Thomas Cook – what’s happening?

Tour operator Thomas Cook is trying to get £200m for a rescue deal before next Friday. If it doesn’t secure this extra funding, it could go into administration.

Thomas Cook currently has over half a million people on holiday, over 150,000 of these are from the UK. Here’s what you need to know if you’re a Thomas Cook customer.

Q. I’m due to go on holiday with Thomas Cook. Can I cancel?

A. You can cancel but you will have to pay cancellation fees, unless Thomas Cook has gone bust by the time you cancel. Thomas Cook has some information on its website about how much the cancellation charges are.

They vary from 100% of the cost of the holiday if you’re due to travel within 14 days, to 50% of the cost if you cancel between 50 and 63 days from the start of your holiday, to £200/£250 per person (depending on whether it’s a short or long haul holiday) if you cancel at least seven weeks before you’re due to travel.

You might be worried that Thomas Cook is in danger of going into administration, but unless or until that happens, you can’t just ask for all your money back.

If you paid either the full holiday cost or the deposit by credit card, you can make a claim against the credit card company under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. But, again, you can only do this once a holiday company has gone bust, not because you think it will.

Similarly, travel insurance will normally only pay out if you cancel your holiday due to illness, or because of government advice not to travel to a specific region.

Q. Will my holiday with Thomas Cook still go ahead?

A. The honest answer is I don’t know. Thomas Cook has to secure £200 million of additional funding by next Friday. The company has been holding emergency talks.

Q. I’m on holiday with Thomas Cook – what should I do?

A. There’s not much you can do at the moment, without incurring additional expense. All you can do is to check for updates. Thomas Cook is limited in what it can say while it’s trying to secure this extra funding.

If Thomas Cook does go bust and you’re on a package holiday that’s ATOL protected, the government will organise return flights. But be prepared for disruption and delays because these flights to get you home will be in huge demand.

If you only booked a flight, that may not be covered. It all depends on who the flight is with (flights with Thomas Cook’s own airlines aren’t covered, for example). If you were given an ATOL certificate at the time you booked your flight, you’ll be protected and will be returned home if Thomas Cook goes bust while you’re away.

Q. I’ve booked a holiday with Thomas Cook. Will the holiday still go ahead if Thomas Cook goes bust?

A. No, I’m afraid it won’t, but you will get money you paid as part of your package holiday, refunded.

You won’t get a refund of any costs you’ve incurred that weren’t part of the booking. These could be anything from airport parking costs to the cost of a dog sitter. You can claim these from your travel insurance policy, if you have one.

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