UK holidaymakers affected by the troubles at Primera Air are being advised to contact the UK European Consumer Centre (UK ECC) for help and advice on their individual circumstances.
Primera Air, which operated services from various points in the UK, ceased operations as of midnight on Monday 1 October, with some passengers stranded and others no longer able to take up their initial flights.
What does this mean for customers?
The UK ECC says that UK consumers who booked flights direct with Primera Air are likely to have very few options open to them, even if they have already flown and are stranded abroad.
Adam Mortimer, consumer advisor at the UK ECC, said a consumer’s predicament will depend on their precise circumstances. He said: “This is already a time of distress and anger for many passengers who are caught up in Primera Air’s troubles. It’s made worse by that fact that the airline is not covered by the Civil Aviation Authority’s ATOL protection scheme, which only covers passengers booked on a package holiday.
“This means that anyone who booked flights direct with Primera Air is unlikely to have any protection. The airline has a headquarters in Riga, Latvia and it is currently unclear as to whether there is any Latvian insolvency protection.
“Passengers who have already travelled will need to make their own arrangements to return home. It is highly probable that they will need to contact their insurer to arrange a reimbursement of any extra expenses for their return home.”
Mortimer added that if a consumer has booked a ticket but not flown, then all attempts should be made to contact the company directly to request money back for an unused ticket, although the position is currently unclear.
He said: “If you have paid for the tickets on a credit or debit card, then you are advised to contact your bank/card provider to obtain a chargeback. Alternatively, if you have appropriate cover through your travel insurance you can make a claim this way.”
People who have booked flights as part of a package or booked through a third party are likely to be in the best position.
Mortimer said: “If you have booked through a third party, you should speak with them first as in some instances there may be protection through included insurances etc.
“If you have booked flights or a holiday that includes flights with a travel firm that holds an ATOL (and have received confirmation that you are ATOL protected), the travel firm is responsible for your flight arrangements. This means that they must either make alternative flights for you so that your holiday can continue or provide a full refund. If you are abroad, it should make arrangements to bring you home at the end of your trip. In such circumstances you should contact the ATOL travel firm.”
Primera Air’s usual channels of communication are no longer available, so any correspondence with the airline should be directed to: Primera Air Nordic (Head Office), PrimeraAir Nordic SIA, Gunara Astras iela 1c, Riga, LV-1084, Latvia. Their website could be updated in the coming days with further information: www.primeraair.com
UK consumers are advised to contact the UK European Consumer Centre for free advice on their individual circumstances on 01268 886 690 or email ECCNET-UK@ec.europa.eu
The UK ECC is part of the European Consumer Centre Network (ECC-Net), which has 30 centres in the EU (including Latvia), plus Iceland and Norway. The aim of the network is to provide advice and support to consumers who have a dispute with a trader based in a European country outside the UK.