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Thomas Cook Goes Bankrupt, Leaving 600k in the Cold

About a week ago, British travel group Thomas Cook Group “ceased trading” – including the airline of the same name.

Thomas Cook tried to secure funding, but the loan deals fell through on September 22. On the 23, the airline ceased operations. This left 600,000 passengers around the world stranded. More interestingly, since Thomas Cook wasn’t just the airline, this also affected people who had booked hotels, cruises, and more via the company.

The British Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has been working vehemently on a repatriation effort for Britons stranded abroad. According to the agency’s website set up to deal with the Thomas Cook airline bankruptcy, those who had planned to return to the UK between 23 September 2019 and 6 October 2019 will have the chance to come back on a replacement flight. It will be operated either by CAA or some other airline. CAA will also work to pay the hotels that went unpaid due to the collapse of Thomas Cook. Travelers can also expect to benefit from their ATOL insurance.

For those unfortunate enough to have experienced disrupted flights (including flight delays) due to the collapse of the company, it's basically impossible to claim flight compensation from Thomas Cook. The law - EC261, is essentially powerless once a company goes under. However, there may still be things you can do to recoup your money:

  • Those who bought tickets with credit cards can ask their companies file claims for services not rendered despite the bankruptcy filing.

  • Some traveler insurance products cover trip cancellation or interruption in case of bankruptcy – so check your policy if you have it!

  • Lastly, IATA settlement service between airlines and travel agents (known as the BSP, or Billing and Settlement Plan) might allow IATA to reimburse travel agents – it all depends on the local bankruptcy administration, so you better ask, just in case!

For more information, we advise you to check the CAA website set up to deal with the fallout of Thomas Cook’s collapse.

Thomas Cook was the oldest tour operator in the UK, having started in 1841. It’s also the biggest UK airline to go bankrupt since Monarch in 2017. All in all, Thomas Cook had a fleet of 100 planes before the collapse.