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Thomas Cook stops trading – latest info and your rights

Thomas Cook stops trading – latest info and your rights

Holiday giant Thomas Cook stopped trading and entered compulsory liquidation last month, resulting in 100,000s losing holidays and redundancy for 1,000s of members of staff. If you had a future booking which was protected by ATOL, you can now apply for a refund via a new website – see below for the latest info and full details of your rights.

In total, more than 150,000 British travellers have been brought back to the UK in the wake of the company's collapse, while over one million customers may have lost future bookings. Some 21,000 employees of the 178-year-old firm, including 9,000 in the UK, have sadly been left facing redundancy.

Martin's 8-minute video help guide

Here's what MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis had to say in the immediate aftermath of Thomas Cook's collapse on Monday 23 September.

Embedded YouTube Video

Martin: 'It's going to be a stressful time for many'

 

Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, said: "This is a sad day for staff and customers of Thomas Cook. It's going to be a stressful time for many people – MoneySavingExpert will be regularly updating this detailed help guide as we continue to learn more from officials and travellers.

"For those who'd booked future trips, ATOL and ABTA schemes should mean full refunds, but some, especially those who booked flights only, may be unprotected. Travel insurance won't help for most, as travel company failure cover is rarely included as standard – though check your policy or give them a call.

"If you did book without travel industry or insurance protection, the next route is your card provider. Those who paid more than £100 on a credit card get Section 75 legal protection – which means the card firm is jointly liable with the retailer, so you can get your money back from it. However, this may not work if you booked via an agency, as that break in the direct transactional relationship can stop it working – we wait to see how widespread that problem will be.

"If that happens, or you paid by debit card, instead ask your bank to do a 'chargeback'. This isn't a legal protection – it is a Visa, Mastercard and Amex rule where your bank gets your money back from Thomas Cook's bank as you didn't receive what you paid for. It should work for most people. Those who paid by other methods such as cheques or cash have very little protection sadly."

I'm abroad right now – what should I do?

The CAA launched a massive repatriation scheme to return Thomas Cook travellers back to the UK, but this was only available to those who were due to fly back by Sunday 6 October, and it's now closed.

  • This depends on whether or not you have ATOL protection:

    • If you're ATOL-protected, the CAA says it will allow you to claim "reasonable expenses". It has guidelines on what these include – for example, if your replacement flight took off 4-8 hours after your original Thomas Cook flight, it says you can claim up to £16 per passenger for food and drink, plus up to £5 per booking for phone charges and up to £20 per booking for car parking.

      If your replacement flight took off the day after your original flight, the CAA tried to extend your stay with your hotel or may have asked you to book a new hotel. Now you can reclaim the cost (again, it says this must be "reasonable").

      To make a claim for these expenses, you'll need to provide copies of your receipts and ATOL certificate. See the CAA's Thomas Cook page for more guidance on what you can claim for and our section in this guide on how to submit claims.

    • If you've not got ATOL protection, if you flew home on the repatriation scheme, you won't be able to claim from the ATOL scheme for out-of-pocket expenses. Check with your travel insurer to see if you're covered, or if your initial booking was on a credit card you may also be able to try a Section 75 claim, though this is far from guaranteed.

      As an absolute last resort, if you're in dire straits with no access to any alternative help, try contacting the CAA's helpline (+44 1753 330 330 from overseas) – though again, there's no guarantee it'll be able to help.
  • If you paid for your holiday on a credit or debit card and don't get what you paid for, you may be able to claim from your card provider using Section 75 or chargeback – see more on how this works below.

    However, if you used the CAA's repatriation scheme to fly home, UK Finance – the trade association for banks – says that you can't use Section 75 or chargeback to reclaim the cost of the Thomas Cook flight home which you weren't able to take.

    However, it says you may still be able to use Section 75 to claim for additional related and reasonable costs you incur as you travel back home.

While most Thomas Cook customers who were abroad at the time of the company's collapse will now be back, if you're still overseas here are the other key need-to-knows:

  • If you weren't due to return by Sunday 6 October, you'll have to make your own travel arrangements. The CAA says you will have to organise your own transport home. If you have ATOL protection, you will be reimbursed for the cost of your new flight. See more details on the CAA website.

    All package holidays that include a flight are covered by ATOL. Some flight-only bookings will also have ATOL protection, though many won't – see more on flight-only booking ATOL protection below. Some 'DIY packages' which only include a flight from Thomas Cook may also have ATOL protection – see full DIY package help below.

