Passengers were left stranded across the world following the collapse of Thomas Cook. Thanks to the ATOL protection scheme, the United Kingdom’s Civil Aviation Authority is tasked with repatriating these passengers. Some of these passengers have been repatriated via a Malaysian Airlines Airbus A380.
When Thomas Cook ended operations early on Monday morning, around 150,000 Britons were suddenly left without their booked flight back to the United Kingdom. UK package holiday passengers pay a surcharge of £2.50 which goes towards Air Travel Organiser’s Licence protection. This fund has built up over time and goes to fund repatriations in such circumstances.
Malaysia to the rescue
As part of the Civil Aviation Authority’s repatriation efforts, one of Malaysia Airlines’ Airbus A380s has been drafted in. The Airbus A380 departed from Kuala Lumpur on the 22nd of September, bound for Manchester. Eagle-eyed readers may have spotted that Malaysia Airlines’ Airbus A380 was already flying to the United Kingdom before Thomas Cook announced bankruptcy.
Since Thomas Cook announced bankruptcy, Malaysia Airlines has been flying the Airbus A380 back and forth between Manchester and Mallorca. So far the aircraft has completed six return journeys to the island in order to repatriate stranded passengers. The longest flight so far took 2-hours and 21-minutes, while the shortest has taken just 2-hours and 7-minutes.
The Airbus A380 proves perfect for the task of repatriating passengers. Malaysia Airlines’ Airbus A380 seats just under 500 passengers. This means that with two rotations, the Airbus A380 is able to repatriate 1000 passengers per day.
Three class configuration
Thomas Cook’s aircraft predominately had an all-economy configuration, with some Airbus A330s having a premium economy cabin according to Seat Guru. However, the Airbus A380 operated by Malaysia Airlines has three cabins. Economy, Business, and First. These are divided into the following number of seats respectively, 420, 66, and 8.
As such, Simple Flying understands that some passengers have been seated in business class on their way back from their holidays. However, we have not heard of passengers being seated in the first-class area of the aircraft.
According to Business Traveller, the 66 business class seats are located on the upper deck of the A380. These seats become lie flatbeds, though there isn’t much time to sleep on a two-hour flight. The business class cabin has a 2-2-2 layout compared to the 3-4-3 economy layout on the lower deck, and 2-4-2 on the upper deck.
Were you repatriated from Palma De Mallorca onboard the Airbus A380? Did you get to sit in business class? Let us know your experience in the comments.