/ Travel & Leisure

Thomas Cook collapse: your questions answered

Last-minute negotiations to save Thomas Cook have ended in failure. Are you affected?

09/12/2019: Update

Thomas Cook customers who have made a claim through the CAA refund service should start getting their money back from this week. However, some have been told their claim will be delayed longer than the 60 day deadline while more information is gathered.

We’re keeping an eye on the situation and will update this post when we learn more.

Have you been refunded yet? Or have you had issues with your claim? Let us know in the comments below.

09/10/2019: Update

The CAA’s dedicated refunds service is now open.

We’ve also discussed what happens next in the Which? Money podcast:

23/09/2019: Thomas Cook ceases trading

The news that Thomas Cook has ceased trading with immediate effect has left hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers incredibly worried.

Your Thomas Cook questions

Our guide to what happens when a travel company goes bust answers a number of queries for the scenario of a travel company going bust, but we want to make sure your specific questions on Thomas Cook are addressed.

Here are some of the most common we’ve had so far, and our advice:

How do I know if I have Atol protection?

Thomas Cook package holidays that include flights are Atol protected. Flights booked directly with Thomas Cook Tour Operations are also Atol protected, but flights booked directly with Thomas Cook Airlines aren’t.

To be sure, check your booking confirmation details. You’ll have received an Atol certificate if you’re protected, usually on the last page of your booking documents.

Holidays sold in the EU are protected if the travel organiser goes bust, provided the holiday combines at least two of the following elements of travel: transport, accommodation, car rental or excursions/guided tours/museum visits. In the UK that protection is provided by the Atol scheme.

If you’re unsure, the best way to check is to look for an ATOL certificate, which you should have received at the time of booking. For more see Atol protection explained.

I’m currently on a Thomas Cook holiday, what do I do now?

If you’re due to return home before 6 October, you’ll be flown home for free, as close as possible to your original return date.

Even if you don’t have Atol protection, or you’re not a British citizen, the CAA has a duty to get you back to the UK.

The Government and the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) have arranged charter flights to get travellers home. You can visit their website to find out more information and check the latest flight details.

The CAA also has a 24-hour helpline if you have questions or need extra help: +44 1753 330 330.

If you’re due to return home after 6 October, you’ll have to arrange your own travel. The cost of your flight will be reimbursed if you have Atol protection.

I haven’t heard anything back about replacement flights home, can I go ahead and rebook?

Firstly, you shouldn’t need to cut your holiday short. The Government and the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) have arranged charter flights to get travellers home It has set up a website where you can find out more information and check flight details.

If you’re unable to arrange replacement flights in time for you to travel, then you can go ahead and arrange your own travel. As long as you keep your receipts, you should be reimbursed if they’re a reasonable cost and similar to the original booking.

For example, if your original booking was for an economy fare, you won’t be reimbursed if you book a first class seat as a replacement.

The hotel I’m staying in is asking me to pay more money. What should I do?

You don’t need to pay your hotel extra money if you’re Atol protected, and you shouldn’t need to leave your hotel before you had planned to either.

You can contact the CAA for advice with this on +44 1753 330 330 if you need to. They should be able to settle the situation or transfer you to alternative accommodation if you’re having problems.

Importantly keep receipts if you are forced to pay out extra as you may be able to claim these costs back at a later date.

If you’re not on a package holiday, it’s unlikely you’ll have Atol protection. However, if your accommodation is demanding money, you can contact the British consulate for advice.

I need a repatriation flight home, but have special travel requirements because of a disability or medical condition. How can I arrange this?

Contact the consulate to ask for the travel arrangements you need.

I’m due to go on a Thomas Cook package holiday very soon. What does this mean for me?

Sadly, your holiday is now cancelled but, if it’s Atol protected, you will be refunded in full. Find out more about claiming a refund from the dedicated CAA website.

For package holidays without a flight, you’ll still be protected, but this time it’ll be under the ABTA scheme. You’ll be able to get a refund for the package holiday portion of your trip.

Can I still go ahead with my holiday? 

