/ 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?
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Comments

I heard that some holidays have not been affected how would I find out if mine is or not

We have heard this as well – particularly cruises. You need to phone the separate providers of the parts of your holiday to confirm if it has been paid by Thomas Cook. Let us know how you get on!

I habe a thomas cook package my flights are un effeted, id I pay to re arrange my accommodation can inclaim that back

You will be able to claim the accommodation part of your holiday. However it is worth noting that if you book accommodation separately your holiday will not be Atol protected. You will be able to apply for a full refund through Atol for your original holiday if you want to book a new package that will be Atol protected.

Ann Fletcher says:
30 September 2019

I had a package holiday booked in November . Paid deposit online with Debit card , then 2 payments due to come out by direct debit . The first came out and the second and final one was due 2 days after the collapse so luckily I cancelled. Been checking the ATOL site which said they would release more info for refunds 1st October (Today) just checked again and saying something about 7th now. Not completely clear at all. I’ve come on Which today to see if there’s an update . Thought there might of been considering the 1st was the original date those of us getting refunds with ATOL were told it was happening …….clarity would be nice!

Hi Ann,

Our consumer rights team are contacting the CAA to ask for clarification on this as they were saying today right up until this morning. We will be updating everyone once we have clarification on the process.

errr . . . . we are still in September today.

I didn’t wish to make a cheeky point but dates and timescales are important during difficult situations like this.

Catherine Herbert says:
30 September 2019

I was brought back by virgin Atlantic last Monday we had a vip lounge booked which I never saw the door which is money paid out also I did an on line airshop and didn’t receive my stuff as Everything as be held back by the authorities and to top it all also got a holiday booked for next year and paid in full.

Hi Catherine,

The easier thing first – you will be able to apply for a full refund for your holiday next year through the Atol scheme which is due to open to open to refund claims on 7th October.

On your VIP lounge. Was this a part of your package? If so you could try an Atol claim outlining why you were not able to use it. If you paid for it separately 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.

On the online purchases. Was it the Virgin Atlantic Retail Therapy shop? Their returns policy has information about how to get a refund for items not delivered. https://retailtherapyshopping.com/t/return-policy

Catherine Herbert says:
1 October 2019

Hello Abby simple skipper. My online air shopping was also through Thomas cook and the vip lounge we paid by cash but got proof of payment. Thanks about my next year holidays information . Catherine Herbert.

Hi Catherine, As your airport lounge was not a part of your package and not paid by card you will struggle to get that money back. You can try to contact the company that runs the lounge and explain the situation and see if they will refund as a good will gesture (pointing out that you would consider using them on an other holiday might help).

With your online shopping you will need to contact your card provider as you will not receive those goods now.

KAREN SOUTHWORTH says:
30 September 2019

Will any of the people who were on holiday at the time of the collapse and had that holiday ruined get any compensation? We flew out on the 20th and from the 22nd were badgered by the hotel management to pay for our room or face being evicted. We spent 5 days carrying personal belongings and clothing around the pool and restaurants just in case they carried out their threat. We were prevented from leaving the hotel by security and I received my ‘pass out slip’ just 20 minutes before our return airport transfer was due. The hotel wouldn’t accept the paper copy of my holiday booking (showing ATOL protected) and wanted an electronic copy but I couldn’t send any emails from my account whilst in the hotel. On top of that the aircraft used to fly us on the 8 and a half hour flight home was shocking. It must have been brought out of a junk yard. It was dirty, dilapidated, had no in flight entertainment and the meals provided were abysmal. We were offered 2 drinks for the duration of the flight. 3rd world service with no duty free, no magazine nor provision of purchasing an extra drink. The lights were turned off 2 hours into flight and the incompetent crew disappeared for the next 4 hours. This was my first holiday since June 2015 and mainly taken to celebrate my daughters birthday and for us both to try and recuperate after the recent death of my Mum. What should have been a happy time turned into a very expensive nightmare.

