Thomas Cook goes bust: 165,000 customers face a FORTNIGHT waiting to be brought home

Thomas Cook collapsed this morning leaving more than 160,000 Britons stranded abroad and a million more customers with cancelled holidays. 

21,000 staff face an uncertain future after losing their jobs including 9,000 in the UK as the world’s oldest and most famous travel operator officially went bust at 2am.

Government ministers will today launch Britain’s biggest peacetime repatriation effort, with a fleet of 40 Jumbo jets on standby to start flying around 160,000 Britons home from more than 50 destinations over the coming fortnight. 

Holidaymakers with package breaks and flights booked have been told to stay away from the 20-plus UK airports Thomas Cook fly from after all its planes were grounded today. 

Thomas Cook holidaymakers stuck in resorts around the world are today waiting for news about how and when they will get home. 

Last-minute talks to try and rescue the ailing firm collapsed last night, and the Civil Aviation Authority announced the end for the 178-year-old company in the early hours of this morning.

Boris Johnson today said that the Government had been asked to bail-out the business with £150million of taxpayers’ money but they had refused.

He said: ‘Clearly that’s a lot of taxpayers’ money and sets up, as people will appreciate, a moral hazard in the case of future such commercial difficulties that companies face.’      

Mr Johnson told reporters on board the RAF Voyager travelling to New York for the United Nations General Assembly he added: ‘It’s a very difficult situation and obviously our thoughts are very much with the customers with Thomas Cook, the holiday makers, who may now face difficulties getting home. One way or the other the state will have to step in quite rightly to help stranded holidaymakers.’ 

Charter company Titan Airways, based are Stansted, are understood to carrying out a large number of the repatriation flights while British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Easyjet, Tui, Jet2 and Malaysia Airlines also approached to step in.

Because the Civil Aviation Authority knew Thomas Cook’s collapse was likely planes are either on their way to – or already at destinations in Bulgaria, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey and the United States.

Thomas Cook check in desks at Gatwick Airport are closed today after the travel firm collapse

Passengers wait for news at the Thomas Cook check-in at Mallorca Airport this morning as 40 planes are being sent around the world to bring people home

Passengers wait for news at the Thomas Cook check-in at Mallorca Airport this morning as 40 planes are being sent around the world to bring people home

Staff at Thomas Cook's Peterborough HQ leave with their belongings this morning with 9,000 UK workers losing their jobs

Staff at Thomas Cook’s Peterborough HQ leave with their belongings this morning with 9,000 UK workers losing their jobs

Signage at Bristol Airport telling customers that Thomas Cook has gone to the wall and all flights and holidays are cancelled

Signage at Bristol Airport telling customers that Thomas Cook has gone to the wall and all flights and holidays are cancelled

Thomas Cook's demise could not be announced until all its planes were back on the ground in the UK

Thomas Cook’s demise could not be announced until all its planes were back on the ground in the UK

Grounded airplanes with the Thomas Cook livery are seen at Manchester Airport this morning

Grounded airplanes with the Thomas Cook livery are seen at Manchester Airport this morning 

Thomas Cook collapse: Where to get the information you need

The Civil Aviation Authority has published a help page for Thomas Cook customers: CLICK HERE 

They advise passengers not currently on holiday not to travel to airports as all flights are cancelled. For information CLICK HERE

They have also issued specific details for customers currently abroad: CLICK HERE

For information about managing problems with hotels and accommodation, CLICK HERE 

As Britain’s oldest travel company went bust and a fleet of empty planes is heading out to rescue Thomas Cook passengers, it has emerged:    

  • 16,000 people are due to fly back on more than 40 taxpayer-funded rescue planes today; 
  • Some may not fly home to the airport they chose but will be returned back via bus or taxi;
  • 21,000 people have lost their jobs today – including 9,000 of the business’ Uk staff
  • Package holidays are covered by ATOL scheme and will be refunded over the coming months – but flight-only passengers may not get cash back;  

Mike Johnston’s elderly parents arrived in Florida on a Thomas Cook flight on Thursday.

Back in the UK he is ‘worried sick’ they will not be able to get home.

He tweeted: ‘My elderly parents arrived in Florida yesterday on your flight. What happens to them of you go under while they are out there??? The booked flight only. They are worried sick and so am I….!!!’