There are steps you can take if you still want to go on holiday, but it can get complicated and could cost you more – think very carefully whether you’ll be better off waiting for a refund and making different plans.

The first step you should take is to contact your airline and hotel to find out if your places are still booked, and if they have been paid for or not.

(a) If every thing has been paid for your holiday can still go ahead.

(b) If only element had been paid for you will have to pay for your hotel or flights or make alternative arrangements. If you have Atol protection you can claim back the cost of your hotel or flight  as long as it doesn’t exceed the total original cost of your holiday.

For example if your holiday cost £1,000 and the hotel costs £800, you can claim that full cost back. But if the hotel now costs £1,200 you can claim back the full £1,000 but you will have to find the extra £200 yourself.

Additionally if anything goes wrong with your new booking you will not have Atol protection.

(c) Nothing has been paid for than the same advice as above applies, it will probably be extremely difficult to find alternative arrangements that will not cost substantially more.

What if my booking is not Atol protected? Can I get my money back?

If future flights or a booking are not Atol protected, you won’t be able to claim for a refund through the CAA. But if you paid with a credit or debit card contact your bank or card provider, they might be able to help.

If you paid for all or part of your booking using a credit card, and the cost was over £100, you can contact your bank and make a claim under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

If you paid for your booking with a debit card, you can contact your bank and ask them about their chargeback procedure, which could get you a refund.

You could also check whether your travel insurance covers you if your travel company goes into administration. You may be able to make a claim with them, but you might have to pay excess.

I’ve booked a Thomas Cook package holiday that I’ve paid for in full. How long will it take for my money to be refunded?

The CAA initially said it will launch a dedicated refunds service for Thomas Cook customers by 30 September, has now moved to 7 October because ‘we do not yet have all of the information we need from Thomas Cook’. It says it will aim to process refunds within 60 days of receiving a claim. We’ll let you know more on how to claim a refund when the details are released.

The CAA has said ‘that for refunds for holidays paid for by methods other than direct debit it will ‘launch a new, simplified online system next Monday, 7 October, where consumers will be able to access an electronic refund form. We hope to pay refunds within 60 days of receiving a valid refund form. More information will be available on our website (thomascook.caa.co.uk) from 7 October.’

If you paid for your holiday using direct debit you should be refunded automatically by mid-October.

If you do have any questions on how the refund system will work and what you need to do pop them in the comments and we can ask the CAA. 

I booked my holiday through an agent, but only my flights were with Thomas Cook. What am I entitled to?

If you booked your flights and accommodation at the same time, through the same travel agent or travel agent website, you’ll be Atol protected. The agent should arrange alternative flights for you or offer a refund.

If you booked flights and accommodation separately, your flight won’t be protected. But if you paid for your flights with a credit or debit card you can contact your card provider and ask to claim the money back.

I’ve booked a Thomas Cook holiday through a travel agent, but the flights are with a different airline. What does this mean for me?

If you booked all the parts of your trip at the same time through the same travel agent (flights and accommodation) then your holiday will be Atol protected.

Any part of your trip provided by Thomas Cook will be cancelled, but your flights will be unaffected. If your agent is unable to make alternative arrangements, your Atol protection entitles you to a full refund of your booking.

If you booked your flights separately, unfortunately your flights won’t be covered by Atol protection.

I’ve booked a Thomas Cook holiday, but booked flights separately with another airline.

Your holiday will be ABTA protected, and you’ll be entitled to a full refund of the holiday portion of your trip. Your flight booking will be unaffected so you’ll need to look at booking an alternative holiday package if you still want to go, otherwise cancel your flights.

I’m in the middle of paying installments for a future holiday. What should I do now and can I get my money back?

The payments you’ve made so far are protected under the Atol protection scheme and you’ll be able to get your money back. 

All direct debit payments to Thomas Cook due on or after Wednesday 25 September will now automatically be cancelled, but it’s worth checking with your bank to make sure. If you have a payment due on Tuesday 24 August, you should contact your bank to cancel it as soon as possible.

On Monday 30 September the CAA released a statement saying that ‘for around 100,000 bookings made by direct debit we hope to refund these within the next 14 days.’

