Westoe Travel owner Graeme Brett worked until 11pm on Saturday night with wife Joan and daughter Gillian to help customers affected by Flybmi’s collapse.

Brett heard the airline had failed at about 7.45pm that night and the South Shields agency had clients due to fly from Newcastle to Stavanger this week.

He said: “The clients are oil rig workers and were due to fly out, so we needed to make sure they could still fly – it’s their job. They were very pleased we dealt with it and booked alternative flights.”

Westoe Travel has a system to ensure it helps clients immediately and had a similar incident in December when a tour operator cancelled a trip to Lapland at short notice. Brett said: “We came in to sort that out too. You need to find alternatives as soon as possible.”

The agency posted messages on social media about how it was rebooking Flybmi customers. Brett said: “It’s about making a positive out of a negative.”

He added: “We got a new customer from someone who saw our social media [postings] and asked us to rebook flights for them.”

Nathan Collins, director of RB Collection in Lichfield, Staffordshire, said: “These [failures] are happening more frequently. [But] this is an opportunity to shout about protection and the value of booking with a reputable agent.”

Miles Morgan Travel managing director Miles Morgan agreed, saying: “It’s another case where the value of agents comes to the fore.”

Heather Fielding, managing director of Gallagher Travel in Derry, said: “We don’t have clients affected, but there is now no link from Derry to London.”

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