Kirsty Devlin has boarded one of the first chartered flights back to the UK.

She was stuck at New York’s JFK airport overnight after she and her fellow passengers heard Thomas Cook had gone bust.

She tweeted: ‘We’re all stuck in JFK and our luggage is in the plane. No communication or anything.

So many kind people that represent your business out of work. They’re really the biggest losers in this.’

An hour later she said the British consulate had ‘saved her bacon’ and she was boarding a flight home to Manchester at around 7am.

Lewis had a Thomas Cook honeymoon booked to the Maldives for him and his new wife in January.

After paying £7,000 for Emirates flights and an exclusive, luxury water bungalow, he is now faced with a compensation and re-booking process that could take months.

He told MailOnline: ‘We booked the last hotel to the Maldives for an on the water bungalow for £7,000. We’ll now miss out on this offer and won’t be able to rebook.

‘Due to the sheer amount of email, phone calls and requests, I feel we will be waiting at least 2 months. Absolute madness!’

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said dozens of charter planes, from as far afield as Malaysia, had been hired to fly customers home free of charge 

The Civil Aviation Authority, who are in charge of the biggest repatriation of British citizens since the Second World War said today: ‘All Thomas Cook bookings, including flights and holidays, have now been cancelled.

‘There are currently more than 150,000 Thomas Cook customers abroad. We know that a company with such long-standing history ceasing trading will be very distressing for its customers and employees and our thoughts are with everyone affected by this news.’

Thomas Cook’s website was taken down shortly after 2am, and replaced with a message from the Official Receiver. 

However a page set up by the CAA to provide information to Thomas Cook customers immediately collapsed under the weight of traffic it was receiving.

Glasgow Airport yesterday where Thomas Cook passengers are checking in before flying on holiday

Glasgow Airport yesterday where Thomas Cook passengers are checking in before flying on holiday

Grounded: The Thomas Cook website was replaced with a message from the Official Receiver this morning

Grounded: The Thomas Cook website was replaced with a message from the Official Receiver this morning

However a link to the Civil Aviation Authority's website crashed, leaving travellers without key information

However a link to the Civil Aviation Authority’s website crashed, leaving travellers without key information

Yesterday, executives at Thomas Cook were said to have begged lenders to slash demands for another £200 million.

Thomas Cook CEO Dr Peter Fankhauser said the tour operator’s collapse was a ‘matter of profound regret’ as he apologised to the company’s ‘millions of customers, and thousands of employees’.

Big four accountancy firm KPMG was expected to be drafted in to handle the administration or liquidation of the company’s UK tour operating division. The Official Receiver will play a part in any insolvency process.

Meanwhile AlixPartners, a consulting firm, was expected to handle insolvency of the group’s airlines.

As the uncertainty grew yesterday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab poured cold water on the prospect of a Government bailout.

But he signalled that officials were ready to give the green light to an unprecedented repatriation operation involving an emergency coalition of Europe’s top airlines.

It came as:

  • Britons on a Thomas Cook holiday in Tunisia said they were ‘held hostage’ by a hotel that feared it would not be paid by the firm; 
  • The company faced criticism for continuing to sell holiday packages, and advertising more than 270 job vacancies up to the last minute of trading; 
  • Customers warned of ‘life-threatening’ problems if trapped abroad without vital medication, while others despaired as their dream foreign weddings looked doomed;
  • Company chief executive Peter Fankhauser – who has been paid £8.3 million since taking over the firm in 2014 – told staff he would not let the company ‘fall over without a fight’;
  • Ministers faced demands from unions to step in and bail out the company. 

Are you affected by Thomas Cook’s collapse?

If you are stranded abroad and have a story to tell, we want to hear from you. Maybe you have concerns about how you will get home, or perhaps the holiday must go on and you are determined to make the most of it. Let us know – email tips@dailymail.com

About 165,000 Thomas Cook customers are now stranded abroad, while thousands more who have upcoming holidays have had plans ruined.

Whitehall sources warned last night that the repatriation plan would be far more ‘bumpy’ than rescuing the 84,000 customers stranded when Monarch Airlines went bust almost two years ago.

But Mr Raab promised none of the Thomas Cook customers currently on holiday would be left stranded. 

