Tour operator Classic Collection was forced to act quickly during the night as it had three customers booked on Monarch flights due to depart before 7am this morning.
The minute that boss Nick Munday received confirmation of Monarch’s failure at 4am, he “quickly dipped in and bought alternative flights” to save his customers’ holidays.
“We had people ringing us from the airport saying their holidays were ruined but we were able to say ‘no they’re not’ and send them onto other flights.
Speaking to Travel Weekly at 4.30am, Munday said: “We have been here all night waiting to hear. We’d only heard rumours but, we were watching the BBC website, we knew Monarch’s Atol was due to expire after a 24-hour extension and we saw that Qatar Airways had sent eight planes from Doha and that two were sent down to Ibiza on a rescue mission.
“So I had eight of my team here with me all night, mapping it all out on spreadsheets, working out alternative flights etc, should it have failed, which it sadly has.”
Munday added: “I’m not proud of what we’ve done. I feel absolutely terrible about it. Monarch has been there forever – I bought thousands of seats from them in my time at Panorama and they were always quick to act and a pleasure to work with.
“A failure is a horrible thing to go through, but when you’ve been in business 36 years and seen it all before with Globespan and XL, you just learn to be ready.
“You can’t just go buying new seats until you absolutely know that the airline has failed, but you have to be prepared.
“My team sourced alternative flights, worked out what to do if we have to move customers from Birmingham to Manchester, looked at whether we need to book extra nights’ accommodation, or organise transfers in resort, etc. We are just trying like mad now to cover people.
“You have to be prepared as the alternative availability evaporates very quickly,” he added.