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Frustration over airline closure

A Stamford woman has spoken of her frustration after she and her family were forced to fork out to buy replacement flight tickets after Monarch Airlines collapsed into administration.

The closure of Britain’s oldest airline left 110,000 customers stranded overseas and 300,000 bookings cancelled including ones made by Berry Parker and her family, who paid £474 between them fly to Palma in Spain from Birmingham Airport on Friday October 13, as some of them are due to take part in running event in the popular resort city on Sunday.

Berry, her partner Malcolm Howdle, son Glynn Parker, 38, his wife Kelly, aged 36, and their two children have had to shell out an additional £864 for flights to Palma from Bristol Airport with Ryan Air and have no idea whether their Monarch tickets will be refunded as the firm have not returned their calls or responded to e-mails.

Berry, 56, a retired cardiac nurse, said: “For my son and daughter and law, it is a lot of money to lose.

“We are hopeful to get a refund because we used credit cards - even if you get it back it is going too take months if not years.

“We are just trying to get on with it and not take it personally, it can make you really angry but life goes on and we have to make the most of it.

“We have got to go to Birmingham and leave the car [at the airport]. It is going to incur more costs because we were going to be taken [to Birmingham airport] by one of our relatives.”

The family spent around £1200 for hotel accommodation in Spain where Malcolm, 61 will be taking part in a half marathon and Glynn and Kelly will be completing a 10k,

Berry said that the family were reluctant to cancel their trip as it had already shelled out cash on entry fees for the running events and accommodation.

“We have no choice, we can’t really afford to say that we can’t go,” she said.

Berry and her family are not the only ones in the area who have been affected by airline’s closure.

Geoff Hatton, 86, and his wife Barbara, aged 82, of Cottesmore had booked flights to the Algarve in Portugal, where they were due to have a break for Christmas and had forked-out £390 for two return flights from Birmingham.

Geoff, who regularly contributes pictures to the sports section of the Mercury, said that he will be trying to get a refund from the firm and the pair would still be going on their holiday.

He said: “We will still go. It is one of those things.”

No representatives from the now defunct, Monarch Airlines were available for comment.

The Civil Aviation Authority has set up a helpline for customers who have been affected by the closure of Monarch.

Richard Taylor, a spokesman for the authority, said that those people that booked flights with a credit card are eligible for a refund and advised customers to call a helpline if they have been affected by the closure.

He said: “We have set up a call centre where people can contact us about what they need to do.

“If they have booked by credit card then they should be covered. They just need to call their provider.”

The Civil Aviation Authority helpline number is 0300 303 2800


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