A rescue plan, codenamed Operation Matterhorn by The Department for Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority, has worked on a contingency for weeks and readied as many as 40 jumbo jets. 

But these efforts are already being hampered by the lack of available planes due to the grounding of all Boeing 737 Max aircraft following a crash in Ethiopia in March.

Another problem is that Thomas Cook passengers are spread between 50 and 60 countries all over the world. 

Retired teaching assistant Pat Fleming, 72 (pictured with her husband Dennis), said she visited a Thomas Cook travel agency on Saturday looking to cancel her trip after reading about the company’s financial problems

Retired teaching assistant Pat Fleming, 72 (pictured with her husband Dennis), said she visited a Thomas Cook travel agency on Saturday looking to cancel her trip after reading about the company’s financial problems

Passengers flying from Antalya, Turkey, to Glasgow were relieved to have boarded one of Thomas Cook's last ever flights on Friday. But when a fault with the plane prevented it from taking off, they were stranded at the airport overnight

Passengers flying from Antalya, Turkey, to Glasgow were relieved to have boarded one of Thomas Cook’s last ever flights on Friday. But when a fault with the plane prevented it from taking off, they were stranded at the airport overnight

These tired travellers were seen slumped on suitcases, waiting to see if their flight would be resumed before Thomas Cook's collapse - which would leave them stuck

These tired travellers were seen slumped on suitcases, waiting to see if their flight would be resumed before Thomas Cook’s collapse – which would leave them stuck 

A notice posted at Manchester Airport just after midnight showed a Thomas Cook plane had been impounded 'until airport charges have been paid'

A notice posted at Manchester Airport just after midnight showed a Thomas Cook plane had been impounded ‘until airport charges have been paid’

The CAA statement said: ‘Due to the unprecedented number of UK customers currently overseas who are affected by the situation, the Civil Aviation Authority has secured a fleet of aircraft from around the world to bring passengers back to the UK with return flights.

‘Passengers in a small number of destinations may return on alternative commercial flights, rather than directly through the Civil Aviation Authority’s flying programme. Details and advice for these passengers are available on the dedicated website.

‘Due to the significant scale of the situation, some disruption is inevitable, but the Civil Aviation Authority will endeavour to get people home as close as possible to their planned dates. This will apply to both Atol protected passengers and those who are not protected. 

‘Customers currently overseas should not travel to the airport until their flight back to the UK has been confirmed on the dedicated website.

‘Thomas Cook customers in the UK yet to travel should not go to the airport as all flights leaving the UK have been cancelled.’

Richard Moriarty, chief executive of the CAA, said it had launched ‘what is effectively one of the UK’s largest airlines’ in order to repatriate British holidaymakers.

Thomas Cook insisted that their flights were running as normal yesterday and customers should not abandon their travel plans

Thomas Cook insisted that their flights were running as normal yesterday and customers should not abandon their travel plans

Check-in at Thomas Cook at Gatwick showed people queuing for flights without knowing how they might return

Check-in at Thomas Cook at Gatwick showed people queuing for flights without knowing how they might return

He said: ‘News of Thomas Cook’s collapse is deeply saddening for the company’s employees and customers, and we appreciate that more than 150,000 people currently abroad will be anxious about how they will now return to the UK.

‘The government has asked us to support Thomas Cook customers on what is the UK’s largest ever peacetime repatriation.

‘We have launched, at very short notice, what is effectively one of the UK’s largest airlines, involving a fleet of aircraft secured from around the world. The nature and scale of the operation means that unfortunately some disruption will be inevitable. We ask customers to bear with us as we work around the clock to bring them home.

‘We urge anyone affected by this news to check our dedicated website, thomascook.caa.co.uk, for advice and information.’

Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the TSSA union that represents the transport and travel sectors, said it ‘made no sense’ for the Government not to bail out the company.

Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite the Union, which represents 3,000 Thomas Cook cabin crew and engineers, also accused the Government of leaving workers and customers ‘high and dry’.

But Mr Raab said ministers did not step in to save flailing firms unless there was ‘a good strategic national interest’. He did promise that the Government would step in to repatriate every customer, including those not covered by the official Atol protection scheme for package holidays.

Thomas Cook had previously said those who booked package holidays were fully protected by the industry’s Atol scheme – both now and for future trips.

