The abrupt decision by a startup airline to “temporarily cease operations” has left an estimated 1,000 customers in the lurch but there could still be some hope for those affected.

SkyGreece Airlines announced on Thursday night that it would temporarily halt all scheduled flights while it deals with an “operational crisis” triggered by “financial setbacks” resulting from the economic woes in Greece.

The airline, however, made no mention of any plans to issue refunds, simply telling customers to contact their travel agents to make alternate arrangements.

Here is a list of three options you may have if you have been affected by the shutdown of SkyGreece:

Contact your credit card company

If you used a credit card to book the flight, you can ask the credit card company for a refund, also known as a chargeback, on the grounds that the airline failed to provide the service paid for. Some credit cards also include travel insurance that covers the cost of unforeseen issues, such as cancelled flights. According to Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) CEO Richard Smart, you should contact your credit card company “first and foremost” and then go from there.

Apply for compensation from TICO

If you booked your flight using a registered travel agent you may be eligible for compensation. TICO’s Ontario Travel Industry Compensation Fund provides up to a $5,000 refund for each passenger affected by the shutdown of an airline. A total of $5 million in compensation is available for each event.

“Airline shutdowns don’t happen very often but when they do happen fortunately we have a way to respond to them,” Smart told CP24. “It is a fund that is paid into by travel agencies and wholesalers and it provides customers with eligible claims a potential to be reimbursed for their travel costs.”

There is a six-month deadline to apply for TICO compensation so SkyGreece customers will have until February 29 to submit their claim.

Pressure the Canadian Transportation Agency to step in

If you paid for your flight in cash and didn’t use a travel agent to book it, you may not have many options but one claim filed by a passenger rights advocate may offer some hope. Gabor Lukacs is calling on the Canadian Transportation Agency to use its broad powers to order SkyGreece to put up $8.7 million in security to cover potential claims by customers. In his claim filed on Friday, Lukacs says that SkyGreece's main asset is its only plane and passengers would be left without any recourse if the airline is allowed to remove it from Pearson International Airport where it is currently parked.

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