Thomas Cook – World’s oldest holiday company faced total collapse – What to do if you have booked a vacation

al sahawat times thomas cook collapse liquidation notice
  • By Amira Bakr

Thomas Cook collapse – What to do if you have booked a holiday

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What will happen to your holiday if what’s left of Thomas Cook goes bust?

Thomas Cook, the world’s oldest travel company (est. 1841),  is desperately scrambling for £200 million to save the company and 21,000 jobs from total collapse.

Bosses admitted this week that it’s facing a huge funding black hole and shareholders have been warned there is a “significant risk of no recovery”.

The world’s oldest holiday company is facing a takeover bid from Chinese firm Fosun, but it risks going bust as early as this weekend if they don’t find the money in time.

Tourists have been assured their holidays are safe, but as many as 180,000 customers could be stranded abroad if Thomas Cook does collapse.

As Thomas Cook is a UK based company that would leave the UK taxpayer facing a bill of around £600 million GBP to get those people home.

How to get your money back if Thomas Cook collapses?

Package holidays with the travel firm are Atol protected, meaning you will not face any extra cost and there would be refunds for planned holidays that don’t happen.

Atol, which stands for Air Travel Organiser’s Licence, is a scheme which protects customers if a travel company they booked with stops trading.

This stops you becoming stranded abroad or thousands of pounds out of pocket.

Every UK travel company which sells package holidays and flights is required to hold an Atol, companies from other nations may be required to hold an equivalent, you should always check such protections before booking any travel.

Atol protection however, does not apply if you booked your flights or accommodation separately.

In that scenario, you may have to claim back costs from your credit or debit card provider.

Credit card bookings between £100 GBP and £30,000 GBP are protected under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, while debit card bookings can be recovered using charge back.

Many holidaymakers have already expressed concerns about the future of the company, but Thomas Cook social media staff tweeted ‘there is nothing to be worried about, all of our flights will be operating as normal and will be for many more years!’

Despite this optimism, the company said the scramble for cash is expected to significantly dilute existing shareholders’ stakes in the firm.

In a statement, Thomas Cook said:

“Discussions to agree final terms on the recapitalisation and reorganisation of the Company are continuing between the company and a range of stakeholders. These discussions include a recent request for a seasonal standby facility of 200 million pounds, on top of the previously announced 900 million pounds injection of new capital.”

Guy Anker, of the Moneysavingexpert consumer website, said:

“This is extremely worrying news for hundreds of thousands of people who have booked holidays with Thomas Cook, particularly those who are abroad already.”

A source close to the discussions said on Thursday that Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) had hit Thomas Cook with a last minute demand for the extra funding, adding that the situation “was becoming more critical”.

A spokesman for RBS said the bank did not “recognise this characterisation of events” and was working with all parties to “try and find a resolution to the funding and liquidity shortfall at Thomas Cook.”

Thomas Cook is still accepting bookings for present and future travel arrangements. Consumers are advised to consider all risks carefully before planning any purchases.

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About the Author

Amira Bakr
Journalist Since: September 2010 Profession: Investigative Journalist Graduated in: 2008 Based in: London, UK Previous professional experience: New York, Moscow, Dubai, Beirut Languages: English, Arabic, Russian, French