MoreSpecial Report: McLeod repeats call for airline failure levy

Customers are returning to high street travel agencies for reassurance amid fears of flight cancellations following airline failures and Brexit uncertainty.

Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA) president Ken McLeod said: “Members are reporting people coming back into shops who they haven’t seen in a few years.

“Uncertainty as a result of carriers recently going bust has attracted people back to someone who can arrange travel for them.”

Regional airline Flybmi went out of business last month, leaving hundreds of passengers without flights and triggering fresh calls for airline-failure protection.

Carriers including Cobalt Air, Primera Air and FlyVLM have all collapsed since Monarch’s failure in 2017 resulted in the repatriation of more than 100,000 stranded passengers at taxpayers’ expense.

SPAA member and Love to Travel owner Joanne Dooey said: “The collapse of carriers and security on refunds is a factor. People want to book via an agent who works with suppliers to guarantee holidays are safe.”

Some UK-wide consortia have seen a similar pattern. John Escott, general manager of Elite Travel Group, said: “Members have noticed an increase in customers concerned about the collapse of Flybmi and previous failures, combined with the uncertainties around the UK leaving the EU. The number of customers coming through the doors of our members has increased over recent weeks.”

Lisa Henning, group membership services director for The Travel Network Group, said members had reported strong trading, but said it was unrelated to the demise of airlines.

“The noise being created around issues [such as Brexit] is driving the consumer to get extra reassurances – that’s where the strength is for agents,” she said.

Loganair has taken over most of the routes on which Flybmi Scottish customers were affected.

MoreSpecial Report: McLeod repeats call for airline failure levy