I was due to fly with Thomas Cook in January. After the company went under, I was worried about getting my money back. Here’s how I was able to do it.
I was due to fly to South Africa in January with my partner to watch England play cricket.
When I used a flight comparison site to look for flights back in July, I found that Thomas Cook offered the best value.
Not only that, but it was a brand name I recognised. It’s been around for a long time; you see the shops on the high street and adverts on the TV – that brings about an element of trust, even if it’s subconscious.
I’d heard rumours that Thomas Cook’s package holiday arm might be in trouble but, as I’d only booked flights. I thought things would be fine.
Claiming a refund for cancelled flights
It turned out things were most definitely not fine. When the company went under, my flights were cancelled.
It was then unclear whether I’d be able to claim my refund through my credit card provider or through the Atol protection scheme.
I’d heard of Atol, but I didn’t know what it was, and I also didn’t know it only applied to package holidays.
That legislation allows people who spend on credit cards to recoup their money if goods or services don’t turn out as expected.
Which? steps in with advice
In the fallout of the collapse of Thomas Cook, it was great to see Which? stepping in with essential advice to affected customers, even giving evidence at a parliamentary inquiry into the failed travel agent.
Without that advice, many others like me may not have known exactly what to do in the event of such a large-scale collapse.
The official online Thomas Cook refund system, run by the Civil Aviation Authority, launched on 7 October and is open for a year.
Unfortunately, many people are still experiencing delays in getting their refunds. If you’re one of them, Which? is looking to hear from you.
As for me, I’m still going to South Africa next month (provided nothing else goes wrong!)
But, before booking new flights with a travel agent I’d never heard of, I’ve done a lot of research to make sure everything’s legitimate and above board.
The irony is, I’d heard of Thomas Cook, so I trusted them.