Your hotel management treated you badly. They had no right to charge you for the accommodation and services, but their reaction was probably understandable because they face a major loss of income for holidays already taken and a big drop in trade for the remainder of this season.

The aeroplanes had to be spot hired on the charter market and the CAA probably had little choice in what they could use and quality standards probably differed from one operator to another; their priority was to get people home safely which they are achieving.

To answer your initial question, I doubt whether there will be any compensation for the non-financial adverse effects of a spoiled holiday. Travel insurance and the ATOL scheme cover only the basic necessities and direct financial losses. These situations remind us that in virtually all commercial activities consumers have to share some of the risks; the problem is they cannot realistically provide for them and to have them fully covered would make most things prohibitively expensive.

Hi Karen, That all sounds awful – especially as it sounds like you really needed the break. Unfortunately, however, there will be no compensation.

KAREN SOUTHWORTH says:
1 October 2019

I thought not Abby and that is why people who weren’t on holiday at the time are in a far better place than those of us that were. Holiday makers who are ATOL protected can at least enjoy a stress free holiday albeit maybe a different one to the one they originally booked. Hope everyone gets their money back and the refund process can be done with ease. No one deserves to be ripped off.

KAREN SOUTHWORTH says:
1 October 2019

Hi John We stuck together and refused to pay even though it was quite an intimidating situation to be in. Whilst I can sympathise with hotels who have also lost out considerably they shouldn’t be harassing innocent guests who have already paid to be there. Perhaps they should employ lawyers to fight the Thomas Cook executives and auditors who allowed this to happen. As to the flight home it’s annoying to hear of people being flown home on luxury airlines for short haul flights and even some who weren’t even ATOL protected flying with Virgin. We may have got home safely but we certainly didn’t have a holiday.

Hi Karen, Can I just double check – did you book via Thomas Cook or another provider?

Neil Grainger says:
30 September 2019

Hi, what information and documents will the caa need for making a claim due to the collapse of Thomas Cook

We have spoken to the CAA about people not having their atol certificate. 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.

Hi, I have the ATOL certificate and all the documents which Thomas Cook issued to me, which has the lead name and flight details and number dates of travel and accommodation details and if needed bank statement with the transaction made to Thomas Cook !
Is this all that will be required?
Thanking you in advance
Neil Grainger

Hi Neil – you are well covered there! With all that info they will be able to process your claim with no problems. Keep your eye out for information on Monday about the claim process.

Thank you Abbey, you have been a great help 👍

Stephen Coughlan says:
1 October 2019

Absolutely disgusting, that the greedy selfish top bosses, are raking in millions in benefits or profits for themselves, yet their workers are left with nothing! How is that fair? How do the holiday makers who booked with them.feel about this and probably left stranded? Answers are definitely needed here!

Naomi says:
1 October 2019

Hello, I am just wondering, we booked our package holiday through On The Beach and flights were with Thomas Cook. We were abroad in Turkey at the time of the collapse and we repatriated by the CAA as we were ATOL protected. Are we entitled to claim back the price of the original return flight that was cancelled? I have already contacted On The Beach about it but they are refusing to refund the money we paid them for that flight as we were brought home. What confuses me is, I understand that we were brought home on a flight but wasn’t that an emergency flight funded by ATOL rather than the money I paid for a return flight? What happens to the money I paid? Thomas Cook did not provide the service I paid for but I don’t think I can do the chargeback because I paid the money to On The Beach not to Thomas Cook directly. I understand why the flights were shocking because of how rushed they were and I don’t blame anyone on the flight at all but I’m just not happy to let £400 go just because we were flown home on the worst flight I’ve ever been on.

Hi Naomi,

I am afraid we have heard a lot of people in this situation but compensation is not being offered, not even for out of pocket expenses. Your money will have gone to Thomas Cook so On The Beach will not have it. You could try a charge back as you were not provided with what you were expecting but do bear in mind that thousands of people will be in the same situation so the banks will need to err on the side of caution on this.

