When Monarch, the UK’s fifth largest airline, collapsed and grounded all flights, 110,000 people were left stranded, with no return flight home. An additional 750,000 people had flights booked with the airline; those who checked Twitter saw this tweet “Monarch customers in the UK: don’t go to the airport. There will be no more Monarch flights. This page will no longer be monitored.” Passengers were stuck at the airport; one man tweeted that his flight was canceled at boarding after he had already checked in. A 27-member wedding party headed to Gran Canary was stranded at Gatwick as well. Tours organized by Monarch are also canceled.
Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority is organizing flights to get stranded travelers home, many of which are upset at being in a foreign country with no way home and they took to social media to complain. No one will be stranded, according to UK officials; everyone will be brought home on a chartered plane within two weeks at no extra cost. The first rescue flight from Ibiza has already arrived at Gatwick.
Monarch was in shaky financial shape for years. Consumers are not loyal to a specific airline anymore; they go with the cheapest flight. Monarch tried to become a low cost carrier, however, there were already two in operation and there just were not enough travelers to go around. Terrorism and the fear of terrorist attacks also contributed to Monarch’s downfall, since a significant part of their business involved flights to Egypt and Turkey.
Greybull Capital, Monarch Airline’s owner, apologized to customers, employees and partners. There are reports of staff members who were taking their belongings home at Monarch’s headquarters, but there has been no public announcement about how many people will lose their job. The media is slamming Monarch as people are posting text messages from Monarch from three days before their collapse that urged the recipient to purchase a flight to Spain.