How do I get my refund if I’m Atol protected?

If you booked direct with Thomas Cook, you’ll need to apply to the CAA for a refund.

The CAA initially said it will launch a dedicated refunds service for Thomas Cook customers by 30 September, has now moved to 7 October because ‘we do not yet have all of the information we need from Thomas Cook’. It says it will aim to process refunds within 60 days of receiving a claim. We’ll let you know more on how to claim a refund when the details are released.

The CAA has said ‘that for refunds for holidays paid for by methods other than direct debit it will ‘launch a new, simplified online system next Monday, 7 October, where consumers will be able to access an electronic refund form. We hope to pay refunds within 60 days of receiving a valid refund form. More information will be available on our website (thomascook.caa.co.uk) from 7 October.’

If you paid for your holiday using direct debit you should be refunded automatically by mid-October.

If you do have any questions on how the refund system will work and what you need to do pop them in the comments and we can ask the CAA.

If you booked your holiday package through another travel agent, you can ask the agent directly for a refund.

Will anyone contact me about my refund? 

No, you’ll need to make your claim yourself. We’ve heard that scammers are targeting those affected, claiming to be from their bank or a ‘Thomas Cook refund agent.’ Don’t give any details to anyone who calls you claiming to be from Thomas Cook – just hang up.

If the caller says they’re from your bank and you’re unsure, you can always call your bank back using the contact details listed on their website.

I’ve got a Thomas Cook gift voucher, can I still use it or get the money back?

Getting your money back may be possible, but is not guaranteed.  If you have unredeemed gift cards you will need to register as a creditor and complete a Proof of Debt form.  

We have also heard that some have been able to claim the money spent on Thomas Cook gift vouchers back from their credit or debit card provider (if this is how the gift voucher was purchased).  However, this is at the discretion of the card provider and is not guaranteed.

If you’ve already used a gift voucher to pay for a future holiday you’ll be entitled to a cash refund from the CAA, as long as the holiday you paid for is Atol protected.

Can I be reimbursed for costs caused by rescheduled flights or cancelled holidays? For example, airport car parking, airport lounge bookings, visas, connecting travel costs and currency?

Your best bet in the first instance is to contact the service providers in each case, explain the situation and ask if they can reschedule or refund. Alternatively, you can check to see if you’re covered by travel insurance.

I’ve currently got a flight delay/cancellation or holiday claim with Thomas Cook. Will I get my money back?

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do but wait to hear back. Thomas Cook now owes a lot of creditors a lot of money, and your claim will be a low priority. 

Can I make a claim on my travel insurance?

Unfortunately, a lot of travel insurance options don’t offer much protection in this instance, unless you’ve opted for specific failure cover – and even then, it will only be useful if you’re not covered by ATOL, ABTA or similar.

I have travel insurance with Thomas Cook. Is it still valid?

Yes. Thomas Cook travel insurance is provided by White Horse Insurance DAC, based in Ireland, and is still trading. If you have questions or need to make a claim on your travel insurance, you can contact White Horse Insurance directly at customerservice@whitehorse.ie or call +44 1733 224 852.

I have a Thomas Cook Cash Passport. Can I still use it?

Yes. The service is run by a separate company called Wirecard, who is a Mastercard partner, and MasterCard told us that these prepaid cards are unaffected and you can still spend your remaining balance.

Can I still cash in Thomas Cook travellers cheques?

Yes. Travelex says it will continue to cash in Thomas Cook travellers cheques at any of its retail bureaus in the UK, or via post.

I can’t find my Atol certificate, what can I do? 

If you booked a package holiday then you should have been issued with an Atol certificate. Now is the time to dig out any paperwork you received when you booked your holiday, for example confirmation emails or any paperwork you were given in store.

Some customers may not have received their Atol certificate, it may only be mentioned briefly in your confirmation details under ‘miscellaneous’ or ‘other travel details’, or for others the certificate will only have been accessible using your Thomas Cook customer account – which is no longer available.

Not having a copy of you Atol certificate will not stop you from claiming a refund as long as you have the name of the lead passenger and the dates you were due to fly, but it might slow the process down a little.

