Thomas Cook chaos – what happens next?
Thomas Cook has collapsed after last-minute negotiations to save the airline failed. The 178-year-old holiday company has gone into liquidation as the company were unable to secure the extra £200 million needed to keep the business afloat.
With approximately 150,000 British holidaymakers abroad and many more with holidays booked the question remains… What happens next?
For extensive advice from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to those affected by the Thomas Cook collapse visit thomascook.caa.co.uk. For those overseas, the number is +44 1753 330 330. The UK Freephone number is 0300 303 2800.
The repatriation plan has already started and will involve planes chartered from other airlines. Repatriation flights are only available for passengers whose journey originated in the UK.
If you are ATOL protected you will be reimbursed for the cost of your new flight.
What is ATOL protection?
By law, every UK travel company which sells package holidays and flights is required to hold an ATOL, standing for Air Travel Organiser’s Licence.
ATOL protection is a government-run financial protection scheme operated by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) that helps protect customers who have booked holidays with a ceased firm, making sure they don’t get stranded abroad or end up out of pocket. This scheme only covers package holidays and doesn’t apply in the case of people booking flights and accommodation separately.
If you are not covered by ATOL scheme, you can consider contacting your credit card company to ensure you are not left out of pocket.
What does the British Travel Association say?
The British Travel Association said, “The vast majority of holidaymakers’ arrangements are covered through different types of financial protection.”
“Flights booked directly with Thomas Cook airlines and some accommodation booked through Thomas Cook retail, with third parties, are not covered by ATOL or ABTA, so in these cases, customers will need to contact their card issuer and they may be entitled to a refund.”
Will my travel insurance cover it?
Defaqto analysts found that only around half of UK travel policies would accept a claim following an airline collapse. However, there are other routes to reimbursement, such as if your holiday was ATOL protected, or you paid on credit card.
It is unlikely your travel insurance will cover an airline going bust, but as a last resort when checking your travel insurance policy look for the term ‘airline failure’.