Thomas Cook Has Ceased All Trading With “Rescue Flights” On The Way, Condor Continues Operations For Non-TC Customers

As was expected in the last couple of days and confirmed late last night Thomas Cook has ceased all trading and informed UK customers that the company (and their holiday) is now under the authority of the the British government and the Civil Aviation Authority.

UK customers already abroad will be repatriated through a rescue flight currently organized by the government, those still at home will have their vacation cancelled.

Customers in other countries will have to deal with a different set of circumstances though. While the UK apparently has already started to scramble aircraft from other companies, as far as the German division of Thomas Cook is concerned both the tour operator and the media are silent when it comes to repatriation of citizens abroad.

You can access the Twitter page for Thomas Cook UK with their last message here, the account is no longer monitored.

The Thomas Cook corporate website has the following brief information for customers:

Thomas Cook UK Plc and associated UK entities have entered Compulsory Liquidation and are now under the control of the Official Receiver.

The UK business has ceased trading with immediate effect and all future flights and holidays are cancelled.

A dedicated support service is being provided by The Civil Aviation Authority to assist customers currently overseas and those in the UK with future bookings.

The CAA website can be accessed here for further detailed information.

Thomas Cook has confirmed that all the UK companies in its group have ceased trading, including Thomas Cook Airlines.

As a result, we are sorry to inform you that all holidays and flights provided by these companies have been cancelled and are no longer operating. All Thomas Cook’s retail shops have also closed.

The Government and the Civil Aviation Authority are now working together to do everything we can to support passengers due to fly back to the UK with Thomas Cook between 23 September 2019 and 6 October 2019. Depending on your location, this will be either on CAA-operated flights or by using existing flights with other airlines.

If you are already abroad you will find all the information you need about your arrangements to get home on this website.

If you are due to depart from a UK airport with Thomas Cook Airlines, please do not travel to your UK airport as your flight will not be operating and you will not be able to travel.

This repatriation is hugely complex and we are working around the clock to support passengers.

If you are currently abroad and your flight was with Thomas Cook we are providing new flights to return you to the UK. These repatriation flights will only be operating for the next two weeks (until 6 October 2019). After this date you will have to make your own travel arrangements. From a small number of locations, passengers will have to book their own return flights.

For further advice and details of your return journey please read I am currently abroad. Please note that repatriation flights are only available for passengers whose journey originated in the UK.

If you are currently abroad and due to return to the UK after 6 October 2019, please read the additional information section.

If you are ATOL-protected and are having difficulties with your hotel, please read managing difficulties with accommodation.

PLEASE NOTE: Some of Thomas Cook’s package holiday bookings include flights with airlines unrelated to the Thomas Cook Group.  If your return flight is not with Thomas Cook’s airline, it will still be valid. However other elements of the package, such as accommodation and transfers will be affected.

Customers yet to travel out of the UK

We are sorry to inform you that all future holidays and flights booked with Thomas Cook are cancelled as of 23 September 2019.

If you are booked on a Thomas Cook Airlines flight, please do not go to your UK airport, as your flight will not be operating. The Civil Aviation Authority’s repatriation programme will not include any outbound flights from the UK.

If you choose to book a new flight with another airline out of the UK, you will not be eligible for a repatriation flight.

PLEASE NOTE: Some of Thomas Cook’s package holiday bookings include flights with airlines unrelated to the Thomas Cook Group.  If your return flight is not with Thomas Cook’s airline it may still be valid. However other elements of the package, such as accommodation and transfers might be affected.

Passengers currently abroad in need of support (repatriation flight) have to enter themselves into a CAA database in order to be recognized and contacted in the fastest way possible.

They also outlined important facts about the operation that is about to go into full swing the coming few weeks:

This is an unprecedented operation with more than 150,000 customers abroad. Consequently, passengers should expect significant delays to their travel plans and we would ask you to bear with us while we make arrangements for passengers due to return to the UK.

We will aim to get you home as close to your original time as we can and where possible, we will try not cut your holiday short, but your repatriation flight may depart before the time of your original Thomas Cook flight.

