Thomas Cook collapses: what are your rights?

September 23, 2019

Thomas Cook has ceased trading and entered into compulsory liquidation. The company’s collapse leaves over 150,000 Britons stranded abroad, with millions more set to lose their future bookings.

The government has already launched an enormous repatriation program to bring holidaymakers home. Those set to depart from the UK are advised not to travel to the airport.

Whether you’re currently away or set to go on holiday in the coming weeks, here we answer some common questions and outline your rights. You should also refer to the official page set up for customers by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

I’m currently on holiday – what should I do?

If you’re scheduled to return to the UK within the next two weeks with Thomas Cook, you will be flown home for free.

Up until October 6, 2019, the CAA will provide return flights to all holidaymakers as close to their original return date as possible, so you won’t have to cut your holiday short.

Don’t worry if your holiday isn’t ATOL protected – the above applies for everyone.

The government has advised that a small number of people may need to book their own transport home and reclaim the cost later. You can find more information about that here.

Holidaymakers are advised not to travel to the airport without checking the CAA’s website for information about their return journey beforehand.

You shouldn’t need to leave your hotel or make an additional payment. However, if you’re having difficulties, you can call the CAA’s dedicated team on +44 1753 330 330.

I’m due to return after October 6 – what should I do?

You will need to arrange your own travel home. If you are ATOL protected, you’ll be able to get your money back for the flight, according to the CAA.

All package holidays have ATOL protection, as will a small number of flight-only bookings. You should have received an ATOL certificate with your booking confirmation.

I have a future booking with Thomas Cook – what should I do?

Unfortunately, your booking will be cancelled.

If you booked an ATOL-protected package holiday, you’ll get a full refund. Once again, you should have a received confirmation of this when you booked. Typically, the ATOL certificate is found on the last page of the booking document.

The CAA will be managing the refund process.

For package deals that didn’t involve a flight, you should be covered through ABTA and you’ll still be able to get a refund.

I booked a DIY holiday – am I covered?

Some DIY packages, where at least one element was booked through Thomas Cook, may be covered, but it depends how you booked.

For example, if you bought different parts of the holiday in the same transaction through the same shop, call centre or website, you’ll still have ATOL (or ABTA, if there’s no flight) protection.

You’ll have limited protection if you bought different parts of the holiday in multiple separate transactions during the same visit to a shop, site or over the phone.

If you find you’re not ATOL protected (the majority of flight-only holidays won’t be), the way you paid may offer some cover.

Bookings made directly to Thomas Cook by credit card costing over £100 should be protected by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. If you booked through a travel agent, this might not be the case, but it’s still worth checking with your bank as soon as you can.

If you paid by debit card, you may be able to recoup your money through the charge back scheme. Again, you should contact your bank immediately.

Am I covered by my travel insurance?

This depends on your policy type and the level of cover you purchased. Unless you took out a policy with 'specific failure cover' or 'provider failure', it’s unlikely.

This doesn't usually come as standard and is typically a feature of premium policies. That said, you should still check with your insurer.

For more information about travel insurance, read our guide.

I found my holiday through TravelSupermarket – what should I do?

If you booked a holiday or flight with Thomas Cook seen on TravelSupermarket, you should contact the holiday provider you booked with who will be able to assist.

You should also follow the advice above or on the dedicated site for Thomas Cook customers which will be updated regularly as the situation continues.  

If you have any other questions, you can contact the CAA’s call centre for Thomas Cook customers:

·       UK number: 0300 303 2800

·       Overseas number:  +44 1753 330 330


Please note: All details were correct at the time of updating (September 23, 2019)

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