedule will continue next week. Passengers should check HERE to see when their replacement flight is booked for – click on the date the flight was originally booked for, and they should arrive at least three hours in advance at TFS, where there will be two dedicated departure lounges and a specific check-in desk with personnel from the Consulate and the UK Government.
Original post 2 October: Monarch Airlines ceased trading at 4am this morning, and for anyone in Tenerife who needs to get back to the UK, the company says:
This is an unprecedented situation and because there are up to 110,000 passengers abroad, the UK Government has asked the CAA to coordinate flights back to the UK for all Monarch customers currently overseas. These new flights will be at no extra cost to you.
In what is called the UK’s biggest peacetime repatriation, the CAA has said it is taking action to get 110,000 people back to UK on specially chartered planes. The repatriation will be in place for all Monarch customers who were due to return to the UK over the next fortnight. Around 300,000 future bookings have been cancelled.
Monarch’s CAA chief executive Andrew Haines said: “We know that Monarch’s decision to stop trading will be very distressing for all of its customers and employees. This is the biggest UK airline ever to cease trading, so the government has asked the CAA to support Monarch customers currently abroad to get back to the UK at the end of their holiday at no extra cost to them. We are putting together, at very short notice and for a period of two weeks, what is effectively one of the UK’s largest airlines to manage this task. The scale and challenge of this operation means that some disruption is inevitable. We ask customers to bear with us as we work around the clock to bring everyone home.”
Any travellers who are affected should check the dedicated website monarch.caa.co.uk for information.