Welcome back Thomas Cook?

By | Category: Travel rumblings

This morning Thomas opened its doors again as an OTA – an online travel agency.

The same logo that still adorns my local Thomas Cook that has long been closed and up for rent is being used by new Thomas Cook.

With a staff of about fifty it will offer package holidays including flights and accommodation.

It is using a number of industry sources to achieve this opening. For example most of the flights will be on easyJet. The accommodation is being provided by one of three bed booking companies and others will offer products and services like currency cards, car hire, excursions and travel insurance.

The new Thomas Cook is ATOL bonded so you package holiday is protected and, most importantly in these pandemic days, the money you pay – apart from the airline bill – will be put in trust and therefore available in  the event of a sudden cancellation or lockdown. There should be no need for vouchers.

The big question for passengers and for Thomas Cook itself is whether passengers will feel comfortable and confident booking with Thomas Cook again after last September’s collapse.

How many people were out-of-pocket after the collapse and how many will remember that problem and say to themselves that they wouldn’t touch the name with a bargepole?

The new company is backed by the Chinese concern, Fosun, which is a multi-billion pound company which also owns Club Med which was the biggest investor in the old Thomas Cook so, financially, it should be sound. There is no debt and they haven’t acquired anything that could drain their resources.

But they are at the whim of their suppliers rather than controlling their own destiny

The new management – which is pretty different from the old – have gone part of the way to assuaging doubts about getting monies back by operating that ring-fenced system for all non-airline monies. The worst case is that you might have delays in getting the airline part of your money back.

Only the next few months will show whether the public is willing to trust the Thomas Cook name again.

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