The collapse of Thomas Cook a few weeks ago left 150,000 British holidaymakers away from home, with hundreds of thousands of others losing the holidays they booked to take later.
The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is in the process of bringing all UK travellers home via Operation Matterhorn. But the focus is now shifting to compensation as hundreds of thousands of customers work out how to get their money back. Thomas Cook’s failure presents the biggest test for the Air Travel Organiser’s Licence scheme (Atol), which is the financial protection scheme funded by the travel industry, and administered by the CAA.
All customers who have booked a holiday will get their money back via the Atol guarantee but the waiting period for them will be significantly longer – 60 days or more. Others who have booked flight-only deals will have to recourse to their bank or credit card provider.
The national fraud reporting service is warning people to be wary of scammers pretending to act on behalf of Thomas Cook. There have been several reports of people across the country receiving calls, texts and social media messages that ask for your details. In a statement, it said: “We would urge people….not to automatically click on the links in unexpected emails. Legitimate organisations will never contact you out of the blue and ask for your Pin, card details, or full banking passwords. If you get a call or message asking for these, it’s a scam.”
If the flights and the hotel were booked separately, that means that the holiday is not Atol protected, so any Thomas Cook accommodation should still be covered by the Association of British Travel Agents’ financial protection scheme. It’s emergency helpline is 0330 135 9665.