Flybe: "I would be devastated if it went under"

Flybe: "I would be devastated if it went under"

Nick Lake and his partner LouisaCopyright of the image
Nick Lake

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Nick Lake, pictured with his partner Louisa, uses Flybe once a week to travel for work

“I would be devastated if Flybe ended up underneath,” says Nick Lake, 39, a regular customer of the struggling regional airline.

Over eight million people like Nick fly Flybe to and from Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Exeter, Newcastle and Southampton airports each year, as well as to Europe.

But there are fears for the future of the loss making courier.

The government is considering measures to save Flybe’s collapse, including possibly postponing its bill for air passengers.

The airline head told his staff that the airline operates normally.

Nick, who works for a real estate development company, says he uses Flybe at least once a week to fly between Manchester and Edinburgh.

A potential collapse would make his working life more difficult, as the only other option is to take the trains which, he said, “are not particularly reliable,” he says.

In two and a half years of traveling with the airline on business, Nick claims that flights rarely left late.

He thinks Flybe should be supported, as connectivity, “especially in secondary cities in the UK, is helping businesses”.

‘Another looming problem’

Robert McIntyre is unable to travel long distances because he is an amputee.

He booked flights between Aberdeen and Exeter to see his daughter on the anniversary of the death of her partner Lily, who was an avid rugby player.

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Robert McIntyre

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Robert McIntyre, pictured with his daughters, regularly uses Flybe services to visit one in Exeter

In addition to a memorial service, a rugby game of his takes place in his memory.

But if Flybe collapses, Robert won’t be able to go.

“I was absolutely gutted, so I wanted to travel down to support my daughter,” he said.

“If I had a pair of legs, I would drive through the night to get there, but I can’t,” he added.

“It’s not like I can jump in the car in a short time and make arrangements on trains can be difficult, as I have to arrange wheelchair assistance in advance.”

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Robert added that he was worried, since he had spent over £ 300 on the trip using his debit card.

He described it as “another looming problem”.

‘Incensed’

“I’m so exasperated,” said Grainne Murray, who has booked flights for her family from Birmingham to Belfast to attend her father’s 75th birthday.

Saturday was due to travel on the day of his surprise celebrations and has not yet received any communication from the airline.

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Grainne Murray

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Grainne was to attend her father’s surprise birthday parties

He says he spent around £ 650 on flights, accommodation and car hire for one night for his family.

She added that uncertainty about the airline’s future made her feel “anxious”.

“I am concerned that there will be a chain effect in terms of the loss of money that we have also spent in the hotel, which we have booked with a debit card.

“My kids were so excited, since they don’t have a chance to see grandpa much,” he added.

Flybe said he did not comment on “rumors and speculation”, telling customers that he was focusing on “providing excellent service and connectivity to our customers, to ensure that they can continue traveling as expected”.

What should customers do?

As long as Flybe continues to fly, there is no reason to worry and there is certainly no reason to try to get your money back, writes Simon Gompertz, BBC’s personal finance correspondent.

If the airline goes bankrupt, however, most likely all flights will be canceled.

If your flight is part of a package covered by the ATOL scheme, you should be protected.

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Getty Images

Otherwise, you can try to recover the money from your credit card company. There is also a debit card charge scheme that can help.

Many travel insurance policies are not very useful in these situations, unless you have shelled out more for the Planned Airplane Failure option.

Those stranded abroad could be left in the hope that the government will direct the Civil Aviation Authority to intervene, as it did when Monarch and Thomas Cook went below, to bring the stranded passengers back for free.

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