Do You Have a Claim Against Thomas Cook?

If You Paid Using a Credit or Debit Card, MyChargeBack May Be Able to Help Recover Your Money

On September 23, the venerable 178-year-old British travel agency and tour operator Thomas Cook declared bankruptcy and ceased operations.

Can You Get Your Money Back?

The short answer is “yes.” Check with your credit card provider or travel agency to see if you are covered by the British government’s ATOL scheme. But even if you aren’t you can still get your money back if you paid for a ticket, reservation or service using a credit or debit card. The chargeback process can be complicated and frustrating even under the best of circumstances. Raising a dispute at your bank with a bankrupt merchant, therefore, requires the skill and patience that have made MyChargeBack the world’s leading fund recovery service. For more information, please see our Contact Us page here.

Boeing 737 with Thomas Cook livery landing and docking on the runway at an airport

How Big Was Thomas Cook?

Thomas Cook was no ordinary travel agency. It owned its own airline, with a fleet of just over 50 medium and long-range jets. In addition, it also owned a few smaller airlines, the best known of which was the German carrier Condor.

The bottom line was that it had more planes than some national or regional airlines you’re probably more familiar with. Not to mention the entire Irish Air Force.  

Thomas Cook literally went out of business while some of its flights were still in the air. As many as 600,000 travelers, 150,000 of whom held British passports, found themselves stranded overseas. In response, the British government mounted its largest peacetime repatriation effort in history.

Travelers who were already on holiday had to vacate their hotels and resorts. If they were in flight when the firm went bankrupt and had not yet checked in to their hotels or resorts, they literally had nowhere to go when they landed.

Hotels, Employees and Pensioners

But they were only the first to feel the effect of Thomas Cook’s collapse. The firm owed hotels alone a whopping £338 million. And the company’s 22,000 employees  ̶  most of whom were not British and worked overseas  ̶  lost their jobs.

And what about retired Thomas Cook employees who are now pensioners? For the minority who worked in the United Kingdom, the company offered four different pension plans. The good news is that they, as well as those who were still working but are now passed the normal retirement age, will receive 100 percent of their pensions. The bad news is that former employees who retired early and those who are below pension age and were still working when the company went under will now receive only 90 per cent of their pensions. And that amount will be subject to an annual “cap” set by the government that is adjusted annually for inflation.

In all such cases, Britain’s Pension Protection Fund (PPF) guarantees payments.

How Did It Happen?

While the liquidation of Thomas Cook stunned the world, the writing was on the wall for a long time. In 2007, it merged with MyTravel, an up-and-coming British competitor founded in 1972. But it was a lousy deal for Thomas Cook that saddled it with a huge debt it ultimately couldn’t repay without major injections of cash. In 2010 it was dropped from London’s prestigious FTSE 100 index and last year from the second-tier FTSE 250 as well. Its shares are now worthless.

Last year the company took in £10 billion from almost 20 million customers worldwide, but its profits weren’t enough to get it out of debt.