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    Thomas Cook: What happens should Customers do?

    But what does it mean for holidaymakers now the operator has gone under?

    The collapse has triggered the biggest-ever peacetime repatriation of British citizens.

    With an estimated 150,000 holidaymakers stranded abroad, the Civil Aviation Authority has launched a taxpayer-funded airlift to bring them home.

    Back in October 2017 when Monarch went bust, £60m of public money was used to get passengers back to the UK.

    What will happen if I’m already overseas?

    That depends on your booking.

    If your holiday is ATOL protected, you will be able to finish your trip and be repatriated home.

    Package holidays that include flights are covered by this, as well as some flight-only bookings.

    The CAA says you should not travel to the airport until your flight has been confirmed on a dedicated website: thomascook.caa.co.uk

    What is ATOL?

    Air Travel Organiser’s Licence is a financial protection scheme run by the Civil Aviation Authority. It protects most air package holidays sold by UK-based travel businesses.

    If a travel business with ATOL ceases trading, the scheme would support consumers currently abroad and provide financial reimbursement for the cost of replacing parts of an ATOL protected package.

    The scheme is funded by each ATOL holder paying a small fee for each traveller, which is held in a fund managed by the Air Travel Trust. This fund is used to refund, repatriate or reimburse travellers.

    How do I know if my holiday was ATOL protected?

    The best way to check is to look for an ATOL certificate, which you should have received when you booked. This should tell you what to do if your travel business collapses. The number to call with any problems is +44 (0) 333 103 6350.

    What if my package holiday did not include a flight?

    You could be ABTA protected instead. Thomas Cook says on its customer care Twitter that ABTA and the CAA (who manage the ATOL scheme) would arrange for these customers to be repatriated.

    ABTA, formerly known as the Association of British Travel Agents, is designed to cover holidays bought in the UK that don’t include flights, for example, coach, rail or cruise holidays.

    ABTA protection means that if your travel company went out of business, you would be entitled to a refund which includes hotel costs. If you are abroad, your transport home would be covered.

    Will insurance help?

    Only if it specifically included failure cover and not all of them do. Even if your policy does have this, it is unlikely to pay out if you’re covered by ABTA or ATOL.

    If you took out a policy including failure cover in the past few days, when it was clear that Thomas Cook was financially struggling, that policy might not help you now. Hopefully you checked this with the insurance provider before buying it.

    What if I paid with a bank card?

    If you paid more than £100 to Thomas Cook, you could be protected under the Consumer Credit Act. It means the card company can be liable if something goes wrong. It’s more complicated if you paid for your holiday through a travel agent.

    What if I booked but haven’t started my holiday yet?

    ATOL protection means that you would get a refund or, in some cases, a replacement holiday.

    What if a previous booking with Thomas Cook was delayed and I was waiting for compensation?

    You’re likely to be at the back of a long line of creditors. Your chances aren’t great.

    What if I need more information?

    The Civil Aviation Authority has launched a special website, thomascook.caa.co.uk, where affected customers can find details and information on repatriation flights, as well as advice on accommodation for both ATOL and non-ATOL customers.

    There is also a 24-hour helpline set up by the CAA for all customers: 0300 303 2800 from the UK and Ireland and +44 1753 330 330 from overseas.

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