Thomas Cook collapse: Can travellers get refunds for holidays, does Atol cover them?

Thomas Cook had been attempting to raise £900m through a rescue deal, but banks then demanded an extra £200m of funding to tide the company over the winter period. The tour operator has now “ceased trading with immediate effect”. The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has now launched the biggest ever peacetime repatriation programme to get Thomas Cook travellers home. 

Thomas Cook also runs its own airline, with all flights grounded following the collapse of the company.

Passengers that were due to travel with Thomas Cook Airlines have been advised not to travel to airports as they will not be able to travel.

Can travellers get refunds for holidays?

The CAA state that as of today, most holidays and flights booked through the travel agent are now cancelled.

If you are yet to travel, and your flights are ATOL protected, you should make a claim via the ATOL scheme.

If your package holiday features Thomas Cook owned accommodation, you may not be able to stay in this hotel, and if your flights are still valid or you choose to travel via alternative flights, you will need to find replacement like for like accommodation.

The CAA advise you keep receipts for any ATOL protected replacement travel services for any claims made to the ATOL scheme.

However, if your flights are not ATOL protected, you are not entitled to make a claim through this scheme, but instead you may be able to claim from your travel insurance or your bank/credit card issuer.

For those already abroad, only holiday makers with return flights booked within the next fortnight will qualify for a free flight home – however in a small number of locations passengers will have to book their own return flights.

If you are abroad on a Thomas Cook holiday package that does not include flights with the company’s airline, the CAA state your return flight may still be valid. 

However, accomodation and transfers included in the package will be affected.

After October 6, 2019, holidaymakers already abroad will have to make their own travel arrangements.

The CAA website states ATOL protected passengers with future bookings are eligible for refunds for their cancelled holiday.

The CAA said: “ATOL Protected passengers with future bookings are entitled to a full refund for their cancelled holiday. 

“The CAA will be launching a service to manage all refunds on Monday 30 September, once the flying operation has progressed. 

“This refund service will seek to process all refunds within two months of receipt of a fully completed claims form.

“Further information will be available on our dedicated website in the coming days, but please do not submit anything to the CAA in the meantime as the organisation continues to focus on the repatriation flying programme to return more than 150,000 passengers to the UK. 

“More information will be provided about the claims process in the coming days.”

For full information, visit the CAA Thomas Cook website.

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