Look for the ATOL logo

By | Category: Travel rumblings

The familiar slogan goes, “Don’t just book it, Thomas Cook it.” But after the publicity given to Thomas Cook yesterday when they announced that they wanted to raise some more cash and the effect that it had on their share price meant that the company received more publicity than it would have wished. That is partially because it such a well-known and important brand.
The question for the traveller is should you continue to book with the company. Judging from the newspaper screeches this morning, you’d have thought the world was coming to an end. They have highlighted that both big tour operators, Thomas Cook and TUI (owners of First Choice and Thomson) have both had large share falls in the last year. The Daily Express this morning runs with the front page headline, “Holiday disaster looms for millions.” What bunkum. What uninformed and unhelpful codswallop.

Because the vast majority of people who buy at Thomas Cook buy package holidays and those will be protected under the ATOL regulations. If the worst were ever to happen then holiday bookers would receive their money back as Simon Calder pointed out on ITV’s Daybreak programme and BBC Breakfast and in The Independent today. (In fact Calder seems to be on a one-man reassurance campaign today.) What other purchases can you make that would give you such protection? It was only towards the end of the story in the Daily Express that they quoted an ABTA spokesman pointing out the same thing. At least The Scotsman began its story by pointing out that holidaymakers money was safe as does one in the Telegraph and the Guardian. As Charming of Cambridge wrote on the Mail Online page, “Don’t believe all the hype.”

So regardless of what you think of the viability of Thomas Cook – or even TUI or any other ATOL bonded travel company- you can still book confident in the fact that your money, if not your holiday, is as protected as it could be. What it does show is the doubt that should exist amongst holidaymakers in considering booking through a company that isn’t ATOL bonded. And the vast majority of tour operators and holiday companies are. But look for that ATOL logo when you shop.

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