But about half of passengers currently abroad do not have this protection because they booked Thomas Cook flights only.

After the collapse was announced, Dr Fankhauser said he and his team had worked ‘exhaustively’ to try and save the firm.

‘We have worked exhaustively in the past few days to resolve the outstanding issues on an agreement to secure Thomas Cook’s future for its employees, customers and suppliers,’ he said.       

Thomas Cook’s 178 years of history 

Thomas Cook is Britain’s oldest tour operator and viewed as the inventor of the modern package holiday.

Named after its founder, a Victorian cabinet maker, the firm was 178 years old.

Cook’s first trip, on July 5, 1841, involved chartering a train to take 500 Temperance supporters 12 miles from Leicester to a meeting in Loughborough.

Victorian cabinet maker Thomas Cook (pictured) founded the holiday firm in 1841

Victorian cabinet maker Thomas Cook (pictured) founded the holiday firm in 1841

A vintage advertising poster for Thomas Cook which was founded in 1841

A vintage advertising poster for Thomas Cook which was founded in 1841

A pair of vintage advertising posters for Thomas Cook, offering holidays in Britain and abroad

Cook, a supporter of the movement which campaigned against alcohol, charged travellers a shilling per head.

His idea to run tours had come almost a month earlier when he was walking from his home in Market Harborough to Leicester for a Temperance meeting.

Cook later recalled: ‘The thought suddenly flashed across my mind as to the practicability of employing the great powers of railways and locomotion for the furtherance of this social reform.’

His early trips involved rail journeys in the Midlands for local temperance societies and Sunday schools.

Thomas Cook's World Ticket Office in Jerusalem, offering trips to Palestine

Thomas Cook’s World Ticket Office in Jerusalem, offering trips to Palestine 

Commercial tours began in 1845, with a trip to Liverpool, and expanded to organising transport from Yorkshire and the Midlands to the Great Exhibition of 1851 at Crystal Palace.

The visionary businessman went international in 1855, organising trips to Europe and then North America, along with the launch of a ‘circular note’ – a precursor to traveller’s cheques – which could be cashed for local currency.

In Egypt, a fleet of steam ships were launched to take tourists along the Nile, and also used to convey British troops as part of attempts to break the siege of Khartoum, in Sudan, in 1884-85.

An advertisement for 'Cook's Nile Service', a cruise on the Express Steamer 'MS Hatasoo' run by Thomas Cook & Son Ltd, circa 1900

An advertisement for ‘Cook’s Nile Service’, a cruise on the Express Steamer ‘MS Hatasoo’ run by Thomas Cook & Son Ltd, circa 1900

After the deaths of Thomas and his son John Cook in the 1890s, business continued to boom when the firm was inherited by John’s sons Frank, Ernest and Bert.

One new hit was winter sports holidays, plus tours by motor car and commercial air travel.

The Cook family sold the firm to the Belgian owners of the Orient Express in 1928.

During World War Two, the company was requisitioned by the British government, then sold jointly to the UK’s four main railway companies, before becoming part of nationalised British Railways.

A poster promotes a trip along the Nile, accompanied by an image of a bust of Queen Nefertiti, 1930

This 1929 poster romotes travel to the Continent for winter sports destinations

A poster from 1930 (left) offers a Thomas Cook steamer ride along the Nile while another advert from 1929 (right) promotes a winter sports trip to the Continent 

A centenary event for 'Cook's first Swiss tour' is held in London in 1963. The 178-year-old company is now at risk of going into administration

A centenary event for ‘Cook’s first Swiss tour’ is held in London in 1963. The 178-year-old company is now at risk of going into administration 

Thomas Cook was at the forefront of the post-war overseas holiday boom but still also provided breaks within the UK, including at a holiday camp in Prestatyn, North Wales.

It returned to private ownership in 1972, initially purchased by Midland Bank, hotels group Trust House Forte and the AA, then becoming wholly owned by Midland.

The chain rapidly expanded its high street travel agencies and bought up smaller rivals.

Thomas Cook temporarily passed into German hands in the 1990s before merging with UK firm Carlson Leisure Group in 1999, then returning to German ownership in 2001. It was floated on the stock exchange in 2007. 

