Should I even mention its name?

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Yesterday was a bad day for Thomas Cook.

Thomas Cook logo. Should you book with the company?

Its name was not only all over the business pages it was in the general news as well. The story ran that its lenders wanted another £200 million in contingency fun ds so that they could be sure that Thomas Cook could trade through the leaner periods of the winter. Without that £200 million, they were threatening to pull the plug on the company.

My concern in mentioning the company yet again is because the more publicity of this nature that the company receives, the more likely it is that potential holidaymakers will get nervous, stay away or book with another tour operator. The more that follow the latter course, the more that the company will suffer and the more likely it is that it will go under.

By mentioning the name aren’t I just contributing to the doubts that any readers may have about buying a holiday from them?

That’s my dilemma.

Should I draw even attention to company and keep you informed? Should I give it no coverage and leave you uninformed? Should I follow the media flock and present you thoughts of what to do if it goes bust this weekend?

At present it seems that there is case of brinkmanship going on. Will its lenders cave in because the losses that they will bear if Thomas Cook does go under will be substantial or will Thomas Cook manage to wring a guarantee of an extra £200 million from Fosun, the company that is planning to buy them? 

I have no love for the management of Thomas Cook which I find unimaginative, lacklustre and living in another age yet seduced by every management fad that comes along whether it is viable or not. That I have said before in Just about Travel. But I am concerned for the 150,000 or so people currently on holiday with the airline and the 600,000 or whatever the true figure is that have future bookings with the company.

I am also concerned by the amount of money that it would cost to repatriate all those on holiday at the moment should the worst happen. Some estimates say that it is about £600 million. The coffers of the bonding scheme don’t have that much money so it will fall to the goverment.

Late yesterday it transpired that Thomas Cook had asked the government for the £200 million. If the government agrees -and that seems unlikely – then spending £200 million to save £600 million seems to make economic sense. But the government should demand a hugher than usual amount of interest, a quick payment and preference over other lenders. And a management change.

As the company is German based has it asked the German government for money?

I also wonder whether enough planes can be found to bring home the holidaymakers let alone those who just bought airline tickets with the company.

I remember when ILG, a very large tour operator, collapsed in 1991 and again when XL went bust about eleven years ago. Those two companies had a substantial impact on how bonding is operated. they also had a big impact on the travel industry.

By mentioning its name am I not really contributing to and echoing Dad’s Army’s Corporal Jones’s mantra, “Don’t panic” or even Private Fraser’s “We’re all doomed?”

You can conclude then, by the appearance of this article, that I have decided it is better to mention the company even if I can be accused of possibly contributing to the mess.

I wouldn’t dissuade you from booking if that is what you plan but pay by credit card and make sure you have travel insurance that includes a provision against a company collapse.

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