    If your holiday is protected, you should have received an ATOL certificate along with your booking (if you booked directly with Thomas Cook, it will be on the final page of your documents).

  • Some hotels may want you to pay, or even leave (you shouldn't pay). If you are currently abroad on an ATOL-protected package holiday with Thomas Cook, the CAA says it'll try to ensure you can remain at your current hotel. But if you are facing difficulties, for example if the hotel's asking for additional payment, ring the CAA's hotline on +44 1753 330 330 and don't make a payment unless the CAA tells you to.

    If the CAA is not successful in negotiating with your hotel, it says it may need to relocate you to another hotel. In these circumstances, the CAA will inform other suppliers – such as transfers – of the change to your accommodation and flight details. See more on accommodation help on the CAA's website.

    What's actually happening here is that hotels are usually paid by Thomas Cook after your stay, so they haven't had their money yet and are worried. The ATOL protection will cover the hotel firm from the Monday which Thomas Cook went bust. Hotels were normally paid by Thomas Cook after your stay. If you were staying before that period, then the hotel is supposed to try and claim any money owed from Thomas Cook's administrators – but that means they won't likely get much.

    Technically this isn't your problem, it's the hotel's – you paid for a service, it agreed a contract with Thomas Cook and the risk is its. Unfortunately, life doesn't always work like that and hotel owners/managers overseas may take a very different attitude. The most important thing to do is be safe.

    So if you're being pushed to pay again, first try and call the CAA – also, if possible get the British Embassy involved. Yet if you're not safe, then pay and you can reclaim "reasonable out-of-pocket expenses" from ATOL/the CAA later (though only for costs incurred from the day Thomas Cook ceased trading – so Monday 23 September). Do ensure you get a receipt and proof of payment (as much as possible).

  • On a package holiday without flights? You should be able to continue your trip. Customers who are currently overseas on a package holiday that does not include a flight are protected, and trade body ABTA says you should continue your holiday as normal. If the hotel asks you to pay again or you have other problems, ABTA has a helpline on 0330 135 9870.

I've a future booking – what are my rights?

If you have a booking for a future trip it's likely to be cancelled, but there are different ways you may be protected and able to get a refund. Here are the key need-to-knows:

Booked a package with another tour operator via Thomas Cook? It MAY still be going ahead. While most trips – including future package holidays operated by Thomas Cook – are cancelled, ABTA says if you booked a holiday with an independent tour operator via Thomas Cook's shops or call centres, it may still go ahead. Contact the tour operator to check – see Some packages may still go ahead for more info below.

ATOL protected

Package holidays which include a flight are ATOL-protected – and you can now claim ATOL refunds

Package holidays that include a flight are covered by the Air Travel Organiser's Licence (ATOL) scheme. This is the case whether you booked direct with Thomas Cook or via an agent. Look for the ATOL protection sticker (shown right). You should have received an ATOL certificate when booking (if you booked direct with Thomas Cook, it will be on the final page of your booking documents).

ATOL protection means that if you hadn't started your trip at the point Thomas Cook stopped trading, you'll get a full refund (though if you booked a package provided by another tour operator via Thomas Cook, it may not be cancelled and you may still be able to travel – see more info below). Here's the latest:

  • If you paid by direct debit, your ATOL refund will be automatic. The CAA started processing these a couple of weeks ago and said all direct debit bookings covered by ATOL would be processed by Monday 14 October. This will be done automatically, so you don't need to do anything.

    However, on Tuesday 15 October, the CAA said that some payments had been delayed and that it was investigating (although it again said that customers didn't need to do anything.)

  • If you paid any other way, you can now apply for an ATOL refund. The CAA launched its new online claims system for ATOL refunds on its website on Monday 7 October (a week later than planned). It says it aims to pay out refunds within 60 days of receiving a valid claims form – so many may not get their money back until December.

    You'll need details of your booking, such as your Thomas Cooking booking reference number. Only the lead passenger on the booking – the first person named on the booking confirmation – can make a refund claim. If you are unable to use the online claim forms, contact the CAA's Thomas Cook call centre on 0300 303 2800 from the UK, or on +44 1753 330 330 from abroad.

    There have been some reports of glitches with the website after the online claims form went live, which the CAA says is due to heavy traffic. If you're struggling to use the site, it's advised you should try again later.

The CAA has confirmed that ATOL refunds will be for the full cost of your booking – including any extras you paid for as part of the booking, such as seat reservations or in-flight meals. If you booked with a gift card and your holiday is ATOL-protected, your refund will be paid in cash.

