Thomas Cook - what are the next steps?

The travel industry has lost one of the most iconic names in world travel after Thomas Cook has sadly ceased trading after 178 years. They have cancelled their flights leaving 600,000 holiday makers worldwide with in limbo.

The team at Not Just Travel have been working since the news broke at around 3am to gather as much information as possible and to reassure our customers who are either on a Thomas Cook holiday or have one booked for a later date.

Are you affected? Rest assured if you have booked your package holiday with Not Just Travel, you will be protected and will receive a full refund to the value of the holiday booked.

As a leading travel business, we are both ABTA bonded and ATOL protected which provides our customers with the reassurance that their money is protected when a situation like this arises.

The Not Just Travel team are dealing with our customers enquiries and are available to answer any questions that arise. We are on hand to provide guidance and reassurance at this difficult time.

For customers who are currently on a Thomas Cook holiday, our priority is to ensure that we get you back to the UK either on a CAA-operated flight or with another airline. Flight dates will depend on your location and your original return date. Your travel consultant will liaise with you to confirm further details of this.

Richard Moriarty, the chief executive of the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), said the Government had asked his organisation to launch “the UK’s largest ever peacetime repatriation” which will bring Thomas Cook customers back to the UK. This statement has been backed up by The Civil Aviation Authority’s chair Dame Deidre Hutton who told the BBC that all Thomas Cook customers will be brought back home once their holidays finish:

“Every single person will be brought back home at the end of their holiday... Everyone will be brought home free of charge”

The Government and the Civil Aviation Authority are now working together to do everything to support passengers due to fly back to the UK with Thomas Cook between 23 September 2019 and 6 October 2019.

Here’s what the industry are saying so far:

AITO (Association of Independent Tour Operators) Chairman, Derek Moore

“It's a tragedy for the UK travel industry as a whole 'that Thomas Cook's UK arm has brought about the collapse of the overall Thomas Cook group. The ramifications are enormous - 9,000 in the UK will lose their jobs overnight, from travel agency and tour operating staff to their in-house airline colleagues. A further 13,000 will lose their jobs in Europe.

This will affect the industry massively - many operators and agents buy flights from Thomas Cook regionally across the UK, as well as from the London airports of Gatwick, Luton and Stansted. Consumers will have bought flights direct from Thomas Cook, too. While the July/August 'peak summer season has passed, the popular late summer season across the Mediterranean short-haul routes still has up to six weeks to go, which means that a good many consumers will lose their holidays and will have to be refunded at huge cost to the taxpayer - estimates put the cost in the region £600M."

The knock-on effects will doubtless reverberate throughout the UK travel industry for many months, with a considerable human and business cost within the travel and hotel industries being part of the collateral damage.”

Our co-founder Steve Witt has also made the following statement:

The current situation

“We are getting lots of calls and emails from non-Not Just Travel customers looking for help because they booked direct with other companies and there is no-one to help them. We are helping them all.”
 

The effect on the travel industry

“Many more people will now see the benefit of ATOL protection, and booking a package holiday compared to doing it yourself and saving a few pounds. It’s the difference between being stranded abroad and being brought back home efficiently and at no extra cost. In a strange way, we feel that this event will give customers more confidence in the travel industry. It shows people that putting together cheap holiday elements together themselves comes with a lack of security, whereas booking through a travel agent comes at little extra cost, but that little extra is certainly is worth it. It’s a peace of mind. In the long-term, we feel this is a business boost for expert operators in the industry. The Thomas Cook episode has shown there is a real divide between those travellers protected by ATOL and those without. People will now have confidence in the government’s ATOL scheme.

 “Whenever anything like this happens in the travel industry, it highlights the importance of having an expert on hand to help you. The last thing you want to do, when you’re abroad, trying to enjoy a holiday of a lifetime, or your honeymoon, is spending hours on the phone or internet trying to work out which number to ring, website or airline email address. You want someone to have it in hand so you can go back to enjoying your holiday.”

Smaller companies going under

“When the government brought in PTR – the package travel regulation – many people in the industry thought it was a bit of a faff. But it’s meant that those travel companies which are selling holidays on the cheap, in effect became tour operators because it meant they were responsible for their customers and bringing them back home when things went wrong. We may see a number of companies in the future go out of business as they are now also responsible for having to fix the problem. It shows the customer that cheap isn’t always best.”

Will the cost of holidays go up?

“In the short-term, yes, as travel has always been based on supply and demand. In the longer term though, there is no need for costs to substantially rise. You don’t pay much more by using an ATOL and PTR protected travel agent. That little extra you pay is added peace of mind.”

Options for Thomas Cook Staff 

 

“As well as the heart-breaking stories we are hearing from holidaymakers missing out on their holidays of a lifetime, there are 9,000 Thomas Cook staff in the UK, as well as others from Thomas Cook subsidiaries. In order to help our friends and colleagues in the industry, we are launching a Homeworking Package which will help Thomas Cook employees get straight to work as independent travel consultants with Not Just Travel. They can enter an express training programme with far lower entry costs, allowing them to sell a holiday tomorrow with higher commissions, and get paid the next month. It will be a ready-made, fast retraining solution where they no longer have to worry about their future.

“With such NJT travel consultants as Raine Martin, who, as a previous stay-at-home-mum with no travel experience now earns substantial commission in a month, we believe Thomas Cook employees can enjoy a bright future with us and look forward to welcoming them to our family. We have two Discovery Events taking place this week (24 & 25 September) in London and Manchester.” 

For more information on our discovery events in London or Manchester head over to our discovery site.

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