If your airline goes bankrupt or shuts down
You can read what you can do below if you have booked an international flight and the airline goes bankrupt. Your rights may be different, depending on whether the bankruptcy occurs before or after your departure.
Your rights also depend on whether you purchased a package tour, or just a flight.
Your options in the event of the airlines’ bankruptcy depend on:
- whether the company goes bankrupt before or after your departure
- whether you bought the ticket as part of a package tour, and if so, whether this was directly from the airline or via a booking site
- which country the seller is registered in
- whether you have an outstanding compensation claim with the airline.
You have purchased a plane ticket and the airline goes bankrupt
The exact situation depends on whether you have purchased your plane ticket directly from the airline, or via a third-party booking portal.
The plane ticket was purchased directly from the airline
If you purchased your plane ticket directly from the airline or from a company that sells flights on behalf of the airline, your rights and options depend on whether it is a domestic flight, an international flight arriving at or departing from a Danish airport, or a flight between two foreign airports.
In some cases, the Travel Guarantee Fund (Rejsegarantifonden) can help you. You can find out more about when the Travel Guarantee Fund can help you under ‘Frequently asked questions’.
The plane ticket was purchased through a booking portal or an intermediary
In some cases, it is the booking portal that has to rebook your flight or refund the money if the airline goes bankrupt. This is the case, for example, when you actually purchase the plane ticket from the booking portal. The booking portal assumes a greater responsibility in this situation than if it had only mediated a purchase on the airline website.
In other cases, the booking site is just an intermediary which does not receive your money when you purchase the plane ticket. This leaves you in the same situation as if you had booked directly on the airline website. If you purchased the plane ticket from a company that only mediates the purchase from the airline, this must be stated very clearly in the agreement.
If you are unsure about the booking portal’s responsibility, you can seek help and guidance from European Consumer Centre Denmark. See contact information here.
You have purchased a package tour and the airline goes bankrupt
The bankruptcy occurs after your package tour has begun
The vast majority of package tours, including charter trips, include a plane ticket. If the airline goes bankrupt while you are away on a package tour, the tour operator must ensure you get home again with another airline.
Sometimes the package tour can continue as planned. Sometimes it will be cut short. In the latter case, you may be entitled to a price reduction.
If necessary, the tour operator must provide assistance at the destination until it is possible to arrange return transport. If this means, for example, that you have to spend another night at your destination, the tour operator must arrange this, at no cost to you.
The bankruptcy occurs before you depart on the package tour
If the airline goes bankrupt before your departure, the tour operator must ensure you reach the destination with another airline. If you arrive later than planned, you may be entitled to a price reduction. If the tour operator is unable to get you to the destination at all, you have the right to a full refund from the tour operator.
NB: If the tour operator is registered in an EU country other than Denmark, you are still covered, but the countries’ guidelines often vary. Contact European Consumer Centre Denmark for help and guidance.
How to get home if the travel agency goes bankrupt during your my trip
Travel agencies that sell package tours in EU countries, and in Norway and Iceland, are required to provide a guarantee in the event of bankruptcy and insolvency, so their customers can return home.
The exact arrangements may vary from country to country. It is therefore a good idea before making a purchase to ask the travel agency what cover applies to your specific trip.
If the travel agency is located outside the EU/EEA area, it may not be subject to a travel guarantee scheme. There is a risk you will have to arrange and pay for the return trip yourself in such cases, if the travel agency goes bankrupt during your trip.
- Choose a travel agency that is covered by a guarantee scheme if you want to be sure of return transport in the event of bankruptcy
- When you purchase your holiday, make sure you receive information on what to do if the travel agency goes bankrupt
- Find out more from the Danish Travel Guarantee Fund.
How the Travel Guarantee Fund can help if the airline goes bankrupt and you have only purchased a plane ticket
If you have already departed when the airline goes bankrupt, and your flight both departs from and arrives at a Danish airport, you are covered by the Travel Guarantee Fund. The airline must be registered in the fund.
The fund will arrange your return trip in this case, and must provide accommodation and other necessities or reasonable compensation for losses resulting from the airline bankruptcy. You must therefore contact the Travel Guarantee Fund if you are at the destination and cannot return home due to the airline bankruptcy.
If the airline goes bankrupt before you depart, the Travel Guarantee Fund may in some cases refund part of the plane ticket price, if there are sufficient funds available.
An ‘excess’ of DKK 1,000 per person is always deducted. In the case of domestic flights within Denmark, you are not covered by the Travel Guarantee Fund.
If you paid using an international credit card, you can ask the card issuer to return the money for the ticket purchase to your account. If you paid using cash or VISA/Dankort, your only option is to register your claim with the bankruptcy estate.
NB: The above does not apply to package tours, where the tour operator must help you in case of airline bankruptcy.
When a domestic flight in Denmark is cancelled due to bankruptcy
Domestic flights within Denmark are not covered by the Travel Guarantee Fund.
In some cases, you can claim the money back from the card issuer, typically your bank, if you have paid using an international credit card. If you have paid using cash or Dankort, you can register your claim with the bankruptcy estate. You must arrange for return transport yourself.
Your rights if the airline shuts down
If an airline shuts down and therefore cancels flights, the airline must offer you a choice between the following three options, in line with the EU Flight Compensation Regulation:
- You receive a refund for the ticket within seven days
- Your trip is rebooked at the first opportunity to your final destination, possibly with another airline, or
- You are rebooked, possibly with another airline, on another flight to your final destination at a later date of your choice.
It is not enough for the airline to simply offer to refund your ticket. You have the right to freely choose between the three options above. If additional costs arise in connection with rebooking, the airline must cover these.