KAREN SOUTHWORTH says:
1 October 2019

I fully sympathise with you Naomi as our holiday was ruined because of the fiasco and I would have much preferred to have my money back and take a stress free holiday at a later date. The aircraft we flew home on was dreadful and had I not been one of the last to board and had chance to take in the state it was in I would have walked off and refused to fly on it. I’m sure the CAA wouldn’t provide a plane that wasn’t safe to fly but I’d put money on this one being dragged out off the scrap heap at the eleventh hour. If that’s all that was available then we should have been left in resort until a decent aircraft became available. It was bad!

Naomi says:
2 October 2019

I agree, the entire holiday was filled with worry and stress, because we didn’t know what was happening I was nervous I would run out of medication while we were away so I couldn’t relax. I honestly wish we hadn’t bothered going. We’ve had such a hard year with health problems and we just wanted a week in the sun to de-stress away from it all. Yes it’s stressful for those who have had thier future holidays cancelled, but I feel like they got the better deal really because at least by getting full refunds and being able to rebook elsewhere they get to actually enjoy their holidays when they finally do take them. Of course not the case for those with weddings booked but for regular holidays.. now we have ruined holidays we have worked 50 hour weeks and saved for months for, we are out of pocket £400 and my husband is refusing to fly ever again after the ordeal we had on that flight home. All we had was one espresso sized paper cup filled with water once on a four hour flight that ended up taking over five and a half hours and nothing else. I felt so bad for the cabin crew because they were so upset already and then frustrated at having so little resources. Multiple passengers were passing out and vomiting the whole flight due to turbulence and not enough water to go around..having queued for hours and hours in the airport there was no time to eat or drink before boarding. It was honestly the worst experience I’ve ever had flying and we did 14 hours to Bali last year. To go through that at a time that is supposed to be enjoyable and relaxing away from stress and have them then refuse to refund the money I paid for a service I didn’t recieve is honestly so upsetting.

KAREN SOUTHWORTH says:
2 October 2019

So sorry that your holiday was ruined Naomi. They do cost a lot of hard earned money and should be totally stress free not the other way round as we both encountered.

Hi Naomi,

Sorry – it has just occurred to me – as the flights were the only part of your booking that were Thomas Cook and you actually booked with another company you should go back to them with your complaint. We do have template letters that will help with that complaint.

https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/how-to-claim-if-youre-unhappy-with-your-package-holiday

Patricia Keating says:
1 October 2019

Our holiday was booked for January. We are 4 friends and each paid separately to travel agent. Two debit card and two credit card. Do we complete one claim form and have money paid into lead passenger account.

Hi Patricia,

Is it all one booking just paid for with 4 different methods?

Christine Lynn says:
1 October 2019

I had to book rail fare and hotel as my flight was from Manchester and we live in Newcastle ,however our package holiday was with Thomas Cook and we no longer require the train and hotel due to the collapse ,who do I claim from

Hi Christine, You might have to rely on the good will of the train company and hotel. Contact them and explain your situation and they may be able to relax their cancellation policy. If you are planning on rebooking a holiday and will need to rebook both train and hotel they might be willing to change the dates.

Lisa duerden says:
1 October 2019

Hi all, I booked a holiday package to go out on the 19th of this month (october) it was only 1 part provided by Thomas Cook (the return flight ) which I know is now not available, this holiday I believe has now be de-packaged ? and everything else i booked is still available , but having spoken to my travel agent today they told me my Atol was covered by Thomas Cook so my holiday has been forwarded to another company and I will only find out if they have found me another flight and if we are still going on holiday 3 days before we travel ?? . Am i able to cancel as I only booked 11 days ago ? I appreciate I’m small fish in this big pond , any advise would be appreciated x

