Have you been affected by the recent collapse of Thomas Cook? Find out your consumer rights, what to do about future bookings and whether you can get your money back.
Thomas Cook has confirmed that all the companies in its group have ceased trading, including Thomas Cook Airlines. As a result, all holidays and flights have been cancelled. All Thomas Cook’s retail shops have also closed.
If you’re currently abroad
The Government and the Civil Aviation Authority are now working together 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.
Details of flights returning to the UK from your holiday destination are available on the CAA website. If your travel date isn’t listed at the moment, keep checking this page regularly.
The CAA has advised that those looking to return to the UK after the 6th October will have to make your own travel arrangements. If you have ATOL Protection you should be reimbursed for the cost. Your ATOL certificate should be the final page of your booking documents.
If you are due to depart from a UK airport with Thomas Cook Airlines, do not travel to your UK airport as your flight will not be operating and you will not be able to travel.
Further information can be found on the CAA website. Further information for those who have not travelled yet can be found here.
My hotel is demanding payment from me
If you’ve already paid for your accommodation through Thomas Cook, you shouldn’t be asked for further payment. If you are, call the dedicated CAA helpline on +44 1753 330 330. Do not pay your hotel any more money until you’ve spoken to them.
I’ve booked a package holiday through Thomas Cook. What are my options?
If you have purchased a holiday as part of a package you will be covered by ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s Licence scheme) and should be able to make a claim for the cost of the holiday. In some cases, you may still be able to continue with some of your travel arrangements.
Look for the ATOL Protection sticker. You should have received an ATOL certificate when booking. Thomas Cook says if you booked directly with it, it will be on the final page of your booking documents.
ATOL Protection covers only packages, not flight-only deals.
If you are currently on holiday, ATOL will make sure you can finish your holiday and get home as planned.
If you bought the different elements separately via the same website, shop or call centre in the same transaction, you get the same protection as with a traditional package holiday. This applies even if only one element of your holiday is with Thomas Cook. If your holiday includes a flight, you’ll have ATOL protection – if not, it’ll be covered under another scheme such as ABTA.
If you bought different elements of a holiday separately in multiple transactions, but in the same visit to a website or shop or the same telephone call, you only get very limited protection. The official jargon is ‘linked travel arrangement’, and you should have been told you have this when booking.
This only covers you if the company that sold you the holiday goes bust (while it has your money). So, if for example you bought a DIY package in multiple transactions from an online travel agent and it included a Thomas Cook flight, you won’t now have any extra protection.
What if I only booked flight only through Thomas Cook?
If your return flight is not with Thomas Cook’s airline it may still be valid. Please check with the airline you are travelling with.
If you booked a flight-only deal its possible you may still be covered by the ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s Licence) scheme but not all flight-only deals are. You will know if you have this protection if you received an official ATOL receipt upon payment of the flight. However, if you just have an e-ticket or airline ticket, it’s unlikely you will be covered.
If you paid by credit card, then you may still be able to make a claim against your credit company under Section 75. This will generally only apply if the cost of your flights was over £100. Your credit card company will still be liable even if you have only made a part payment. For example, part payment of a deposit even if this was less provided your flight cost more than £100.
What if I paid by debit card?
Section 75 applies only to credit cards. If you used a debit card, it’s possible that you may still be able to make a claim using the chargeback scheme to get some or all your money back. However, Chargeback is not enshrined in law and does not offer the same level of protection as Section 75. More information on Chargeback schemes can be found here.
What about the additional cost and expenses I incurred as part of my holiday booking?
Additional costs and expenses associated with the holiday are unlikely to be covered through ATOL or section 75. However, it’s still advisable to check. In these cases, you may be able to make a claim against your travel insurance policy. You should check the terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy if you are covered. If you have specialist cover such as Wedding Insurance, you may be able to make a claim against this.
Booked extras through Thomas Cook like tours, excursions or car hire? Get in touch with the individual providers to see if you can have your reservation rebooked or refunded. If that’s possible you might be left out of pocket.
What if I am currently paying for a holiday by Direct Debit
At the moment it is unclear what guidance Thomas Cook or the CAA are providing regarding ongoing Direct Debits.
If your holiday is ATOL Protected you should get all of your money back through the scheme, but it could take several months.
If you have a Direct Debit due to leave your account for an upcoming Thomas Cook holiday, you may want to cancel it. However, cancelling a Direct Debit could leave a mark on your credit file.
I’ve booked a holiday through another operator that includes Thomas Cook flights – what should I do?
Check with your tour operator, they will let you know if it’s possible to rebook your flight with a different airline.
Will my travel insurance cover my flights if I don’t have ATOL Protection?
Read the terms of your policy, and get in contact with the insurance company if you’re not sure. Travel company failure often isn’t included in standard policies.
You may be able to claim for extras like tours and car hire if you were unable to get to your destination, check the terms and conditions of your policy.
I have Thomas Cook vouchers
Unfortunately, it’s likely that you won’t be able to redeem any Thomas Cook gift or compensation vouchers. If you used gift cards to pay for part or all of a holiday that is ATOL protected, you will be able to claim a cash refund.
How do I get refunds?
ATOL Protected passengers with future bookings are entitled to a full refund for their cancelled holiday. Passengers currently overseas may also make claims for the cost of replacing ATOL Protected parts of their trip, or for out of pocket expenses as a result of delayed flights home. The Civil Aviation Authority will be launching a service to manage all refunds by Monday 30 September, once the flying operation has progressed. This refunds service will seek to process all refunds within 60 days of full information being received.