Romford travel agent Airborn Direct folds leaving customers out of pocket
�Holiday dreams turned to nightmares after a Romford travel agent folded, leaving some holidaymakers thousands of pounds out of pocket.
Tourists were until recently continuing to put huge deposits towards a two-week Caribbean voyage, only to be told that travel company Airborn Direct, based in Bridge Close, had gone into liquidation – back in October.
David Tonks, from Sheffield, told the Recorder he was trying to recover �4,000: “They asked for a deposit to secure flights for the cruise just 10 days before they folded, which I paid in good faith.
“It was only this week that I found out they had been liquidated and only then because I was trying to pay the remainder of the fee.”
Hit a brick wall
David, who was due to holiday with his partner and her four children, has been desperately trying to recover his money, but has hit a brick wall.
“I’ve contacted [insurers] ATOL and ABTA and it’s looking likely that the holiday was not covered because, although Airborn’s website has the logos, it didn’t pay its subscriptions, so it’s now down to my credit card company – if they will not cover the �4,000 I will lose the lot.
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“We saved hard and without that money there will be no family holiday this year.”
It is thought that at least 1,200 people – who were due to fly to Miami on April 6, before sailing from Fort Lauderdale on a Royal Caribbean vessel – have been affected.
A spokesman for the liner said bookings were still valid, but travellers would have to make their own way to the US port.
David, a 46-year-old builder, said: “I rang British Airways, who told me flight tickets were never issued and subsequently cancelled.
“I then rang Royal Caribbean who’ve only received �150 per person from my family – �900 in total – and no one knows where the other �3,100 has gone.”
When the Recorder contacted BA, it said it had not received any cash from Airborn and no tickets were issued.
A spokesman for administrators FRP Advisory LLP said: “The firm became insolvent following poor trading and an unmanageable cash-flow situation.
“Travel protection services ATOL and ABTA are taking steps to assist holidaymakers where they can. However anyone concerned should first contact their airline or hotel to determine if the booking still stands.
“Airborn Limited’s ATOL licence lapsed shortly before liquidation, meaning that some holidays may not be covered.”
She added that “relatively few” holidaymakers had lost money at this stage.
All 20 staff members were made redundant when the company ceased to trade on October 21.
Airborn Limited traded under a wide variety of names – Airborn Direct, AirbornEvents, AirbornFlights4Less, AirbornHolidays4Less, AirbornSki, AirbornSport, AirbornTravel4Less, AirbornWorldwide, dialacruise.com, Holiday Hero, Seaborn, Seabourne, Telebreaks, Teleflights, and Teleholidays.
FRP Advisory LLP is a specialist restructuring, recovery and insolvency firm.