After the shock collapse of travel giant Thomas Cook, 150,000 holiday makers found themselves stranded abroad, with over a million more left with disrupted travel plans. All holidays and flights were cancelled on the spot and customers with flights provided by the company were instructed not to go to the airport.
You may have read of the hundreds of family holidays, anniversary trips, weddings and other special travel plans left in ruins as customers across the country lost out when the company went into liquidation overnight. So, what rights do these people have? And what are the important steps to take to ensure a similar situation doesn’t happen to your future holiday plans?
Here, our Private Clients Manager, Emma Ragsdale, gives her advice.
“The law states that when booking a full package holiday abroad, customers are protected by ATOL should a travel company come into difficulties. In the case of Thomas Cook, the good news is that all customers with an ATOL protected future booking will be entitled to a full refund within the next two months. The CAA will begin these refunds once the repatriation mission to bring stranded customers home is in action. The programme of flights home will apply to customers abroad with Thomas Cook bookings until the 6th October.
“Each refund claim will be different dependent on the holiday and the level of cover in place. To claim a refund, you must fill out a CAA claims form here: https://www.caa.co.uk/Completing-a-claim-form.aspx.
“Whilst it is good news that people will be able to get their money back, it sadly does not replace the highly-anticipated and special holidays they have booked. If you are one of the unlucky customers with cancelled plans, keep an eye out online for last-minute deals from rivalling companies; some of which are offering special packages for people affected.
“People may not be aware that ATOL protection only applies to package holidays and does not cover where only flights have been booked meaning they may be unable to claim a refund. The same applies if you have booked your hotel separately rather than a package deal, so ensure to thoroughly check your booking paperwork to see if you were sent an ATOL certificate.
“When purchasing a holiday, it is essential to know what kind of cover is included should the worst happen. Whether it is flights, accommodation or a full package trip – always check the ATOL protection and ensure you have a copy of the certificate if included.”
For more information about travel insurance, or any further advice about your travel plans and the cover you have in place, contact our Private Client experts on email@example.com.