/ 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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I have a holiday booked in April, the payments come out each month, one being due in 3 days, what should I do?

Is this through Thomas Cook? We will have advice for people very soon but we would advise you hold tight as any cancellation will incur a cancellation fee.

My husband and I booked our all inclusive family holiday to Mexico for June 2020.
We booked and paid for the whole package through Thomas Cook however, I have now been informed that they could potentially go bust 🙁 (I wish I’d looked into this before booking).
We have paid for the holiday in full via credit card, ATOl protected and have taken out Travel cover, so I have no doubts that we will get our money back.
My question is…… do we sit tight and wait to see if they actually go bust or do we request for a refund right away?
The resort we have had our heart set on doesn’t seem to be available through other providers, unless we book flights/accommodation separately (which I am very reluctant to do).
I would appreciate any advice 🙂

Thanks in advance!

Hi Sasha – we are looking at all these issues now and we will have articles with advice to people in your situation very soon. In the meantime you are well protected so don’t feel you need to cancel.

Hi Sasha – a bit of updated advice for you – We would also recommend you get in touch with the resort to see if your booking is still valid and see what they say. If you do book flights separately do so on a credit card as that gives you more protection. Good Luck!

I presume that while Thomas Cook remains in business their cancellation terms will apply: https://support.thomascook.com/Before-You-Travel/Changes-Cancellations/1134020982/What-will-it-cost-to-cancel-my-holiday.htm Currently, if you cancel now, it looks like you’ll be charged £250 per person. However, Which? may have good advice.

I’d suggest your best bet is to sit tight and see what happens as your money appears to be well protected.

This is a very good question.

If someone has booked a package then they will be ATOL protected. However if they have booked anything separately (which I hadn’t realised until today you could do with Thomas Cook) they will have to rely on either travel insurance or refund from credit card provider.

Hi there.

We have booked our honneymoon to Orlando threw Thomas Cook. If they are to go into administration I know we are covered by atol and will get a full refund. But what if we book alter active flights as that is the only Thomas Cook owned part of the holiday we are using. Will our hotel reservations still be fine to use or do Thomas Cook not pay them till months later? Thanks

We would recommend you get in touch directly with the hotel and talk to them about the booking as it will not be the same for everyone. Good Luck (and congrats on your up coming nuptials!)

For everyone with holidays booked with Thomas Cook – we now have more advice online.


I have book a holiday for next year March 2020 paying by instalments by direct debit. If Thomas Cook goes bust do I carry on paying the rest of the instalments.Or will Thomas Cook not request payment?

I’m afraid we just don’t know yet. It is a case of wait and see which we appreciate isn’t easy!

Now they have gone into liquidation the picture is clearer. They have completely ceased operating so no further installments will come out of your account.


I have flights only booked with Thomas Cook for a few weeks away. If they go into administration, what happens to fight tickets if someone else takes over the airline part. Could they still honour the flights or would I be best looking at alternatives as soon as they go into administration of that’s what happens

I’m afraid we can not give specific advice like this as the picture is still very unclear. It’s a case of wait and see. I know that isn’t the easiest thing though!

Danny cameron says:
21 September 2019

We have a package holiday booked starting 11th October , if Thomas cook go bust , how long will it take for my money to be refunded ?

The refund operation will be starting on 30th September once the repatriation operation has been completed. They are aiming to process all refunds in 2 months from receipt of a fully completed claim form.

We have booked a package holiday for 28 days on 04/10/19 , with Thomas Cook , we have been told that the accommodation has been paid for and we just have to book another flight. Is this correct?

Is this confirmed by the hotel? In that case you need to book new flights and claim a refund through the CAA if they were Atol protected or claim through your card provider.

Angela says:
22 September 2019

If Thomas cook go bust can you claim through your insurance as well as ATOL

Your insurer will expect you to declare that you have sought compensation from all other available sources before meeting your claim and will reduce or reject your claim if you have access to compensation elsewhere even if you have not availed yourself of it.

How long does it take please

The refund operation will be starting on 30th September once the repatriation operation has been completed. They are aiming to process all refunds in 2 months from receipt of a fully completed claim form.

