Here's what you need to know if you've booked a holiday with Thomas Cook after its collapse

Thomas Cook in Cascades Shopping Centre in Portsmouth on September 23 as the company went bust. Picture: Hope Mckellar
Thomas Cook in Cascades Shopping Centre in Portsmouth on September 23 as the company went bust. Picture: Hope Mckellar
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The 178-year-old Thomas Cook has collapsed into compulsory liquidation after bids to save the company failed.

The tour operator has ceased operating with immediate effect and thousands of jobs with the company are now at risk. 

Thomas Cook has ceased trading after 178 years. Picture: Tim Goode/PA Wire

Thomas Cook has ceased trading after 178 years. Picture: Tim Goode/PA Wire

Here are some of the key questions for customers and staff: 

How many people are affected?

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said there are currently more than 150,000 British customers on Thomas Cook holidays abroad - nearly twice the number that were repatriated after the collapse of Monarch in 2017. An estimated million more have lost their future bookings.

What will happen to customers already on holiday?

The CAA said the Government has asked it to launch a repatriation programme over the next two weeks, starting on Monday and running to Sunday 6 October.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said all customers currently abroad with Thomas Cook who are booked to return to the UK over the next two weeks will be brought home as close as possible to their booked return date.

Thomas Cook package holiday customers will also see the cost of their accommodation covered by the Government, through the Air Travel Trust Fund or Atol scheme.

Customers currently overseas should not travel to the airport until their flight back to the UK has been confirmed on the dedicated website thomascook.caa.co.uk.

READ MORE: Thomas Cook collapses leaving 150,000 holidaymakers stranded

What about the Thomas Cook stores? 

The travel agent has shops in: 

- High Street, Cosham

- Cascades Shopping Centre, Portsmouth 

- Palmerston Road, Southsea

- High Street, Gosport

- West Street, Fareham

- Wellington Way, Waterlooville

The News sent a reporter down to the shop in Cosham and it was closed this morning following the collapse of Thomas Cook. 

How have people reacted? 

Jean Forfar, from Portsmouth, went past the firm's closed Cosham shop today.

Jean, from Hilsea, said she felt sorry for ‘all the kids who won’t get a holiday.’ 

She added: ‘Families spend all year looking forward to their holiday and then this happens.’

Jean thinks the government is right to support holiday makers left stranded by the travel company’s collapse.

She said: ‘I’m for it - they need our help.’

What about those who have bookings and are yet to travel?

All bookings have been cancelled and, according to the CAA, Thomas Cook customers in the UK who have yet to travel should not go to the airport as all flights leaving the UK have been grounded.

Who will pay for this?

When Monarch Airlines went bust in October 2017, the Government spent £60 million hiring planes to get passengers home. A figure has not been given but bringing back Thomas Cook passengers will likely cost more than this.

What is the Atol scheme?

Atol provides protection to holidaymakers when travel firms collapse.

What type of bookings are protected?

The scheme protects most trips booked as a package, such as flights and accommodation, or flights and car hire. It also applies to some flight-only bookings, particularly when the tickets are not received immediately.

What protection does it offer?

If a business collapses while you are on holiday, the scheme will make sure you can finish your holiday and return home.

Customers who have not yet left home will be given a refund or replacement holiday.

READ MORE: Live updates as Thomas Cook goes bust 

What can I do if my trip is not Atol protected?

Under normal circumstances, passengers who are not ATOL protected would be asked to find, and pay for, their own way home.

Holidaymakers can usually apply to their credit or debit card provider to be reimbursed. Not all travel insurance policies provide coverage when a firm collapses.

But in this case, the DfT said everyone on a Thomas Cook holiday with a return flight to the UK within the two weeks will be brought home free of charge, whether they are Atol protected or not and regardless of their nationality.

What will happen to Thomas Cook shops?

Thomas Cook has around 600 stores on UK high streets which are expected to close. Thomas Cook Group employs around 21,000 people in 16 countries.

What about the airlines?

All flights have been cancelled, according to the CAA. Those based in the UK, Scandinavia and the Balearics carry the group's name, while their German sister company is named Condor.

How can holidaymakers find out more about the situation?

A website has been set up at thomascook.caa.co.uk and the helpline number for people in the UK is 0300 303 2800. The number from abroad is +44 1753 330 330.