Thomas Cook – is my holiday safe? What to do if you have holidays or flights booked.

THOMAS Cook has collapsed after failing to pay the £200million it owed its creditors, leaving 150,000 holidaymakers stranded abroad.

Here is what to do if you have flights or holidays booked with Thomas Cook.

 Thomas Cook has collapsed after 178 years of trading

Thomas Cook has collapsed after 178 years of tradingCredit: AFP or licensors

When did Thomas Cook go bust?

Tour operator Thomas Cook collapsed on Sunday, September 22, after failing to meet its 11.59pm deadline to pay its creditor.

As many as 9,000 British employees among 21,000 staff globally now face losing their jobs after the world's oldest travel company plunged into bankruptcy.

Following the collapse, 150,000 holidaying Brits have been left stranded.

This means the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) now needs to dish out £100m to rescue stranded Brits, according to an industry insider.

Thomas Cook, which is the UK's oldest holiday company, agreed a £900million rescue deal with Fosun in August - but lenders then demanded another £200million.

Thomas Cook struggled with massive debts - which saw its value plummet from £2.2bn to £180m in one year.

The firm had previously issued a fresh profit warning and reported a half-year loss of almost £1.5bn after a goodwill write-off of £1.1bn, reports The Times.

Analysts at investment bank Citigroup had also branded their shares "worthless" and said they should be marked at zero.

Thomas Cook, which served 22 million customers in 2018, had debts of around £1.25bn.

It also said that there had been several bids for all or bits of its business.

The company closed 21 of its stores in March 2019.

 Sad sign: Thomas Cook tells travellers that the firm has ceased trading and 'all flights are cancelled'

Sad sign: Thomas Cook tells travellers that the firm has ceased trading and 'all flights are cancelled'Credit: PA:Press Association

What if I have a holiday and flights booked?

In light of Thomas Cook collapsing, worried customers have been contacting their tour operator to check whether flights and package deals are still going ahead.

Thomas Cook says on its new, dedicated website: "We are sorry to inform you that all holidays and flights provided by [all UK companies in its group] have been cancelled and are no longer operating.

"All Thomas Cook's retail shops have also closed.

"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."

Holidaymakers had previously been reassured they would not be left out of pocket if the firm sold, split or closed.

That's because Thomas Cook's package holidays are ATOL-protected.

By law, every UK travel company which sells package holidays and flights is required to hold an ATOL, which stands for Air Travel Organiser’s Licence.

UK travel companies which sell package holidays and flights have to ATOL protect them.

This means customers who have booked holidays with the firm are protected and can’t get stranded abroad or be left out of pocket.

If a travel company with an ATOL ceases trading, the scheme protects customers who had booked holidays with the firm - making sure they don't get stranded abroad or end up out of pocket.

However this doesn't apply in the case of people booking flights and accommodation separately.

If you are not covered by the ATOL scheme, you should also contact your credit card company or travel insurer. If you have travel insurance, check your policy for the phrase "airline failure".

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to get stranded British travellers home.

Only holidaymakers with return flights booked within the next two weeks, between Monday, September 23, and Sunday, October 6, will qualify for a free flight home, as close as possible to their original return date.

Under normal circumstances, passengers who are not ATOL-protected would be asked to find, and pay for, their own way home.

However, the government says, "given the extent of the disruption, the government is stepping in to assist impacted passengers and get people home".

For more details, see this page here giving information for customers.

 A security person stands next to the entrance of the German headquarters of travel company Thomas Cook in Oberursel near Frankfurt

A security person stands next to the entrance of the German headquarters of travel company Thomas Cook in Oberursel near FrankfurtCredit: AP:Associated Press

What does ABTA say?

ABTA, the UK travel trade association for tour operators and travel agents, has said: "The vast majority of holidaymakers’ arrangements are covered through different types of financial protection.

"The majority are flight packages covered by ATOL plus a smaller volume are packages without flights and accommodation covered by ABTA.

"Flights booked directly with Thomas Cook airlines and some accommodation booked through Thomas Cook retail, with third parties, are not covered by ATOL or ABTA, so in these cases customers will need to contact their card issuer and they may be entitled to a refund."

ABTA adds that, as there are a number of different companies involved, and different types of arrangement, what customers should do next will depend on whether they are currently away or have a forward booking, who they booked with, and what they booked.

The association has developed specific guidance for each situation which is available at abta.com/thomascook.

The Civil Aviation Authority also has a dedicated webpage with information for customers and travel businesses affected at thomascook.caa.co.uk.

Don't forget, it’s important to keep all your booking information and make a record of your correspondence.

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