We’ll continue to update this advice regularly, as soon as we get new information. If you have more questions, please feel free to ask below.

Have you been affected by the Thomas Cook collapse?

Yes - I've booked a future package holiday with them (35%, 463 Votes)

No - I'm not affected by this (31%, 401 Votes)

Yes - I've booked a future flight with them (26%, 341 Votes)

Yes - I'm currently on a Thomas Cook package holiday (4%, 51 Votes)

Yes - I'm currently on holiday and have flown with Thomas Cook (4%, 50 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,306

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Your email said that you would update this, but I see nothing new since September. My newspaper tells me I should be contacted by one of three “partners” of CAA but I have heard nothing, since my claim using your link. Should I have expected contact by now? Should I complain to CAA, yet? (I am one of those who had paid and was due to fly out in early October)

We are aware of a delay in refunds and are working on an update as we speak! (sorry it has taken a while to get back to you)

This comment was removed at the request of the user

carolb says:
26 November 2019

i agree, I claimed on oct 9th thru the caa website with all required details, there has not even been an acknowledgement !, I have looked for anywhere to chase it but there appears to be nothing. There should be some sort of updates provided, even as a group announcement. My holiday dates were Oct 13th, so if in order of bookings, surely I should of heard something by now.

Rob Simpson says:
1 December 2019

I didn’t hear anything not even an acknowledgement email & I have just received a refund BUT it is £75 short of what I paid. This is not right so a phone call will have to be made Monday morning

Hi both – have you heard anything on either of your cases?

Is there any update on how we can get anything back from vouchers?

Hey Cindy,
I’ve checked with our Consumer Rights team on this: it is possible, but not guaranteed. If you have gift cards, you’ll need to register as a creditor, and then it’s a case of wait and see. There’s information on how to register here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/thomas-cook-information-for-customers-employees-creditors-and-shareholders#Information-for-creditors

We’ve also heard that some have managed to reclaim their money from credit or debit card providers (assuming that’s how they paid for the gift card). If this is how they were paid for, it might be worth asking your card provider.

Keep us posted on how it goes – we’d be keen to hear about it.

We are out of pocket for our holiday to Turkey as Thomas Cookfolded 3 days before we were leaving as I paid by debit card for holiday my bank put money back into my bank account we just went PAYG for everything else this meant we were out of pocket by a few hundred quid can I claim this or anything back from insurance company even though we got our insurance money back after I spoke to them still out of pocket

I put a claim in on the 7th heard nothing no correspondence at all i have spoken to caa this morning just been told to wait

I have been refunded by Cega however, they have deducted £190 for the seat allocation which I paid via the Thomas Cook ‘manage my booking’ website by debit card. Should this have been refunded?

There is no consistency with the claims as some have their seat allocation refunded and others not.

Naomi hubbard-coles says:
15 December 2019

I’m a thomas cook customer who has lost her honeymoon I’m on day 69 no refund. Caa been awful long waits to answering phone and claims being dealt with protect claims and cega. We can’t actually speak to anyone who is dealing with our claim. No answers and No idea when I’m getting my refund.

We had to book return flights as we were beyond repatriation date. We had booked our initial flights only through an agent. We have received a negative response from our credit card and our insurance. Neither ABTA or the CAA say they can help. Is there anything we can do?

We have today received a refund from atol for our package deal less £2800 of voucher value we had after a 24 hours delay on a previous booking .Atol will only repay cash paid do we have any other way of claiming the voucher value back ? Thank you

Alan Grieves says:
6 January 2020

We have had exactly the same issue and can’t get any answer from anyone. Surely the use of delayed EU compensation from a previous holiday is a form of money in lieu for the new booking and not seen as a voucher. Can anyone clarify?

