A FURIOUS Thomas Cook customer fumed she “will go off” if she isn’t refunded £2,000 for her first ever holiday planned for next year.
The raging pensioner went on an angry rant during a news interview after discovering her trip to Turkey next May is no more following the collapse of the airline and holiday operator.
Around 150,000 Brits’ holidays are in turmoil after the doomed firm announced it had ceased trading.
A massive rescue mission will now be launched to bring UK tourists home and could take up to a fortnight with thousands of planned holidays also now dead in the water.
One woman, interviewed by LBC, shared her fury after discovering her first ever holiday to Turkey with her mum and sister will now have to be cancelled.
Asked by a reporter how much she paid for her holiday and if she thinks she will ever see her cash again, she said: “Two grand. I better get it back or I’ll go off. I’ll go off.
“I better get it back, I’m telling you. I ain’t amused. I am not happy about it.”
All the travel giant’s flights to and from the UK have been cancelled, forcing the government to launch the biggest repatriation since World War Two.
A rescue fleet of more than 40 jumbos will bring 150,000 stranded holidaymakers back to Britain from 51 destinations in 17 countries.
The company’s 21,000 employees, including 9,000 in the UK, have been made redundant.
The 178-year-old British travel firm had until 11.59pm last night to pay the £200million it owed its creditors or else they’d go under.
Travellers expecting to board Thomas Cook planes in the UK today have been told to stay at home as ALL flights are grounded permanently.
What we know so far…
- Thomas Cook has ceased trading after failing to secure a last-ditch rescue deal
- Customers due to fly out of the UK with Thomas Cook today have been told to stay at home
- Thomas Cook planes are heading back to their UK bases and are being grounded
- As many as 9,000 British employees among 21,000 staff around the world stand to lose their jobs
- The largest peacetime repatriation of British citizens – dubbed Operation Matterhorn – will begin in the coming hours
- As many as 150,000 British holidaymakers face uncertainty over how they’ll get home
- Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the liquidation of Thomas Cook as a “very difficult situation” and vowed his Government would do its “level best” to get Brit holidaymakers home
- Read our Thomas Cook live blog for all the latest news and updates
Announcing it was ceasing trading, Thomas Cook said on its website: “All future flights and holidays are cancelled.”
The brief statement added: “A dedicated support service is being provided by The Civil Aviation Authority to assist customers overseas and those in the UK with future bookings.”
Worried customers were asked to visit www.thomascook.caa.co.uk for more information – although the site has crashed several times.
Devastated Thomas Cook staff spoke of their “heartbreak” at the firm’s collapse today and told of their “dream job going in the blink of an eye”.
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Staff were seen hugging each other in tears at the company’s headquarters in Cambridgeshire this morning.
Many looked tearful as they arrived at the headquarters, which employs around 1,000 people.
A fleet of 40 aircraft has been charted by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to lead the repatriation mission – an operation twice as big as that launched two years ago when Monarch Airlines collapsed – using jets from as far away as Malaysia.
It is expected to last two weeks and free flights will be offered to the majority of Thomas Cook’s 150,000 passengers currently abroad.
Only those booked on package holidays are officially protected under the Air Travel Organisers’ Licence (Atol) scheme.
Those travelling on “flight only” breaks would normally be expected to find and pay for their own return flights.
However the Department for Transport said that “given the extent the disruption” the repatriation will cover all Thomas Cook customers. It is expected to cost the taxpayer up to £600 million.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the liquidation of Thomas Cook as a “very difficult situation” and vowed his Government would do its “level best” to get Brit holidaymakers home.
The CAA warned: “Due to the significant scale of the situation, some disruption is inevitable.”
The watchdog added in a statement that it “will endeavour to get people home as close as possible to their planned dates.”
It was unclear what will happen to the firm’s 400,000 foreign customers now stranded in resorts around the world.
Tips for tourists
Q: I’m out of the country on a Thomas Cook holiday – what happens now?
A: The Civil Aviation Authority’s Operation Matterhorn will coordinate the repatriation of customers at the end of their holiday.
Q: I only bought Thomas Cook flights. Am I still protected?
A: No. Unfortunately, only package holiday customers are covered by the company’s Atol licence. Rival airlines may offer special rescue fares.
Q: I am on a Thomas Cook holiday and my hotel is insisting I pay them again. What do I do?
A: Refuse to pay. You have already paid Thomas Cook. The hotelier will have to apply via Atol.
Q: I have booked a Thomas Cook holiday? What happens now they’ve gone bust?
A: Anyone who has booked a package holiday is also covered by Atol and can apply to the CAA for their money back.
A Thomas Cook plane was “seized” at Manchester Airport with a “Notice of Detention of Aircraft” for non-payment of airport charges.
Thomas Cook’s chief executive Peter Fankhauser said his company had “worked exhaustively” to salvage a rescue package.
He said the tour operator’s collapse was a “matter of profound regret” as he apologised to the company’s “millions of customers, and thousands of employees”.
Thomas Cook – which began in 1841 with a one-day train excursion in England – failed to convince lenders to cut the money it owed to see them through the winter period.
The devastating news came after Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab insisted none of the 150,000 holidaymakers currently abroad with the tour giant would be left “stranded”.
But he sparked trade union fury by signalling the Government would NOT be pumping in a £200million bailout.
He said: “We don’t systematically step in with taxpayers’ money when businesses are going under unless there’s a good strategic interest for doing so.”
The Government’s desperate hunt for spare jumbos has been harder by the forced grounding of the Boeing 737 Max over safety fears.
Worried holidaymakers spent yesterday frantically trying to work out if they would be booted out of their hotel – as creditors and directors thrashed out last-ditch survival plans.
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Pilots union Balpa yesterday: “Thomas Cook is at the last chance saloon today and decisions about staff and passengers are being taken in secret.
“It’s a much bigger scale than Monarch.
“There is a real risk that if the worst comes to the worst proper arrangements may not be in place for the repatriation programme and staff are still working while not knowing if they have a job or will even get paid for this month.”
A Thomas Cook pilot’s family members wave as a flight departed Manchester Airport yesterday – among the last in the company’s 178-year history[/caption]
Notices were being put on Thomas Cook planes this morning to declare that they had been impounded[/caption]
Online flight trackers this morning showed Thomas Cook planes making their way back to their UK bases to be grounded[/caption]
'Profound regret': Thomas Cook CEO Dr Peter Fankhauser on the company's collapse
“Although a deal had been largely agreed, an additional facility requested in the last few days of negotiations presented a challenge that ultimately proved insurmountable.
“It is a matter of profound regret to me and the rest of the board that we were not successful.
“I would like to apologise to our millions of customers, and thousands of employees, suppliers and partners who have supported us for many years.
“Despite huge uncertainty over recent weeks, our teams continued to put customers first, showing why Thomas Cook is one of the best-loved brands in travel.
“Generations of customers entrusted their family holiday to Thomas Cook because our people kept our customers at the heart of the business and maintained our founder’s spirit of innovation.
“This marks a deeply sad day for the company which pioneered package holidays and made travel possible for millions of people around the world.”
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