‘We’ve told the children not to worry… unless we’re still here in December!’ GLEN KEOGH speaks to Thomas Cook customers facing travel chaos in Ibiza 

By GLEN KEOGH FOR THE DAILY MAIL

Thomas Cook customers who face being stranded abroad have slammed the travel company for masking the extent of its problems.

Worried Britons who flew to Ibiza on Thomas Cook package holidays yesterday said staff carried on as normal despite the likelihood of the 178-year-old firm going bust.

It comes as dozens of British holidaymakers were ‘held hostage’ by guards at a hotel in Tunisia amid fears it would not be paid by the firm if it went bankrupt.

The growing uncertainty around the company’s future had pensioners worrying they would be thrown out of their Ibiza hotels and others fearing they would be unable to return home to work and family commitments.

Jacqui and Steve Butler (pictured) from Stoke-on-Trent arrived in Ibiza yesterday morning. The couple left their children, aged 24 and 22, back in England. Postman Mr Butler, 47, joked: ‘I’ve told the kids if we are not back by December then they can get worried’

Jacqui and Steve Butler (pictured) from Stoke-on-Trent arrived in Ibiza yesterday morning. The couple left their children, aged 24 and 22, back in England. Postman Mr Butler, 47, joked: ‘I’ve told the kids if we are not back by December then they can get worried’

But despite the unease, many tourists spoken to by the Daily Mail yesterday vowed to continue enjoying their holiday.

Jacqui and Steve Butler from Stoke-on-Trent arrived in Ibiza yesterday morning.

The couple left their children, aged 24 and 22, back in England. Postman Mr Butler, 47, joked: ‘I’ve told the kids if we are not back by December then they can get worried.’

Retired teaching assistant Pat Fleming, 72, said she visited a Thomas Cook travel agency on Saturday looking to cancel her trip after reading about the company’s financial problems. ‘I wanted to cancel because I was frightened thinking I wouldn’t be able to get back to England or the holiday would be ruined. But they told me to just act like normal. It seemed strange after I had read they might ground flights. I am worried about not getting home. The travel agent said don’t take any notice of it. They told us to carry on as normal.’

Because the company is covered by Atol protection, package holiday tourists already abroad have been assured that plans will be put in place to bring them home.

A bride-to-be is ‘numb’ with worry as Thomas Cook’s woes threaten her £50,000 wedding. Katy Williams (pictured with fiance Peter Whyman) fears the ceremony in Ayia Napa could end ‘in tatters’ if the chain goes bust

A bride-to-be is ‘numb’ with worry as Thomas Cook’s woes threaten her £50,000 wedding. Katy Williams (pictured with fiance Peter Whyman) fears the ceremony in Ayia Napa could end ‘in tatters’ if the chain goes bust

Barbara Soar, 70, from Barnsley, also bemoaned the operator’s lack of communication with affected passengers.

‘We have not seen a Thomas Cook rep, not even once,’ she said. ‘We haven’t got a clue what’s going on. We don’t know what’s happening. We would expect them to be helping us but I imagine they’ve jumped on the plane and gone home themselves.

‘It’s a real shame about Thomas Cook. The very first holiday I had in 1973 was a package with Thomas Cook – it’s a shame as they have been going so long.’

Despite fears over return trips to Britain, the overwhelming feeling on the party island was to continue enjoying the sun, sea and sangria until the last possible moment.

Nursery assistant Georgina Humphries and four friends arrived in Ibiza from their homes in Stoke-on-Trent yesterday for a three-day trip. The 21-year-old said: ‘We are not too fussed. I’m sure we’ll get back, one way or another. I don’t mind if I stay – if I’ve got to stay, it’s happy days really!

‘We were reading about it before we travelled but it didn’t put us off. We aren’t going to let it spoil our holiday.’

In Tunisia, a group of 30 Britons were told to hand over thousands of pounds on Saturday, despite having already paid Thomas Cook for their hotel stay. Guards were stationed at the locked gates of Les Orangers, in the resort town of Hammamet, as staff insisted the customers needed to pay again in order to leave.

Sophie Rees, 24, from Swansea, said: ‘We did not pay them. We already had paid Thomas Cook and it sounded a little bit dodgy. However a woman, who I would say was in her late 80s or early 90s, paid £2,500.’

