Thomas Cook Has Gone Bust - This Is How To Get Home Wherever You Are
Thomas Cook has collapsed today after failing to secure a £200 million rescue deal.
The 178-year old tour and flight operator has ceased trading, leaving 150,000 Brits stranded and thousands more losing flights and holiday packages.
Holidaymakers were eagerly awaiting the result of ongoing negotiations to secure the sum of money as part of a rescue deal lead by Chinese firm Fosun, owner of Club Med, late last month.
Thomas Cook announced the news on its website today, saying: "All future flights and holidays are cancelled."
The brief statement added: "A dedicated support service is being provided by The Civil Aviation Authority to assist customers overseas and those in the UK with future bookings."
The Department for Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority have drawn up plans for what will be Britain's biggest peacetime repatriation known as Operation Matterhorn.
This involves getting hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers home on dozens of chartered jumbo jets.
I'm abroad and need to get home. What do I do?
If you are currently abroad, Thomas Cook will be running repatriation flights for the next two weeks (until 6th October 2019), however, the Civil Aviation Authority warned: "Due to the significant scale of the situation, some disruption is inevitable."
It also added they "will endeavour to get people home as close as possible to their planned dates".
Different repatriation arrangements are being made depending on locations, so Thomas Cook advise checking the now-CAA run website for information on your flight.
Simply find your country and airport from the list and keep checking back for information on your flight.
In some cases, customers will be asked to book their own flights back to the UK with other airlines and then claim the cost back.
If your flight back falls after Sunday 6th October, you will need to make your own travel arrangements. If you are ATOL protected, you'll be reimbursed for the cost of your next flight.
If you booked a package holiday through Thomas Cook but your flight is with another airline it may not be affected and you may be able to travel home on this flight as planned. However they add other elements of the package, such as accommodation and transfers will be affected.
Airlines such as Virgin Active are helping bring customers back from locations in Cuba, Jamaica and US.
Thomas Cook customers overseas in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco or New York can call us on 0344 742 4384 for return travel arrangements on Virgin Atlantic.- Virgin Atlantic (@VirginAtlantic) September 23, 2019
If you are overseas in Cuba, Jamaica or Orlando please follow advice on CAA website: https://t.co/DfoxRwhhyJ pic.twitter.com/QcL9IS3za7
If I haven't yet travelled, will I get my money back?
Holiday packages with the firm are Atol protected (which stands for Air Travel Organiser's Licence) meaning you would be refunded for holidays that do not happen.
However, Atol does not apply if you have booked flights or accommodation separately. In this case you may have to claim back costs from your credit or debit card provider.
For credit card payments, you are protected for between £100 and £30,000 under Section 37 of the consumer credit card act. The laws mean your credit card must protect purchases over £100 for free, so if there's a problem you could get your money back.
Debit card payments work slightly differently, in that it is down to the card providers discretion to provide a refund and not a legal requirement.
The little-known process called a chargeback gives you the chance to get your money back if you bought faulty goods, a service wasn't provided, or the company you bought something from went bust and your goods weren't delivered.
According to Money Saving Expert, this sees your bank ask for the refund from the supplier's bank, not the supplier itself, meaning the money should come back even if the retailer has gone bust (though this isn't guaranteed).
It works similarly to Section 75, in that - while not a legal protection - it makes the bank jointly liable with the retailer should something go wrong.
Chargeback works with Visa Debit, Maestro, Visa Electron and MasterCard Debit.
For more information, see https://thomascook.caa.co.uk/ here.
Featured Image Credit: PA