In the early hours of this morning, Thomas Cook declared Bankruptcy. As a result, a vast number of flights and holidays were cancelled. If you’re yet to take action you may be wondering what you can do. That all depends on what you have booked, as well as how you’ve booked it.
If you’ve booked a package holiday through Thomas Cook, then you likely have ATOL Protection. ATOL is short for Air Travel Organiser’s License. This typically applies when a flight and hotel have been purchased together from a travel agent.
Those with ATOL Protection already on vacation will be repatriated to the United Kingdom as part of Operation Matterhorn. However, those who are yet to start their vacation will have the money paid refunded. The scheme is funded by a levy of £2.50 taken with every eligible booking. If your holiday is ATOL protected you should have a certificate confirming this as part of your booking confirmation, which will look something like the following:
Unfortunately, some people are in a position where their holiday is not ATOL protected. This could be the case if flights have been purchased on their own, for example. However, if you have arranged travel insurance, you could have cover.
While not offered by all travel insurance providers and plans, some provide protection against bankruptcies. In the case of flights, this could mean that alternate flights are arranged, or the flight’s value is paid out to the insured. If you have travel insurance, it is definitely worth checking the wording of your policy.
Purchase card protection
If your flights were booked using a credit card, the chances are that you may be able to recoup the value of the flights. According to Money.com, legal protection exists called Section 75. According to Money.com, a claim can be launched for purchases between £100 and £30,000 where “you do not get what you have paid for”.
Money.com also talks about card chargebacks. Valid for credit, debit, and prepaid cards, the chargeback scheme allows people to recoup costs for a variety of reasons including “the company you buy from goes bust”.
If all else has failed, yet you still need to get home, you should reach out to other airlines directly. In such situations, unaffected airlines usually provide what are known as rescue fares. While a passenger will still need to buy a ticket, they will be offered a special low rate in order to get them home.
Earlier today Simple Flying spoke to British Airways who told us they were offering rescue fares to those not covered by Operation Matterhorn.
Simple Flying’s thoughts are with the stranded holidaymakers and staff of Thomas Cook at this difficult time.