D Munro says:
22 September 2019

I have booked with Thomas Cook to go on a package holiday on 3/10/19 I booked online direct with them Do I contact caa or will they contact me for a refund ,I have my atol certificate

You need to contact CAA directly – here is their website with full contact information. https://thomascook.caa.co.uk/

Booked flight with Thomas cook but hotel with another company will the holiday be safe Thank you

This depends on a number of things. Was it booked through Thomas Cook?

We would recommend contacting the hotel to confirm your booking.

It seems clear now that, with effect from midnight on Sunday 22 September 2019, all Thomas Cook flights and holidays are cancelled. Customers should now cancel all future payments. Whether they will get any deposits and other payments back remains to be seen.

I suspect that no single hotel or resort group will be at sufficient risk or commercially strong enough to mount a rescue attempt for cancelled holidays. The ripple effect on the travel trade through the lost bookings could be massive. With 150,000 plus holidaymakers currently abroad, the overall number affected between now and the next season must be colossal. The loss of trade on such a scale must lead to closures in popular destinations and uncertainty for future travellers with any tour operator.

While other tour operators will no doubt be breathing a sigh of relief at TC’s downfall, as it reduces the commercial pressure on them, the longer term consequences could be bad for the industry as consumer confidence is badly hit and demand for the traditional package holiday dries up.

The cruise sector appears to be more resilient than other parts of the travel trade but so much extra capacity has been provided recently that there must be question marks over the viability of some operations. Ships need a very high occupancy ratio to make voyages economic so heavier discounting might take place and a reduction in quality and standards.

Just to reassure people on one point – most people will be ATOL protected. Travel insurance and charge backs should cover most other people.

I’m sure the travel insurance industry will be in for interesting times. On one hand they will be hit with a lot of claims but I am sure it will make a lot of people more likely to take insurance out.

Those currently abroad on package tours with ATOL protection will be repatriated, but will ATOL protect and repay those whose package tour bookings have not yet commenced? Possibly, but not necessarily in time to make alternative arrangements. Those not on package tours will have to rely on travel insurance if they have it or chargeback if they paid with a credit or debit card. Presumably insurers will insist on claiming chargeback, where applicable, in the first instance.

The hit on the insurance industry will almost certainly lead to a hike in premiums [and more tax for the government]. Travel insurance is very competitive so there could be some contraction in the market, especially at the budget end, and a stiffening of terms, excesses, etc. For many holidays, operators already require travel insurance before accepting a booking.

As you can imagine this is very fast moving news story. We will be giving individual advice but in the meantime…

Here is our updated news on it:

The CAA have published advice here: thomascook.caa.co.uk

I booked an holiday with Thomas cook for next year paying with cash I’ve got an atol number but no certificate it was with tomas cook airlines package holiday all inclusive can anyone help

The good news is – if you have your Atol number you will be able to claim.

Despicable………………………with debt of 1.7 billion pounds – why were they still accepting bookings on Saturday when i booked my holiday.

It is right that the government should not bail them out as it is a private company. but interestingly they new and had arranged for other airlines to come to he stranded aid of people still holidaying aborad. the CAA had people in airports – so everyone knew but the consumer .
so woh took my money – the banks ??

I have a trip to Palma planned fo this coming weekend. We are flying with another airline but we were due to return with Thomas Cook. Will they still have to repatriate me or should I look for a new return flight with someone else??

Is this a part of a package or booked separately?

I would get in touch with CAA to double check this but at a guess they will only repatriate people who are abroad now so you will need to book another flight.

We have booked a holiday to Kos departing 6th October. This was through an online travel agent with flights through TC and accommodation and transfers. My ATOL certificate is if the travel agent goes into administration rather than a supplier. What are my rights in this situation? Travel agent states I can pay extra for totally unrealistic flights or lose £800 if I cancel – is this info correct?

Martyn says:
23 September 2019

I thought I booked a future holiday for December 2018 through Thomas cook web site, but my ATOL certificate advises that Expedia, Inc 5788 is protecting my trip. We booked flights with easyJet and accommodation.
Is Expedia part of Thomas cook administration and my holiday cancelled or not please?
Thanks for any advice.