No company is too big to fail, and after posting a £1.4 billion loss earlier in 2019, it was obvious that Thomas Cook was likely to collapse. But what now for thousands of holidaymakers abroad, or those who have already booked and paid for a holiday?
Basically the ATOL scheme should protect most people. The risk of loss is greatest for those who booked their own holiday, paid by debit card and perhaps booked just one part of the overall package via Thomas Cook, but the not the whole holiday deal.
Here’s the latest news and advice from various travel insurance specialist websites:
If you’ve booked a package holiday through Thomas Cook (or any other provider that has ceased trading) then you should be covered if it was protected by ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s Licence.)
If you are currently on holiday with Thomas Cook
If your holiday is ATOL protected, they should either make alternative flights available to help you get home, or give you a full refund.
If your Thomas Cook return flight is before or on Sunday 6 October, then the ATOL scheme will help you to get home.
If your return flight is after this date, you’ll have to arrange your return trip but you can claim for this through ATOL.
I’ve not yet travelled but paid Thomas Cook in advance, and in full
If you’ve booked your holiday but haven’t travelled yet, you can make a claim through the ATOL scheme for the cost of your package holiday.
Paid By Credit Card?
Under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act of 1974 if you buy anything on your credit card, including flights, section 75 gives you legal protection if things go wrong.
That is, as long as the amount bought on your credit card was between £100 and £30,000.
Section 75 includes the right to claim compensation from your credit card company when companies you have bought services from go bust.
Even if you only paid a small deposit on your card and the rest of the payment via a different means, you would still be protected under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act to make a claim.
To claim against your travel company going bust if you bought the tickets on your credit card, contact your credit card company directly.
If you have a Staysure travel insurance policy then the collapse of airlines is covered under our End Supplier Failure section which is included as standard in our Comprehensive Travel Insurance policies.
As part of the End Supplier Failure cover we provide, everybody who is named under the policy should be covered to claim up to £3,000 compensation.
If you booked your travel or holiday along with somebody who is not covered by a Staysure Comprehensive Travel Insurance policy, then you would not be able to claim for their share of compensation under your policy – even if you booked the holiday or flights.
To claim against the collapse of companies on your travel insurance policy, you will only be eligible to claim if you cannot claim compensation by any other means.
WHICH? ADVISE AGAINST PAYING HOTELS DEMANDING PAYMENT IN FULL
Good advice from Which on whether to pay your hotel, who are obviously out of pocket on all the holiday revenue – it is standard practice in the travel industry to pay hotels the year AFTER holidaymakers have visited the hotels. However, for all the sympathy you may have for a small hotel business, the advice from Which? is NOT TO PAY.
If you’re experiencing difficulties with your Atol-protected hotel, or your hotel is requesting payment from you, you can call the CAA call centre on +44 1753 330 330. Please note that it may take the CAA a few days to secure new payment arrangements. Do not make a payment to your hotel unless instructed otherwise by the CAA team.
If you are not Atol protected, you are not entitled to make a claim for out of pocket expenses and additional nights of hotel accommodation under the Atol scheme, but you may be able to claim from your travel insurer, bank or your credit card issuer.
INSURE AND GO
One of the big players in travel insurance, Insure and Go have updated their website with some brief notes;
What to do:
- Check the Civil Aviation Authority’s website as they may be able to offer you help.
- If you’re still in the UK and you haven’t travelled yet, the following rules apply:
- Where you can, you should try to get a full refund from your tour operator or travel agent. We’ll only consider non-refundable expenses on your travel insurance policy.
- If you want to rearrange your trip dates, and provided you’re not making a claim, we can transfer your policy to cover the new trip as long as it’s within three months of your original departure date, is for the same or no longer duration, and is to the same geographical area.
If you need to make a claim, you can do so by logging into your policy or by calling us on +44 (0)207 748 0061.
Bear in mind
- You’ll need to check your policy terms and conditions to see exactly what cover your policy provides and how much you can claim for, as different policies vary.
- We can only cover you for the scenarios above if you both booked your trip and bought your policy before the 22nd September 2019. If you bought your policy after this date, we won’t be able to cover you.
POST OFFICE TRAVEL INSURANCE
No advice on their website at the time of publication.
Just posted special advice page for travel insurance customers here.
CHURCHILL and DIRECT LINE
No info on their websites at this time.
M&S TRAVEL INSURANCE
Another big name in the UK travel cover market, M&S have updated their website this morning for customers;
If you have booked flights and accommodation separately
If you have only booked flights or accommodation with Thomas Cook, then you are unlikely to be ATOL-protected. You may be covered by your travel insurance provider. If you have an M&S travel insurance product, or paid using your M&S Credit or Debit Card please see details below:
M&S Travel Insurance customers who need assistance please call us 0800 051 4780, or +44 160 360 3783 from overseas.
M&S Premium Current Account customers who need assistance can contact us on 0800 051 2619 or +44 (0)160 360 3042.
M&S Premium Club customers who need assistance can contact us on 0800 051 2619 or +44 (0)160 360 3042.
If you booked using your M&S Credit Card you can download a claim form(PDF document)(opens in a new window) or call 0345 900 0900.
If you booked using your M&S Debit Card please call 0345 900 0900.
More M&S Travel advice here.