Our eldest daughter, Jemma, planned her 40th birthday party in late January. We booked flights to Birmingham and back with Monarch in February. We also booked to stay in a hotel near to Jemma's house.
As you probably all know, Monarch went out of business on the 2nd of this month throwing our travel plans into complete chaos.
That morning I desperately searched for alternatives and found no empty seats on flights to Birmingham. The only flights I could find were with Jet2.com and Ryanair to Manchester. Since we had no intention of flying Ryanair and risking a cancellation, I opted for Jet2.com. The first flights I tried to book disappeared during the process and I had to rapidly find an alternative or risk not flying.
In the meantime, our friends from Norfolk were desperately trying to phone us to suggest we fly to Norwich where they would pick us up and drop us off later (they too were going to the party and staying in the same hotel). Too late, the booking had been made.
Our youngest daughter in Sale offered us a bed for the extra nights and I managed to grab the last remaining seats on a train from Manchester to Wolverhampton and back. This all added to the cost and of course we could not count on a refund from our Monarch booking.
Kudos to the Civil Aviation Authority in Britain who offered us seats on a plane to Birmingham in a email the night before our flight was due. That was too late though, we were already in the UK. I do wonder what the fate was for those stuck in the UK - there was no arrangement offered by the Spanish authorities to get us back to Alicante.
Was it worth it? Of course, we would not have missed Jemma's party for the world.