  • Don't worry. The CAA says that so long as you have proof that you bought a holiday that's ATOL-protected, you can make a claim on its site – even if you don't actually have a copy of your ATOL certificate.

  • The CAA says if you bought an ATOL-protected package holiday from another tour operator, but your flights were operated by Thomas Cook Airlines, it's down to your tour operator to find you alternative flights. So check with it as soon as possible to find out what arrangements it's making.

  • ABTA says if you have a package holiday which is provided by an independent tour operator but you booked it via Thomas Cook's shops or call centres, it MAY not be cancelled and may still be going ahead, so you'll need to check. It's warned if you wrongly assume a holiday's been cancelled and book another holiday, you won't be entitled to a refund on your existing booking.

    It says you should check the paperwork on your booking, including the ATOL certificate, for confirmation of which tour operator is providing your holiday. If it's not Thomas Cook, contact the tour operator immediately to find out if your holiday is still going ahead. See more info on the ABTA website.

Booked a package holiday with no flight? Check ABTA protection instead

For package holidays without a flight, you'll still be protected and should be able to get a refund.

Thomas Cook package holidays without a flight which are sold by the Thomas Cook firms listed below are all protected by ABTA, though if you paid by card, ABTA's likely to ask you to go to your card provider to get a refund. We've asked ABTA for full details of how its scheme works and are yet to hear back, but in the meantime here are its dedicated help pages on how to claim for each of the Thomas Cook brands it covers:

ABTA says if you booked a Thomas Cook package holiday which doesn't include a flight and it was via another travel company, you will still be protected but you should contact that company, which must rebook you or make alternative arrangements. We've asked ABTA for more on how this works – in the meantime, see its full info on package holiday protection.

If you bought a DIY package, you MAY also be protected

If you booked the different elements of a holiday (eg, flight, hotel, car hire) separately, as a DIY package, and at least one element of that was with Thomas Cook, you MAY also be protected – but it depends on exactly how you booked (and here it gets a bit complicated):

  • If you bought the different elements separately via the same website, shop or call centre in the same transaction, you get the same protection as with a traditional package holiday. This applies even if only one element of your holiday is with Thomas Cook. If your holiday includes a flight, you'll have ATOL protection (see full help on ATOL refunds above) – if not, it'll be covered under another scheme such as ABTA.

  • If you bought different elements of a holiday separately in multiple transactions, but in the same visit to a website or shop or the same telephone call, you only get very limited protection. The official jargon is 'linked travel arrangement', and you should have been told you have this when booking.

    This only covers you if the company that sold you the holiday goes bust (while it has your money). So if for example you bought a DIY package in multiple transactions from an online travel agent and it included a Thomas Cook flight, you won't now have any extra protection.

  • With most other DIY bookings, you're not covered. If you booked everything independently, you're unlikely to have any kind of package or linked travel arrangement protection.

The rules defining exactly what kind of holiday you have for protection purposes are complicated and there are exceptions to the rules above, so unless you're 100% clear where you stand, ask. It's also worth noting that the protection outlined above applies to holidays booked from 1 July 2018. Before then, the rules were slightly different – see our Holiday Rights guide for more info.

If you're not protected by ATOL or ABTA, see below for what you can try to get your money back – including claiming from your card provider if you paid by card.

Many flight-only bookings aren't ATOL-protected

Many flight-only bookings with Thomas Cook, including those made directly with Thomas Cook Airlines, don't have ATOL protection. But it depends exactly how you booked, so if in doubt, check. If your flight was ATOL-protected, you should have received an ATOL certificate at the time of booking.

On the Sunday before it collapsed, Thomas Cook told us flight-only bookings made via Thomas Cook Tour Operations are ATOL-protected. However, some who bought flights via Thomas Cook Tour Operations have since told us they don't have an ATOL certificate and the CAA hasn't been able to confirm what Thomas Cook told us, so you should check.

The CAA also said you may be protected if you bought a flight with Thomas Cook Airlines through a travel agent that had ATOL protection, though it said most bookings with the airline were made directly. And while it's not technically a flight-only booking, it's also worth bearing in mind you may have ATOL protection if you booked a Thomas Cook Airlines flight as part of a DIY package, as outlined above.

If you do have ATOL protection, see full help on how to get an ATOL refund above. If you're not protected by ATOL, see below for what you can try to get your money back  including claiming from your card provider if you paid by card.