Retired teaching assistant Pat Fleming, 72 (pictured with her husband Dennis), said she visited a Thomas Cook travel agency on Saturday looking to cancel her trip after reading about the company’s financial problems

Retired teaching assistant Pat Fleming, 72 (pictured with her husband Dennis), said she visited a Thomas Cook travel agency on Saturday looking to cancel her trip after reading about the company’s financial problems

The stand-off was resolved several hours later amid claims by guests that two company representatives entered the hotel and handed over a large amount of money.

Thomas Cook refused to answer questions about whether any of the guests had handed over money, or whether it had paid the hotel.

A heart patient who feared she would run out of medication if stranded abroad has been bought a replacement flight by a kind stranger.

Jackie Ward, 58, was due to fly home from her Thomas Cook holiday to Majorca today and had not brought any extra medicine away with her.

Speaking on Saturday, Miss Ward said: ‘I’ve only brought enough medication till Sunday, thinking we’ll get home on Monday. I’ll take it Monday when I get home… I haven’t got anything.’

Her daughter Amy, 24, told Sky News that it ‘could even be fatal’ if her mother missed her medication, while stranded on the Spanish island.

The pair, from Newcastle uponTyne, booked their holiday to celebrate the mother’s recovery from cancer. Her daughter added: ‘It’s devastating. This holiday was supposed to be celebratory and it’s not that any more.’

Their saviour, a anonymous viewer who gave his name only as Colin, wrote to a Sky News journalist to offer his help after hearing of Miss Ward’s plight.

He said he had booked alternative flights – so the heart patient and her daughter could arrive home on time as planned.

Passengers flying from Antalya, Turkey, to Glasgow on Friday were relieved to have boarded what could be one of Thomas Cook's last ever flights. But when a fault with the plane prevented it from taking off, they were stranded at the airport overnight

Passengers flying from Antalya, Turkey, to Glasgow on Friday were relieved to have boarded what could be one of Thomas Cook’s last ever flights. But when a fault with the plane prevented it from taking off, they were stranded at the airport overnight

A couple due to get married in Cyprus next month face losing thousands of pounds.

Chloe Sharpe and Paul Kerfoot, both 27, have spent £6,000 with the troubled tour operator and another £9,000 on wedding extras including a photographer from Marbella and a boat trip.

‘Our Thomas Cook wedding coordinator hasn’t got back to my emails. It’s very stressful for both Paul and I,’ she said.

‘As it’s so close to going, it feels like we aren’t going to be able to get married. If they do go bust, we’d have to sort another wedding out. Cyprus means a lot to us emotionally.’

More than 50 guests were due to travel for the wedding. Many have also booked with Thomas Cook which means they too face losing their money, with some saying they cannot afford to rebook.

Check-in at Thomas Cook at Gatwick showed people queueing for flights without knowing how they might return

Check-in at Thomas Cook at Gatwick showed people queueing for flights without knowing how they might return

The couple chose Cyprus after Mr Kerfoot, an electrician, proposed at a church in the seaside resort of Protaras during a holiday in 2017.

The wedding coordinator in Cyprus has booked the church and Paphos town hall for the reception on October 15.

Miss Sharpe, a hairdresser from Loughborough, said: ‘It’s a lot of money to lose… it’s a case of finding another £6,000 to find another holiday and find another wedding package.’

Her mother Jennifer Sharpe, said: ‘Two years in the planning, saving every penny, you know, to get out there. The uncertainty at the moment – we’re just thinking, what’s going to happen? I’ve been constantly worrying and up all night. I’ve been waking up and going on the internet, checking it all day when Chloe is at work.

‘She just said: ‘Can you just keep checking for me what’s happening’.’ Miss Sharpe had her hen do over the weekend, but said the uncertainty ‘put a bit of a dampener on things’.

A bride-to-be is ‘numb’ with worry as Thomas Cook’s woes threaten her £50,000 wedding.

Katy Williams fears the ceremony in Ayia Napa could end ‘in tatters’.

It would force her to start planning from scratch – and may mean her terminally-ill mother, Carol Milne, 63, misses out.

Miss Williams, from Redcar, North Yorkshire, said: ‘It’s touch and go. I’m not sleeping. It’s horrible. I’m just numb.’

The 33-year-old is due to marry off-shore oil rig worker Peter Whyman on October 2 – but their flights to Cyprus and hotel rooms for 48 guests are at risk.

