What happens to your passenger rights when the airline goes bankrupt?

The past few years have been marked by some disastrous bankruptcy cases for British airline passengers. In 2017, Monarch went bankrupt along with Air Berlin and Niki Air. In 2018, Small Planet Airlines, Azur Air Germany and Primera Air went bust as well. Since the start of 2019, Germania, FlyBMI and WOW Air filed for bankruptcy. More recently, one of the largest travel agencies in the world, Thomas Cook, also filed for bankruptcy, leaving more than 600.000 holidaymakers stranded across the world. What are your rights when an airline goes bust and what organization can you turn to for help?

Person waiting for flight at the airport

The direct consequences of airline bankruptcy

When an
airline files for bankruptcy, all operations are seized. This means that all
flights are cancelled and are no longer operating. Passengers that have booked
flights with this airline, can contact a travel guarantee authority for help.
Usually passengers are not protected against bankruptcy, unless they are
ensured for such a circumstance.

What happens when the tour operator announces bankruptcy?

Now this is a larger problem. When a tour operator, such as Thomas Cook, files for bankruptcy, the consequences for holidaymakers are severe. More than 600.000 people are stuck abroad; hotels are billing holidaymakers for their stay, as they have not received money from Thomas Cook. Some people are refused back into their hotel room. Other holidaymakers set to go on vacation, saw their money and travel plans go up in smoke. Luckily, most European countries have a guarantee fund for holidaymakers that protects them from financial distress when a travel agency goes bankrupt. They will compensate the cancelled travel plans with a full refund or travel alternative. Passengers stuck abroad will be brought back to the UK.

Your passenger rights when an airline goes bankrupt

 If you filed a claim for compensation with an airline that filed for bankruptcy, unfortunately chances are you will no longer receive compensation. A curator that assesses the current liquidity of the airline and amount of creditors. If your claim was filed with EUclaim, we will transfer the claim to the curator for assessment. If you have any questions on the status of your claim, do not hesitate to contact us.

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