If your original flight was booked as part of a Thomas Cook ATOL protected holiday or it was sold as an ATOL protected flight and you have significant delays, you may be able to claim for refreshments and additional necessary overnight accommodation.

If your booking is not ATOL protected, you are not entitled to make a claim for out of pocket expenses and additional nights of hotel accommodation, but you can  claim from your travel insurer, your credit card issuer or bank .

If you booked an ATOL protected holiday with another ATOL holder you should speak to them directly.

If you are not sure if your booking is ATOL protected, please see our advice: how do I know if I am ATOL protected.

Please see our guidance for if your flight is delayed for further information.

Say what you want but I’m impressed by the speed and efficiency in which the CAA acts here. Of course as I mentioned a couple days ago, when hundreds of thousands of citizens are stranded abroad politicians are on the Johnny on the spot to fix the situation as soon as possible. Leaving people stranded on their own would result in financial hardship for them and disruptions of the economy back home. In any case Thomas Cook as a tour operator has covered their package travelers as part of ATOL.

No word of relief so far for customers of Thomas Cook brands in Germany.

The website of Thomas Cook Germany only states that the sale of all Thomas Cook travel services has stopped and that trips booked with the company on 23rd and 24th of September (at least) won’t be operated. In fact I wouldn’t expect any further operations at this point.

The message also states to please not contact their call centers and that a company representative will contact the customer. As package trips in Germany are often sold through local travel agencies the passenger

Thomas Cook brands in Germany are:

  • Thomas Cook
  • Neckermann Reisen
  • Bucher Reisen
  • Oeger Tours

Package customers of Thomas Cook Germany are (similar to the UK ATOL) covered through a special insurance policy of the tour operator. When booking the trip customers receive a confirmation and the policy called “Reisepreissicherungsschein”. This policy has to be submitted to the insurer of the tour operator who will then refund customers. The downside: The policy only covers 110 Mio Euro and considering the size of the liquidation that amount could be eaten up rather quickly.

Last but not least, some good news as the following information concerns passengers of Condor:

Reuters reported just now that the Hessen government will provide a bridge loan to Condor to continue it’s operations. Condor has it’s home base in Frankfurt and many jobs are dependent on continued operations.

Germany’s state of Hesse, where collapsed travel group Thomas Cook’s (TCG.L) German airline Condor is located, said it is ready to help the airline’s application for a federal government bridging loan.

“Obviously we will have to look whether there is a basis for help by the state, just as with every other company,” said state leaders in a joint statement issued in the capital Wiesbaden on Monday, affirming their readiness to support Condor.

The statement came after Condor asked the government for help.

The Condor website also informs customers that – for now – the operations continue as normal but that customers booked via Thomas Cook won’t be accepted for check-in and their tickets have been invalidated.

All Condor flights (DE flight number) are operating as scheduled.

Please find below information for our tour operator guests from: Thomas Cook, Neckermann, Oeger Tours, Air Marin and Bucher Reisen:

Condor has been informed by your tour operator that unfortunatly your outbound flight will not be carried out as planned today or tomorrow. Therefore, it is with are sincerest apologies that we will not be able to accept on for your flight. Return flights can be boarded as expected.

If you have any questions about your package tour, please contact Thomas Cook directly.

If you would like to purchase a flight that is not part of your package tour, please contact the Condor service desk at your airport or visit the Condor website at www.condor.com.

So if you’re a standalone Condor guest are in luck and can still fly. Condor is a very lucrative part of Thomas Cook and would likely be swallowed up fast by Lufthansa if liquidated.

Conclusion

It’s a sad sight to see the downfall of Thomas Cook and so many people impacted especially as they were about to go on holiday. Many of these customers paid good money and Thomas Cook wasn’t some cheap operator, in fact they were known for quality holidays.

The business model however didn’t go with the time and even in recent years the company lived off money of their Chinese investor Fosan. This isn’t a development that comes as a surprise or as a result of Brexit as some start to speculate. Thomas Cook’s end was long in sight and finally came today.