As you might have seen in the news this past couple of weeks, travel agent Thomas Cook suddenly collapsed leaving hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers in jeopardy and over 2,500 staff without a job.
After the UK government flew around 150,000 people home in what was described as the “largest peacetime repatriation” in history, costing around £600m, customers are now able to go online and fill in a claim form for a possible refund.
Over the last 2 weeks, the UK Government has subsidised more than 740 flights using 150 aircraft from 50 airlines around the world. The majority of people were able to fly on their original travel date to cause as little disruption or distress to holidaymakers as possible, with the final flight touching down at Manchester Airport on Monday 14 October.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has laid praise on the staff and operators and have judged the airlift as a success – however, the next phase for customers has not gone as smoothly with the refund process now beginning.
The CAA says around 360,000 customers are eligible for a refund and estimate it could take up to 60 days for all the refunds to be made.
There were 60,000 claims made on day one of the website being online and led to problems as customers had to fill in the form numerous times after receiving an error message.
The CAA blamed “unprecedented demand” and has now confirmed the problems are now resolved and the system is running smoothly, however, customers are urged to make the claim as soon as possible as the 60-day time frame begins once the form has been filled out.
Customers who paid for a package holiday with Thomas Cook will be entitled to a full refund as they are covered by the Air Travel Organiser’s License Scheme (ATOL).
The CAA has said any customers who paid by Direct Debit will have already received a refund by Monday 14 October.
How to make a claim
The CAA has set up a dedicated website at thomascook.caa.co.uk/refunds to process the claims.
PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING HEADLINE ON THEIR WEBSITE;
Follow the instructions on the website and read the information provided carefully as there are different types of claims for different types of bookings.
The CAA has stressed that only the lead passenger can make a claim so please don’t fill in a form for each passenger on your booking.
If you need more help or advice or are unable to fill in the form online there is a dedicated call centre who can be contacted on;
Phoning from the UK (reduced rate): 0300 303 2800
Phoning from overseas: +44 1753 330 330
What’s in a name?
The following information is taken from the thomascook.caa.co.uk/refunds/ website;
Thomas Cook owned and operated a number of different travel companies. The ATOL numbers for these were:
Thomas Cook Retail Ltd – ATOL 0020
Thomas Cook Tour Operations Ltd – ATOL 1179
TCCT Retail Ltd – ATOL 10585
Future Travel Ltd, trading as Freedom Personal Travel Advisors – ATOL 5704
Freedom Travel – ATOL 6042
Also, it is important to know that if your holiday was ATOL protected by Freedom Travel Group you DO NOT need to make a claim as Hays Travel has been appointed by ATOL to take over all protected bookings.
This means you will be contacted by your travel agent to organise a replacement holiday or give advice on how to make a claim if a replacement is not possible.
Feeling the pinch?
If you’ve been away for the summer and are now feeling the effects on your finances, take a look at our handy blog we wrote last month “Overspent in the Summer”