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September 23, 2019

Thomas Cook Collapses Overnight and All Flights Have Been Canceled


Thomas Cook, a British, fully integrated travel company and tour operator headquartered in Manchester, England that serves leisure destinations worldwide, has collapsed as of Sunday, September 22 after talks on a financial rescue failed. The 178-year-old company has claimed bankruptcy and all flights have been canceled, stranding over 600,000 passengers and putting over 21,000 jobs at risk. The countries where the largest numbers of tourists are stranded include: Spain, Turkey, Tunisia, and Greece.

The airline that served over 19 million customers last year and is famous for offering low-cost package holidays to over 60 destinations worldwide used to be credited with changing the global travel landscape. However, with over a 1.4-billion-pound loss (USD $1.7 billion), the company was unable to support current customers and the British government will launch one of the largest peacetime repatriation of UK nationals to bring back stranded travelers and support laid-off workers. 

Travelers who booked a Thomas Cook package should have received an ATOL Certificate, providing them financial protection against new travel arrangements, while travelers who have only booked a hotel and no package will not be protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and will be forced to make new travel arrangements. Travelers who have not yet departed can ask for a refund for their package, however, their flight remains canceled.

Many airlines have split or have been bought by larger companies during the last few months of financial negotiations. Condor, a German airline owned by Thomas Cook, will be continuing its flight operations later in the year and may remain as an independent company or be bought out by other airlines. Thomas Cook India has separated business and will not be affected by the collapse of the British brand, as they are currently owned by Canada’s Fairfax Financial Holdings. A few airlines have also claimed that they will help bring passengers home such as Virgin Atlantic and many British railway companies will refund any pre-booked tickets to Gatwick or Luton airports for affected travelers.



Here are a few tips to keep in mind, if you are a stranded passenger or were planning to travel in conjunction with Thomas Cook Airlines:

  • Check in with your travel agent to confirm that your flight has not been canceled prior to arriving at the airport, if you have yet to travel as almost all flights will remain canceled.
  • The process of repatriating customers back home will continue till October 6, after which travelers will need to book their own flights home.
  • Passengers who are not ATOL protected may be excused from paying for new travel expenses and should check the designated online portal for more information about travel arrangements. 
  • Contact the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) with any questions regarding travel arrangements, if you are a stranded passenger.
  • Monitor the news and media outlets for new information regarding this issue for the latest updates

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