Nearly all home

By | Category: Travel news

Today almost the last of the Thomas Cook holidaymakers that were left in their resorts after the company’s collapse have arrived home, two weeks exactly to the day since the company went under. Those not back and who are covered by ATOL will still be brought home but on commercial flights rather than especially commissioned ones.

A flight from Orlando to Manchester landed in the wee, small hours and the media was on hand to interview passengers. Except that the passengers had little to say other than everything seems to have gone smoothly and it was an emotional trip being the last Thomas Cook flight.

In the last two weeks about 150,000 have been brought back from their holiday destinations with hardly a problem. That is why we have heard so little about it. Apart from the first few days when some worried hoteliers made life anxious for Thomas Cook customers, the repatriation of Thomas Cook holidaymakers has been remarkably uneventful. And that is exactly what the CAA would have wanted, an efficient, orderly and uneventful return.

Yes some had to return to different airports and some did not travel on the day that they wanted but –all-in-all – the exercise managed by the CAA has been remarkably successful. There have been grumbles and John McEwan, an ex MD of the company posed a yet to be answered question about why Thomas Cook planes could not be used to return passengers home instead of remaining idle.

There have been stories of Thomas Cook resort and flight crew staff continuing to work to aid passengers despite the fact that many have lost their jobs and didn’t know how financially secure they would be.

A Channel Four programme at the weekend examined the decline and collapse of Thomas Cook but it will be some time before the whole story emerges. Why, for example, did the management not sell the airline division a few months ago when it had an offer on the table. Reportedly worth many hundreds of millions of pounds, such a sale would have provided enough cash to see Thomas Cook through until next year. And why did it take the company over ten years to write down the debt of over a billion incurred in the purchase of My Travel when an orderly write-down might have been expected? Who thought it such a great idea to damage the latest accounts by writing down the whole amount in just one go?

Whilst the inquiries start, people who have forward bookings with Thomas Cook should claim their monies back and the onus is on them to make a claim. Today the CAA have started a new page on their website to guide people on how to claim a refund. You can access the site by clicking here or going to https://thomascook.caa.co.uk/refunds. Only use this site as scammers have been reported as offering to aid passengers in return for a fee and bank account details in which the refund (they claim) will be deposited.

In the meantime – unless the name is bought from the receivers and is re-launched – Thomas Cook is destined for the history books!

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