Hi Lisa – this all sounds very odd. Judging by the info you’ve shared it seems like you’ve booked a package holiday with another travel agent and that firm should be looking after you, either taking the necessary steps to ensure your holiday goes ahead or if it is unable to do so cancelling the holiday and refunding you.
If you have booked a package holiday give this page a read: https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/package-travel-regulations

Karen Lawrence says:
2 October 2019

We’ve just got back from a package booked with James Villas, flights with T Cook. Flew out 22 Sept, T Cook collapsed 23 Sept, but James Villas did nothing. I thought it was their responsibility (as the package provider, and our ATOL certificate is from them) to re-book us onto a return flight. Instead, they said it was the CAA’s responsibility. We ended up not having a seat on the so-called replacement flight; waiting 8 hours at the airport; then being taken to a hotel overnight; eventually flown back next evening, but to Birmingham instead of Gatwick, then a coach to Gatwick; arrived home at 4am, two days later then planned! Should James Villas, as our package provider, have booked us onto an alternative flight as soon as they knew T Cook had collapsed? And can I get any compensation because they didn’t provide what we’d paid for?

Hi Karen,

Unfortunately you are not automatically entitled to compensation for out of pocket expenses for repatriation. You can however make a complaint to James Villas as the provider of your holiday. We have a guide on how to complain about a holiday. https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/how-to-claim-if-youre-unhappy-with-your-package-holiday

Karen says:
8 October 2019

Thanks for the reply, but I’m not asking about the out of pocket expenses. It’s more that James Villas should, as the package provider, have booked us an alternative flight home but they failed to do so. The CAA should surely have been prioritising those people whose booking and ATOL cover was with Thomas Cook – as obviously TC would not be booking anyone’s replacement flights! Package providers have a duty to provide a replacement flight in the event of cancellation (even if the airline has gone bust as in this case). They failed in that duty; I have already made a complaint to James Villas (awaiting a reply) but wondered if you could shed any light on the legal position here? Why should the CAA step in when package operators are legally obliged to book a replacement flight for their customers?

I think you are right, Karen. Your package holiday was booked with James Villas and it was they who let you down. Possibly not their fault that they booked you on Thomas Cook flights but I feel it is their responsibility to deal with the consequences. Your ATOL protection is with James Villas and, depending on where you were flying back from, I think they should have made every attempt to find you a convenient alternative – even if that might have had to be on a CAA transport but paid for by James Villas.

It was agreed that the CAA would take over all the flights for those two weeks and therefore will have fulfilled their duty to provide to get you home. We will be interested in hearing what James Villa’s response to your complaint will be.

Shelly says:
2 October 2019

Hi we should have flown to Mexico on the 25th of September which didn’t go ahead because of the Thomas cook collapse we have heard absolutely nothing and every number we have tried there is no body there just an automated service I am just wondering if anyone has received a refund yet who did direct debit?

Hi Shelly, They are saying it will take 2 weeks for the Direct Debit refunds to come through.

Jean killengray says:
2 October 2019

Is it true that if you paid for a future holiday with Thomas Cook by debit card you don’t have to fill in the atol form because your refund will be paid back into your bank account within 2 weeks

Hi Jean – that is only for direct debit. If you bought on a debit card you will need to make a claim.

Kelly Grant says:
2 October 2019

8 friends have booked a package holiday from 19 – 22 october to spain, our flights can still go ahead with easy jet so some of the group still want to go (so will book a new hotel) while others have decided they dont want to go at all now. The bulk of the money was paid by a lead person by direct debit which I’ve read will be automatically refunded soon, so this definitely the case? As some of the group want to keep their flights we would prefer that we had a choice in what we claim back for each person, would this be possible? Hope that all makes sense 🙂

Hi Kelly,

That is a unique case. What we would say is even if your friends did rebook the hotel their holiday would not be Atol protected. They could get the refund and completely rebook. Otherwise the lead person would need to phone the CAA and talk through their case.

