Monday 23rd September 2019
Thomas Cook Ceases Trading - Travel Advice For Customers
It is with extreme sadness that today; one of the UK's most well known iconic airlines & tour operators ceased trading just after midnight. As we wave goodbye to Thomas Cook, we want to provide travel advice to all affected customers who were travelling to/from Newcastle. However the below advice will help everyone regardless of which airport you were flying from or to. With frequently asked questions and what to do whether you're currently on holiday or due to travel in the future. Please note this situation is changing and this information is correct at the time of print, for the latest we suggest visiting the special CAA website, thomascook.caa.co.uk
Following a last ditch attempted to save the company, with bosses locked in talks until late Sunday night it is with regret that Thomas Cook and all its subsidaries have ceased trading with immediate affect. This is a huge blow to the 150,000 customers currently on holiday and the many many hundreds of thousands with future bookings. Its also a devasting shock for the 9000 UK staff members waking up today to find that their beloved jobs; which many have decades of service with the company, have gone overnight and they have wore their beloved "Sunny Heart" for the last time. Our thoughts go out to those who have lost their jobs and also the customers who have lost their holidays.
The high court has appointed Alix Partners as the official administrator of the business.
There are many speculations in the media with what has happened and why, it has not been hidden that the company has struggled over the last couple of years and we are not going to speculate on the whys and what ifs; we want to provide PRACTICAL IMPARTIAL ADVICE on what to do if you are affected and we will do our best to offer any advice & support.
CUSTOMERS CURRENTLY IN THE UK
If You Are In The UK, Yet To Travel On Your Holiday; Due To Travel Today Or In The Future
Unfortunately all future holidays and flights with the Thomas Cook Group are cancelled and will not operate. You are advised NOT to go to your UK airport and to see advice at thomascook.caa.co.uk regarding refunds.
If you booked a flight or holiday with another travel company or travel agent you should contact them directly about your arrangements; they are putting plans in place to help their customers but please give them time to help those with imminent holidays. We know its a worrying time for customers, but please allow travel agents to help customers who are due to go on holiday within the next week or two first.
Generally speaking, although it can be a little complicated, if you have an ATOL protected holiday and in some cases where you may have a flight booked with another element like car hire or transfers; you are protected and should be able to submit a claim. Refunds are not currently able to be requested for future bookings; the CAA will launch a refund process on Monday 30th September, once all the repatriation flights get underway.
To check if your booking is ATOL protected click here.
If you find you are NOT ATOL protected, mainly if you have only booked a flight or hotel on its own then you should contact either your travel insurance or card issuers. Most travel insurance companies do NOT include cover when companies are insolvent so check your documents carefully and contact them in the first instance; if you can not claim with them THEN go to your card issuer for advice.
If you paid by cash, gift voucher, gift card or cheque then unfortunately it is extremely unlikely you will be able to get a refund but you can try make a claim to the administrators. When you pay by these methods you are essentially becoming a creditor and its usual to only get a few pence to each pound of your spend if anything at all.
CUSTOMERS CURRENTLY ABROAD
If You Are Currently Abroad On Holiday, What Should You Do?
If you had a future flight with Thomas Cook Airlines to the UK between 23rd September and 6th October 2019 then the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) are providing repatriation (rescue) flights for everybody; regardless of if you are a package holiday or flight only customer as part of the ATOL scheme.
Usually when an airline ceases trading, if you are a flight only customer or another booking that does not have ATOL protection then you would NOT be repatriated and would need to make your own way home, at your own expense. However due to how extreme this situation is, the Government has asked the CAA to step in and assist everybody currently abroad in returning to the UK over the next 2 weeks.
The CAA have essentially created one of the UK's largest airlines over the weekend, drafting in 45 aircraft from various airlines across the world to fly 150,000 passengers back to the UK over the next two weeks. It is a massive task, code named Operation Matterhorn, so there is likely to be significant disruption so please bear with them whilst they plan flights over the coming days.
Passengers are advised that the majority of flights will be re-planned using another airline and their website, thomascook.caa.co.uk, will detail all of the rescue flights as soon as details become available and its extremely easy to find out how it affects your specific flight. Simply click here and select the destination you are currently in, and then select the date you are due to travel. The website will then display a list of flights Thomas Cook Airlines were due to fly that day you simply find your flight number and it will advise you of the rescue flight.
If maybe that you are repatriated on a flight back to a different UK airport, if you are DO NOT WORRY, CAA representatives will be waiting for you on arrival with coaches to take you back to your original airport.
Please note that it will not be possible to advise of all future rescue flights straight away, passengers should continue to enjoy their holiday and check back a couple of days before they are due to go home for advice. Your should NOT travel to the airport until your rescue flight is confirmed. There is no need to panic, and you can continue to enjoy your holiday until your return date.
There are a few minor occasions where the CAA may ask you to book your own flight and submit a refund but full details again will be on thomascook.caa.co.uk
Please check the guidance for your destination for information about your flight back to the UK by clicking here. If the CAA have provided a repatriation flight for you and you make your own arrangements to return to the UK without authorisation from the Civil Aviation Authority, you will not be able to reclaim the cost of those alternative arrangements unless there are exceptional circumstances.
TRAIN TRAVEL TO/FROM AIRPORTS
Train operators have come out in force to assist customers with rail tickets affected by this news. All UK train operators will allow customers with tickets travelling from UK airports to use their tickets on the next available service at no extra charge.
Customers will need to show proof that they were a Thomas Cook customer by showing their booking confirmation, e-ticket or boarding pass.
If you are returned back to a different UK airport (see above for customers currently abroad), the CAA are providing coaches back to your original airport so you should take these and follow the advice above. You won't be able to use your ticket for example from Manchester Airport on a train from Birmingham airport.
These arrangements will be in place until 6th October 2019, at which point they will be reviewed based on the latest information from the CAA.
If you are due to go on holiday and your ticket is therefore no longer required you can submit a claim for a refund. You should submit your claim to your original point of purchase.
Our advice is correct at the time of publishing but this is a changing situation and a very difficult time for the industry and the UK. You should continue to visit thomascook.caa.co.uk for the latest advice. We will also be tweeting regular updates to Newcastle flights on Twitter, simply follow @TravelNorthEast and we can help as best we can.
Visit Our Main Page At http://www.travelnortheast.co.uk or just click here