More than 120,000 passengers have been flown back to the UK by the Civil Aviation Authority over the past ten days following the collapse of Thomas Cook. The two-week operation to repatriate 150,000 holidaymakers is almost over, but it doesn’t stop there. The Civil Aviation Authority now has the challenge of refunding over 360,000 customers who had future bookings with the travel agent. Thomas Cook holidays are ATOL protected which means in this situation where the company goes bust, customers are not left out of pocket.
Refunds could take up to two months and scammers have taken the opportunity to prey on those who have been affected with false, quick win, solutions. Cold calls, emails and refund forms have been sent to customers promising to refund their money. Customers who have received any form of contact regarding Thomas Cook are advised to ignore it. Refunds can only be applied for via the Civil Aviation Authority’s website. Those looking to claim money back from their banks or credit card company should contact them directly and not give any personal details out during incoming calls or emails.
Earlier this week, ex-Thomas Cook staff were praised by customers for assisting with claim forms and queries. Staff members, who have been left without a job following the collapse, have been opening pop-up shops in cafes and pubs to help customers who had future bookings. The selfless act saw thousands of customers queuing to speak to ex-staff members. Despite losing their jobs, the staff wanted to continue to be there for their customers.
The collapse of Thomas Cook hasn’t only affected the UK. Spanish resorts, usually bustling with British holidaymakers at this time of year, resemble ghost towns. Beaches are empty and local businesses have reported a worrying drop in trade. It is also believed around 500 hotels in the European hotspot face closure; a devastating impact for owners and their staff who rely on tourism to keep businesses running.
There is no doubt that other countries will also be struggling and the full effects of Thomas Cook’s collapse will come to light over the next few months. Read more about the collapse here.