Thomas Cook travel company abruptly collapses, affecting some 600,000 travellers

Sep 23 2019, 7:24 am

Thousands of travellers are stranded around the world on Monday after British tour company Thomas Cook collapsed.

The collapse of the 178-year-old company resulted in the cancellation of all flights and vacations booked through the company and the closure of all retail stores.

Around 600,000 travellers are affected by the collapse of the tour operator, according to reports.

Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority confirmed the tour company had ceased trading, including all the UK companies in its group, which includes Thomas Cook Airlines.

“As a result, we are sorry to inform you that all holidays and flights provided by these companies have been cancelled and are no longer operating. All Thomas Cook’s retail shops have also closed,”  said the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

The British government and CAA are now working together to provide support to passengers due to fly back to the UK with the tour company between September 12 and October 6, 2019.

“Depending on your location, this will be either on CAA-operated flights or by using existing flights with other airlines,” reads a statement from the Civil Aviation Authority.

Virgin Atlantic has tweeted that they’re helping to bring Thomas Cook passengers and staff home from Cuba, Jamaica, and the United States. A US phone number was also set up for customers currently in LA, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and New York.

The CAA says those trying to depart from a UK airport with Thomas Cook Airlines should not travel to the airport as their flight will not be operating and they won’t be able to travel.

“This repatriation is hugely complex and we are working around the clock to support passengers,” said the travel authority.

Customers already abroad

Those currently abroad and planning to fly with Thomas Cook, CAA is providing new flights to return them to the UK.

However, these repatriation flights will only be operating for the next two weeks (until October 6, 2019). After this date, travellers will have to make their own travel arrangements.

Customers yet to travel out of the UK

CAA issued an apology to those with future holidays and flights booked with Thomas Cook.

“If you are booked on a Thomas Cook Airlines flight, please do not go to your UK airport, as your flight will not be operating. The Civil Aviation Authority’s repatriation programme will not include any outbound flights from the UK,” said CAA.

Moreover, if you choose to book a new flight with another airline out of the UK, you will not be eligible for a repatriation flight.

Following the news of the collapse, former Thomas Cook employees took to social media to share their stories about the travel company.

“Today I have had to leave my Thomas Cook family. I am not bitter as I have had an amazing 10 years,” wrote one former employee.

“I want to thank all at Thomas Cook for giving me the wonderful opportunities I have had.
I have travelled the world, met the most amazing people.”