Thanks Abby. I have since spoken with easyjet and our flights are fine to use. I have also spoken with Atol and because most of the holiday was paid by direct debit the money for the hotel booking will be refunded. I’m I right in assuming then if some of the party havent used their flights they can claim for these separately?
Thanks for your help
Kelly

Hi Kelly, This would be a question for the CAA. It is not clear from the information we have if a party can split what they are doing. What is clear is if you have a flight confirmed and you do not want to travel you will need to make a claim online for the flights.

It will be interesting to hear from the members of your party who decide not to go about how the claim process is and if there were any problems splitting the party.

Simon N says:
3 October 2019

I was due to fly out on 22nd of September, but missed my flight. I rebooked another flight with Thomas Cook to fly out on Monday 23rd but unfortunately they went bust. Am I still covered as I was informed by Thomas Cook that I would be??

Was this a part of a package? If so you will be able to claim a refund through the Atol scheme.

If it was flight only you will have a number of options:

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.

Ivan says:
4 October 2019

Re Thomas Cook flights booked with JLP credit card. John Lewis Finance will not consider my Section 75 claim with supporting evidence. Instead they are insisting that I complete an online all purpose complicated form. Their system does not work and I have found it impossible to download the form for manual completion.
Has anyone else had the same problem? Legally, can they ignore a Section 75 claim. Is this just stonewalling by their bank HSBC?

Hi Ivan,

They can not ignore a Section 75 claim – it sounds like their systems make it hard though. Did you get it downloaded and filled in the end?

Christopher Lewis says:
4 October 2019

I had to book a return flight back from Turkey as was told our flight not available, cost me £848 for 2 people with Jet2 as all airlines had boosted their prices, great help, then it cost me 3 more days accommodation and food and drink, another £96 to get home from Stansted by taxi as could not get a flight to Gatwick, I was not on a package holiday and booked flight separate from accommodation with Nationwide Visa Debit, I contacted them and they say they will reimburse me the cost of the return fare offered by Thomas Cook which was around £400 odd so I am going to be out of pocket and was told they did not even have to do that, it is on their discretion, many people where I was did not receive any messages and could not phone any Thomas Cook number as they did not work so left in the lurch, have seen old people crying as they did not know how to use the internet to book flight tickets, we felt abandoned and had no idea the right thing to do, feel robbed of money at the moment, even Airshoppen took £20 out of my account on 23rd September for 2 bottles of gin we did not get and cannot contact them either.

Hi Christopher,

Was there a reason why you did not get a CAA repatriation flight? Were you not given information about contacting the CAA about a repatriation flight when you were told the flight was cancelled? Unfortunately if it was not agreed before hand they may not pay for it. If you purchased flights because you had been given no information about arranging repatriation flights they might consider it. It is worth contacting them.

On Airshoppen – there seems to be confusion over this but as it stands you would need to go back to Nationwide. Although as it is under £100 they might not consider a charge back unfortunately. The Airshoppen orders seem to be the straw that broke many people.

Christopher Mark Lewis says:
18 October 2019

We were told they were prioritising families, the elderly and anybody who was disabled. This is the only information we were given, there were no phone numbers to contact, we had the news and newspapers.
It was a farce.

Christine Jones says:
6 October 2019

We have booked a package through onthebeach and the flight was with thomas cook. Onthebeach have offered to find a replacement flight or said we can find a replacement flight ourselves, these have obviously shot up in price so not an option at the moment but we have found a complete holiday going a day earlier and it’s slightly cheaper, are we within rights to cancel the whole thing and rebook on a different date?

Vicki says:
7 October 2019

I pre ordered 2 bottles of spirits through Airshoppen to be collected on the flight and paid for them in advance through debit card, can I claim back through CAA ???????

Hi Vicki – you will not be able to claim through the CAA but you should contact your bank about a charge back as you did not get the items you paid for.