The world’s oldest travel company Thomas Cook announced at 2am Monday morning that it has ceased trading with immediate effect. The company were unable to secure a last-minute £200 million investment. The company, which had been trading for the past 178 years, had put a financial rescue plan in place back in August. Despite the seemingly positive outcome from it’s rescue plan, Thomas Cook was told last Thursday that it would need to raid a further £200 million. No one was willing to help. As a result, 21,000 members of staff are now unemployed and 800,000 holidaymakers will be filing for refunds after having their holiday plans shattered.
All flights and most holiday bookings have been cancelled, but what does this mean for those who are already abroad?
I have brought a package holiday with Thomas Cook and am currently abroad, what should I do?
Scaremongering news articles have referred to holidaymakers as ‘stranded’, however this is not the case. Thomas Cook holidays are ATOL protected and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) are organising the repatriation of almost 150,000 holidaymakers. Across the next two-weeks over 1,000 flights will be arranged to fly everyone back home. Those who are already abroad on a package holiday are able to continue their holiday as normal and check the CAA’s website for updates on when their return flight will be.
On Sunday, holidaymakers feared they would have to pay accommodation fees after a hotel in Tunisia closed their gates and refused to let anyone leave. The CAA explained that holiday companies can take up to 90-days to settle invoice after holidaymakers have returned home. The incident has since been resolved and holidaymakers are being advised to not pay any fees.
I have only booked a flight with Thomas Cook and am abroad, am I covered by ATOL?
Flight-only bookings with Thomas Cook may not be ATOL protected, if this is the case holidaymakers will need to make their own arrangements to return home. Likewise, customers who have booked their accommodation and flights separately are at risk of losing money.
Those who have paid for their flight with a credit or debit card may be entitled to a refund. Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, if customers have paid more than £100 for an item that they are now unable to use, the card company are equally liable. Customers should contact their card company for further advice.
The last resort for those who have booked their holiday independently is travel insurance. There are two types of cover people should check for; Scheduled Airline Failure and End Supplier Failure.
Scheduled Airline Failure and End Supplier Failure isn’t usually covered as standard. Most travel insurance companies will offer the cover as an ‘add on’. If this ‘add on’ was purchased before Thomas Cook announced their financial difficulty, holidaymakers will be covered for any losses.
I have a future booking with Thomas Cook, can I get my money back?
As Thomas Cook are ATOL protected, customers will not be left out of pocket. Customers are entitled to a refund or replacement holiday of the same value.
For more information on how to make an ATOL claim, click here.