The couple, pictured, fear they could ‘lose everything’ – and say they cannot face telling their three excited children that the big day is in jeopardy. 

Thomas Cook Q&A: Why has it gone bust and how can I get help if I’m stuck abroad? 

What has gone wrong?

Thomas Cook became saddled with a £1.6 billion debt following years of mismanagement and over-expansion. It announced a £900 million rescue deal in July, led by its biggest shareholder, Chinese conglomerate Fosun, and other backers.

Early this morning it was announced that the company had gone bust.  

Why did it collapse?

The firm’s lenders, led by Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds, had said the company needed a £200 million loan to tide it over. The banks’ patience ran thin, given that they had already given Thomas Cook a £675 million overdraft.

Thomas Cook became saddled with a £1.6 billion debt following years of mismanagement and over-expansion. Pictured are Thomas Cook passengers checking in at Glasgow Airport yesterday

Thomas Cook became saddled with a £1.6 billion debt following years of mismanagement and over-expansion. Pictured are Thomas Cook passengers checking in at Glasgow Airport yesterday

What happens next?

Administrators will be called in. It is a criminal offence to continue trading when insolvent. 

What if I am already abroad with Thomas Cook?

Those who have booked a package holiday should be protected by the Atol scheme. This means they will be entitled to continue their holiday and fly home with another airline.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab yesterday promised that none of Thomas Cook’s estimated 165,000 customers will be left stranded abroad, paving the way for Britain’s biggest peacetime repatriation. 

Passengers flying from Antalya, Turkey, to Glasgow on Friday were relieved to have boarded what could be one of Thomas Cook's last ever flights. But when a fault with the plane prevented it from taking off, they were stranded at the airport overnight

Passengers flying from Antalya, Turkey, to Glasgow on Friday were relieved to have boarded what could be one of Thomas Cook’s last ever flights. But when a fault with the plane prevented it from taking off, they were stranded at the airport overnight

It remains unclear how much this would cost, with estimates ranging from £100 million to £600 million. Many holiday-makers could be forced to wait for up to two weeks before returning.

What about future bookings?

If customers have Atol protection, they are entitled to a refund or alternative holiday. Those who booked flights only can claim a refund if they used a credit card and it cost more than £100. 

Thomas Cook CEO remains tight-lipped and avoids questions after he leaves day-long meeting with creditors that failed to save the travel firm 

Thomas Cook Group’s chief executive remained tight-lipped as he emerged from a day-long meeting today after negotiating with creditors in a doomed bid to save the firm.

Dr Peter Fankhauser, 58, would not comment on whether a deal had been reached or if the firm would consider approaching the Government for a taxpayer-funded bailout.

He also refused to say anything to Thomas Cook’s customers as he walked out of the service exit of City law firm Latham & Watkins, in Bishopsgate, central London, surrounded by colleagues. 

In the early hours of this morning it emerged talks had failed and the firm had gone bust.  

Thomas Cook's CEO was silent as he left a crisis meeting today where he pleaded for a £200million bailout

Thomas Cook’s CEO was silent as he left a crisis meeting today where he pleaded for a £200million bailout

His meeting with creditors ran from 9.00am to 5.30pm today and the Swiss businessman did not reveal the company’s course of action.

The location of the meeting was changed last minute after it was leaked last night it would take place at law firm Slaughter and May. 

Today the agency was forced to refund British tourists who said they were ‘held hostage’ and forced to hand over money to Tunisian hotel staff who feared the ailing travel firm would not pay its bills. 

Security guards at the Les Orangers beach resort near Tunis kept the gates locked shut last night while staff demanded money, guests said. 

Many holidaymakers refused to pay, as they had already given their money to Thomas Cook for the holiday, leading to a stand-off.  

Thomas Cook said it had refunded customers who paid by credit card and said guests who had booked at the Les Orangers would be diverted elsewhere. 

Dr Peter Fankhauser would not comment on whether a deal had been reached

Dr Peter Fankhauser would not comment on whether a deal had been reached

His meeting with creditors ran from 9.00am to 5.30pm today and the Swiss businessman has not revealed the company's course of action

His meeting with creditors ran from 9.00am to 5.30pm today and the Swiss businessman has not revealed the company’s course of action


Use these tags to read more related posts and reviews: