The current situation – as at 23:30 Sunday 22nd September 2019

Reports are now showing online that Thomas Cook will indeed be going into administration.

So everyone’s biggest fear now seems to have come true.

Here’s the key things you need to know:

What’s ATOL?

ATOL, which stands for Air Travel Organiser’s Licence scheme, is the UK’s financial protection scheme and protects you when you book a holiday with a UK ATOL holder. It will provide support so that you are not at a financial loss or without assistance abroad if your ATOL holder ceases trading.

ATOL is run by the Civil Aviation Authority.

“I’m booked on a Thomas Cook holiday next year, will I lose my money if they go bust?”

If you’ve booked a package holiday with Thomas Cook you will be protected by ATOL and will therefore receive all your money back.

“I have a flight only booking, will I have any protection if they go bust?”

In most circumstances ATOL will not protect you for flight only bookings. However, you will be covered in some cases if you do not receive a valid flight ticket once you paid for the flight.

If you booked a Thomas Cook flight via a travel agent that is an ATOL holder and you received an ATOL Certificate as soon as you made payment, your booking is protected and the travel agent will be obliged to offer a refund.

If you’re not covered by ATOL, you may be protected if:

  1. You paid by Credit Card – as you may be able to make a claim under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. If this applies to you, simply contact your card provider and tell them that you want to make a section 75 claim. The price of the goods or service must be greater than £100, so there should be no issue with Thomas Cook claims.
  1. You paid by Debit Card – as you may be able to claim under the ‘chargeback scheme’. This is similar to a section 75 claim but is a voluntary scheme that all the debit card providers have signed up to. There is a time limit on chargeback claims – typically 120 days from the transaction processing date, or from when you expected to receive the goods/service if it’s being delivered.
  1. You have travel insurance – as you may be covered. You should check the terms of the policy immediately and if in doubt call your provider. I’ve seen a mixture of some providers covering consumers if an airline goes bust, some not.

“I booked a flight only and paid via the Thomas Cook Direct Debit scheme”

If you still have payments to make you should contact your bank and cancel the direct debit immediately. Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely that you will get any of your money back.

“I’m currently on a Thomas Cook holiday, will I be kicked out of the hotel?”

The answer to this should be no, as Thomas Cook will have paid for your hotel accommodation already. However, there have been reports online of hotels kicking Thomas Cook customers out. Of course, it may be that some hotels will take advantage of the Thomas Cook situation and claim that they have not been paid when really they have. If this happens to you, try to contact Thomas Cook in the first instance to obtain confirmation. If you cannot reach anyone, contact ATOL.

“How will I get home if Thomas Cook go into administration?”

If you booked a package holiday you will be protected by ATOL, meaning that the CAA will have an obligation to fly you home. If you incur additional costs, make sure you keep a record of receipts and submit a claim to the CAA, which will refund reasonable expenses.

“I booked my holiday in parts with various companies, will I be protected?”

It’s unlikely, unless your holiday was sold as a package and you received an ATOL Certificate confirming this. If you purchased the flight element of your trip with an ATOL holder this part may be protected.  

“I haven’t received my ATOL certificate?”

If you are entitled to ATOL protection, there is a legal obligation on the agent that sells you the package holiday/flight to provide you with a certificate. In the first instance contact them to ask for this, failing which you can contact ATOL direct.

Many people have been turning to Thomas Cook customer services asking about their ATOL certificate. Here’s the advice they have been giving:

“I have a flight delay/cancellation claim in process, what will happen?”

Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely that the administrators of Thomas Cook will make any pay outs.

“I have a current complaint about my Thomas Cook holiday being considered under the ABTA Arbitration scheme, what will happen?”

I understand that all ABTA claims will now go on hold/stop unless the administrators confirm they will honour compensation payments.

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