Laura Senior says:
23 January 2020

I completely agree and am in the same position. We had a £1600 delayed flight compensation voucher redeemed against our Florida holiday for this summer and whilst our £1000 deposit has now been refunded we are out of pocket for the voucher amount which they say isn’t covered by ATOL as not a financial loss. I can understand why other compensation vouchers aren’t entitled for refunds (where for example you complained about something and TC gave you a voucher to say sorry etc) but I was entitled to a cash compensation amount of £1400 under EU rules but accepted an offer from TC for the £1800 voucher instead. I therefore consider that I have suffered a real financial loss of at least the original £1400 flight delay Comp amount. I effectively used the £1400 cash Comp amount to “buy” a voucher worth £1800. Which, please can you advise how to take this further as I have replied to the company dealing with the CAA/ATOL payouts that dealt with the deposit refund but have had zero responses. Thanks

I am also having the exact same problem, I purchased a holiday and used compensation vouchers as part of the payment. However ATOL have said they will not refund this part of the holiday (£900). I was previously told by ATOL that I would be covered, and they seem to have changed their stance on this. I made a complaint in November, but had no response since.

The idea that I haven’t received financial loss is illogical. At the time I received the compensation vouchers I was offered either £600 cash, or £900 of vouchers. As I was going away so soon in the future I chose the vouchers. So to say I haven’t received financial loss of at least £600 is disingenuous.

James Tallett says:
17 December 2019

Claim submitted on the 7th October, with the limited information that was requested. I would have preferred to attach documents etc.

Received an email from Protect Claims on the 3rd Dec, now wanting the information I would have uploaded on the 7th October if the CAA website had the facility. Submitted the information to Protect Claims requested on the 3rd Dec.

Requesting the information when the 60 days is up is unacceptable, but I’ve just checked the progress of my claim and the Protect Claims Website shows my claim was received on the 4th Dec and is 51 days into the claim progress.

Rang CAA and they said they don’t believe my claim has started from the beginning, even though the progress clearly shows it has 51 days to run now.

So much for booking my summer holiday anytime soon.

Has anyone made a claim through CAA website and had an email to say the CEGA cannot deal with it as they are only dealing with third party booking and to make a new claim with right path as you booked direct with TC? On day 65 and just recieved this email. Why has it taken so long to discover this after asking for more info too.

Jayne Kirkham says:
7 January 2020

Yes i had the same having a nightmare now with claimsprotect as they cant seem to find my booking i have sent my atol certificate and booking information to them twice i am on about day 75 now and no refund yet

Ian Banks says:
2 January 2020

I was due to travel 12/10/2019 and at date of writing have still not received a refund despite submitting a claim as soon as the claim form (again, 3 weeks after the collapse) was available. I am beginning to think that the ATOL scheme isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. My claim is being handled by CEGA (?), who only seem to be contactable via e mail, I can find no phone contact numbers, and they don’t reply to e mails, but for a system generated one that says they have received your e mail. Extremely dissapointed in ATOL

I booked our car parking through Thomas cook at the time of booking our holiday. I have this week been refunded the deposit that I paid via my visa card for the holiday but I haven’t received the payment for the car parking…am I entitled to this?

I made an ATOL claim for my Thomas Cook holiday on 21/10/19, the day after I returned from my rebooked holiday to Orlando following the collapse of Thomas Cook. When the 60 days passed I called the ATOL helpline who could not give me an answer, and in fact wouldn’t look into my claim as ‘its was Christmas and they shut down’. But they did confirm that they’ve not emailed me requesting for further information. On the 13/01/20 I then received an email requesting booking documents and invoices from Thomas Cook, and all payments made to them. This was difficult as I changed my bank after 3 DD payments to Thomas Cook, so had to go in branch for mini statement. I’ve sent the information back but they’ve sent an automated message stated I will get a response within 28 working days. I am upset and angry and I am waiting for over £3400 from ATOL and had to pay £4500 to rebook 5 days before flying. So I am currently nearly £8000 down until I get my payment. I would like advice and help and where to go next.

Debbie Campbell says:
15 February 2020

My husband and myself also paid part of our cancelled TC holiday with a compensation voucher worth £900. We received all money back excluding the £900 that was paid due to a flight delay. Surely they should be refunding this?

I received my refund on 31.12.19. They also refunded the seats which were booked 2 days before the collapse. I have now had an email (18 months later) saying that following a review, they want me to pay back the money for the seats. Has anyone else had this? Thank you.