National rail and bus lines have stepped in to offer free travel to Flybe ticket holders who find themselves stranded or facing cancelled travel plans following the collapse of the 40-year-old airline. The airline announced late on Wednesday night that it would be going into administration following financial struggles.
Would-be passengers are reported to have received a text message or email at around 2.01am making the announcement and advising them not to travel to the airport.
Now, a number of UK transport services have said they will allow Flybe passengers to use their tickets on trains and coaches.
Every rail company in the country has agreed to allow Flybe ticket holders to travel with them until March 11.
First Rail, which operates Great Western Railway, Avanti West Coast, South Western Railway and TransPennine Express, has said that it hopes to make things “easier” for passengers who find themselves stuck.
Avanti West Coast has also said it will transport stranded Flybe staff too.
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Staff members can use the same offer by providing staff ID at ticket counters in rail stations.
The same applies to SouthWestern rail who issued a statement saying: “Following the recent news of Flybe entering administration on 5 March 2020, we are offering free travel for customers who have booked flights with Flybe to travel between 5 and Wednesday 11 March 2020 to help them make their planned journey.
“Free travel will be available for Flybe customers and colleagues travelling in either direction.
“Customers will need to present a ticket or boarding pass- this might be an e-ticket in an email or app, or a printed on paper. This must be dated for travel between Thursday 5 and Wednesday 11 March 2020. Flybe colleagues may also travel on our services today, with their Flybe ID.”
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Though most rail companies are extending the offer to Flybe staff, they are advised to check with the individual rail operator to ensure they can travel.
Phil Whittingham, managing director of Avanti West Coast, said: “This is a very difficult time for Flybe staff and passengers. If we can help make it a bit easier, we’re happy to do so.”
First Rail Managing Director Steve Montgomery said: “Our rail services connect people and communities up and down the country and as a gesture of goodwill we want to ensure that anyone who was due to travel on Flybe’s grounded flights today can still complete their journey.”
Meanwhile, coach companies including National Express and Stagecoach Group – who own Megabus – are also opening up seats to customers.
National Express is giving away seats on “comparable coach routes”.
Stagecoach has said it is “happy to help any Flybe customers or staff who have been stranded where we have available capacity”.
Customers will be required to provide a boarding pass or other valid proof of booking.
Airlines across the nation have also stepped in to help passengers, offering “rescue fares” for those who hope to make a similar plane journey.
British Airways has announced it will be selling some tickets for £50, including hold luggage, and will fly home staff members for free.
easyJet similar is offering a reduced fare of £65, plus a 15kg hold bag for any impacted passengers up until the end of May. Passengers are advised to present their original Flybe booking reference when switching to the new route.
The airline is also offering free flights for staff members until the end of Friday, March 6.
Eastern Airways is offed a walk-up rescue fare of £60 yesterday, while Ryanair knocked prices down to £19.99 on five routes until the end of April. Tickets are bookable via the Ryanair website but must be done by midnight on Sunday, March 8 2020.
Additionally, Scottish airline Loganair announced it would be taking on 16 of the fallen airline’s routes.
The demise of the Flybe came following months of financial struggle, though the airline blamed it on the loss of bookings due to coronavirus.
In January the government made an offer for a rescue deal to the airline, but it was not enough to save them.
Late on Wednesday night CEO Mark Anderson released a statement in which he “expressed his deep regret”.
He said that he had made every possible attempt to rescue the airline.
Mr Anderson said: “The UK has lost one of its greatest regional assets. Flybe has been a key part of the UK aviation industry for four decades, connecting regional communities, people and businesses across the entire nation.
“I thank all our partners and the communities we have been privileged to serve.
“Above all, I would like to thank the Flybe team for their incredible commitment and dedication.”
Rory Boland, Which? Travel editor, said: “This will be terrible news to Flybe passengers, many of whom were loyal customers and used the airline regularly.
“Unlike Thomas Cook’s collapse, most people flying Flybe won’t have ATOL protection so the government is unlikely to step in and repatriate those abroad or provide refunds.
“Instead passengers with travel insurance should check if their policy includes scheduled operator failure cover.
“Alternately, those who booked tickets costing more than £100 with a credit card will be able to claim from their credit card provider.
“If the tickets were under £100 or booked with a debit card, passengers can try to use chargeback from their bank or card provider.”