“I got an email asking me to check in and 10 minutes later they had gone to administration.”
Andrew Gibbins was one of hundreds of passengers across the UK who have expressed frustration with regional airline Flybe, which abruptly announced it had collapsed on Saturday morning and told all passengers expecting to travel with it not to go to the airport.
Gibbins, from Daventry, was due to fly on Sunday from Birmingham to Edinburgh for a work trip. He received one text at 2am on Saturday reminding him to check in, and this was followed just 10 minutes later with another message announcing the collapse of the airline.
“I’m in a lucky position compared to many because my company can pay for new flights. Anything else would be difficult three days before payroll in January, he said.
Many passengers were left out or stranded at their departure destination after the airline announced it would immediately cease operations and cancel all of its scheduled flights.
Someone had only booked the flight a few hours before the news came.
One responded to the announcement on Twitter, saying: “A bit frustrating as I only booked my flight on Thursday”. Another asked: “I booked a flight at 7pm last night – how could they let the booking go through?”
One passenger said they had been told with three hours’ notice that their flight had been cancelled: “I got up at six and left the house before seven.
“I got to Hatton Central and checked my email and it says they have gone into administration. It’s just outrageous.”
Some passengers shared stories on social media about other difficulties they faced with Flybe in recent months.
Tracy Flannigan, from Bangor, is still waiting for the refund and compensation she applied for last October after her Flybe flight from Birmingham to Belfast was canceled at short notice.
“This was the first trip I’d been on with my teenage daughter since before the pandemic and we wanted to make it extra special but it ended up being very stressful. I had to shell out extra money for hotels and food when our flight was canceled and to despite chasing several times, I never received an apology or any compensation from Flybe.
“It’s the principle that upsets me – and knowing I’ve been lied to.”
In the short term, Flybe customers are told that it will be most efficient to find another way to travel, such as booking new flights or, if possible, taking the train or bus.
Anyone with bookings has been asked to seek a refund from their credit or debit card provider, claim travel insurance or contact their travel provider if they have not booked directly with Flybe.
The administrators have confirmed that 277 of Flybe’s 321 employees have been made redundant, while the remaining 44 will be retained.
Ryanair has offered a lifeline to affected employees and has set up a rapid recruitment process for Flybe employees.