Tui cancels all its holidays with Thomas Cook flights

The 800,000 Thomas Cook customers now looking for alternative holidays after the travel firm’s collapse have been augmented by thousands more. 

Europe’s biggest tour operator, Tui, had many holidays that were due to use Thomas Cook Airlines. All of these up to the end of October have now been cancelled – increasing still further the shortage of holidays.

In a statement on its website, Tui says: “We’ve unfortunately had to cancel any Tui and First Choice bookings featuring Thomas Cook flights for any customers due to travel from Monday 23 September until 31 October 2019. The advice is not to travel to the airport.

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“We will be organising full holiday refunds for these customers and will process these as quickly as possible.”

Thomas Cook Airlines was grounded immediately when its parent company collapsed.

Tui could have sought replacement aircraft, but there is a shortage due to the worldwide grounding of the Boeing 737 Max after two fatal accidents.

As Thomas Cook travellers left without autumn holidays search desperately for replacements, Tui prices have increased.

Typically holiday prices in early October would start in the low £200s for a week’s self-catering in the Mediterranean.

But the cheapest departure from Manchester on 6 October is £408 per person – around £200 higher than normal.

The company has not yet decided what to do from November onwards, saying: “For any Tui and First Choice customers with Thomas Cook flights due to travel after this date [31 October], please bear with us as we look at other options and alternatives for you as a priority.”

Air fares are also soaring. One extreme example is to and from Antalya in Turkey – serving resorts such as Side and Alanya.

At this time of year, late-booking fares from Gatwick to the Turkish city should cost £150-£200 one-way, buying the day before departure.

Thomas Cook Airlines previously had five flights from the London area to Antalya on Wednesdays. But now only Turkish Airlines serves the southern city from Gatwick.

The one-way fare for Wednesday 25 September is £786, about four times higher than normal and £100 more than a return trip to Sydney in Australia.

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