Thomas Cook goes Bust, Enters Liquidation, Strands Passengers

Thomas Cook officially went belly up this morning at 2am local time in the UK. Over 150,000 British passengers are still abroad, finding their trips cancelled, many with no hope of getting home. We’re here to update you with what we know, what it means, and what to do next.

Keep Calm and Carry On

First and foremost, you’re on vacation, right? So if you’re on a Thomas Cook airline, try and relax and have a good time. There’s not a whole lot you can do at the moment, so belly up to the bar, have a pint, and enjoy some sun. 

Now let’s be honest, that’s probably not going to happen. If you’re on a TC vacation right now, you’re freaking out, and rightfully so. 

The British tour operator has been around for well over a century and is coined with being the inventory of the British Holiday travel package. Recent months and years have been hard for the Thomas Cook group however. They’ve posted hundreds of millions of pounds in losses and in recent times have been looking for creditors to step in and save the company. Unable to reach an agreement, the company this morning at 2am announced that they would be entering compulsory liquidation and have ceased trading.

So, What’s the next step?

If you have a Thomas Cook flight or a Thomas Cook vacation, you should head to their website here. This website will give you all the information as to what your next steps are and where to head for help.

In a statement provided from the airline:

Thomas Cook has confirmed that all the companies in its group have ceased trading, including Thomas Cook Airlines.

As a result, we are sorry to inform you that all holidays and flights provided by these companies have been cancelled and are no longer operating. All Thomas Cook’s retail shops have also closed.

The Government and the Civil Aviation Authority are now working together to do everything we can to support passengers due to fly back to the UK with Thomas Cook between 23 September 2019 and 6 October 2019. Depending on your location, this will be either on CAA-operated flights or by using existing flights with other airlines.

If you are already abroad you will find all the information you need about your arrangements to get home on this website.

If you are due to depart from a UK airport with Thomas Cook Airlines, please do not travel to your UK airport as your flight will not be operating and you will not be able to travel.

This repatriation is hugely complex and we are working around the clock to support passengers. 

The last time that a repatriation of this magnitude took place was with Monarch airlines collapsed a few years back. 

If you are currently abroad and your flight was with Thomas Cook we are providing new flights to return you to the UK. These repatriation flights will only be operating for the next two weeks (until 6 October 2019). After this date you will have to make your own travel arrangements. From a small number of locations, passengers will have to book their own return flights.

This is important to note. TC airlines will be providing new flights to get you home, but only until October 6th. If you want to fly after that, you’re on your own.

Condor and Thomas Cook

What about flights with Condor?

Condor’s future is uncertain, but as of now, they’re still operating as normal. A tweet from Condor earlier today pointed out that Condor passengers should keep going as normal.

How do I pursue a refund?

If you are a US citizen and you purchased your ticket with a credit card, try calling them first. You may be able to dispute the charge and get a refund. The credit cards should have your back. If you paid with a debit card, you’re going to be most likely out of luck. 

If you purchased travel insurance, you’ll want to make sure that your insurance comes with an insolvency clause. This clause is to protect you and what you’ve spent in the case of an airline going belly up. Nonetheless, call your insurance provider or credit card company and start there.

If you are a UK citizen and used your credit card, you may be covered under Section 75. Read more about that here and what to do to file a claim.

Condor? Or Thomas Cook?

What this means for the UK and Thomas Cook

Thomas Cook and its subsidiaries employ over 20,000 employees with 9,000 based in the UK. With over 150,000 holiday makers away, the UK and the CAA are going to have to find out what happens next.

Under the terms of their bankruptcy, the creditors may force them to sell off some assets to build up funds. Some of those assets include other airlines, travel businesses and more. Employees were being told not to report to work today.

Some hotel goers were even reportedly “held hostage” in their hotels, their hotel demanding payment since Thomas Cook would not pay them. 

Clearly this is a rough time for everyone involved but especially the employees of the airline. I hope that they’re able to find work elsewhere with another operator in the UK or abroad.

Stay tuned, as we will do our best to post updates as we find them out.

Author: Jon Nickel-D'Andrea

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  1. I am enjoying a hotel in Mykonos as we speak checking out today. I booked my 3 night prepaid hotel reservation through Expedia. This morning, they approached my wife and I at breakfast and said we were booked through Thomas cook (I guess Expedia booked some of their rooms) and now they are demanding payment. Not sure what my rights are. I used a credit card to book the Expedia reservation so I believe I should be able to fight that if necessary. Leaving in two hours for A ferry to Athens. Any suggestions?

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    • I suppose the first question would be, are you a US consumer or a UK consumer?

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  2. Wow. I’m glad to see Condor still flying. I would imagine that their slots at UK airports would be a large asset in all of this. Hard to believe such a historic long term company in this arena in good economic times would fail like this.

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