Paid by credit or debit card? You may be able to claim from your card provider

Even if your trip isn't covered by ATOL or ABTA, you could still have some protection if you paid for your booking using a debit or credit card:

  • If you paid by credit card for a holiday or a flight costing £100+, you should have Section 75 protection if you paid Thomas Cook – but if you paid a travel agent you may not. Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act means if you pay for something costing £100-£30,000 on a credit card, the card company's equally liable if something goes wrong – so you may be able to claim your money back from it. For more info on how this works, see our Section 75 guide.

    However, if you booked via a travel agent it's more complicated. Technically for Section 75 to work, there must be a direct link between the debtor (that's you, the customer), the creditor (the credit card company) and the supplier (in this case, Thomas Cook). If you booked via a travel agent, it's likely that relationship could be deemed to be broken, which would mean you wouldn't be able to claim, though the Financial Ombudsman Service told us it would come down to the exact nature of your contract with the travel agent.

    You can use Section 75 to reclaim the entire cost of your purchase even if you only paid for part of it on your credit card. However, the total cost of the single ticket or holiday you bought must be £100+.

  • For a flight or booking costing less than £100, or if you paid by debit card, you might be able to claim money back from your card provider through the chargeback scheme instead.

    Unlike Section 75, the chargeback scheme isn't a legal requirement, it's just a customer service promise. But we're already seeing successful claims from people using it to claim for Thomas Cook flights, and crucially there doesn't need to be the direct link between the product paid for and the debt as with Section 75. See our Chargeback guide for full details.

Here's one early success story:

I had no ATOL protection on flights I'd booked, no insurance and paid by debit card.

I went to Barclays just to ask for help and they have already refunded the full amount of money to my account. Absolutely stellar customer service too. Very happy to see my money again and will definitely be following MSE's tips from now on.
- Trish

Most travel insurance won't protect you here, unless you've specific failure cover

When a travel firm goes bust, your travel insurance is only likely to cover you if it includes specific failure cover – and even then, this will only come into play if you're not covered by ATOL, ABTA or similar.

Specific failure cover isn't common, though it is a feature of some premium policies, for example LV's Premier Policy.

What about separate hotel bookings, car hire etc – are they protected?

If you're affected by Thomas Cook's collapse, it's possible you could also be set to lose out if you've separately booked extra accommodation or activities that you're now unable to use. This also includes expenses in the UK, such as airport parking and travel to the airport.

If you're in this position, your first step should be to get in touch with the supplier of the service and see if you can change your booking or get a refund – even if it's officially not allowed, it's worth explaining the situation and seeing if the firm will make an exception. For example, some UK train firms are now waiving admin fees for refunds or date changes.

  • Govia Thameslink – which runs the Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink train services to and from Gatwick and Luton airports – has said it will refund any passengers who'd bought tickets to the airports from one of its websites or ticket offices for a Thomas Cook flight that's now been cancelled. What's more, it'll waive the usual £10 admin fee.

    Passengers whose flight dates have been changed should also be able to switch the dates of their tickets free of charge. See full details in Govia Thameslink's Thomas Cook info.

    If you've spotted another firm making concessions to help Thomas Cook customers, let us know at news@moneysavingexpert.com.

Also check if your travel insurance covers you, as some more comprehensive policies may give you 'abandonment protection' for consequential losses.

Occasionally, we've heard of people trying Section 75 to claim for consequential losses, so there's a chance you can try this too – but success is far from guaranteed.

Warning – beware scammers exploiting Thomas Cook's collapse

Sadly, we've already heard from some MoneySavers who say they've been contacted by suspected scammers, apparently exploiting Thomas Cook's collapse for their own gain.

Online safety website Get Safe Online has warned Thomas Cook's collapse is likely to spark a rash of scams. 
It says fraudsters are likely to send emails, texts, phone calls or social media messages claiming to be from the Official Receiver, Thomas Cook itself or a legal firm, offering refunds or compensation, requesting bank details or even asking for an upfront payment as a fee for handling compensation claims.

To make matters a little more complicated, some banks – such as Bank of Scotland, Halifax and Lloyds – are contacting customers that they have a record of having had dealings with Thomas Cook to give advice. Remember though, you can often spot scam messages by the information they ask for – banks will never call or email to ask you for your full PIN number or any online banking passwords, and they won't ask you to email or text personal or banking information.

Get Safe Online says if you receive a message you're suspicious of, always communicate with the organisation directly to make sure they're genuine. See its full Thomas Cook scam help.

Using the CAA's ATOL reclaims site? Be careful it's the right one

The CAA is warning ATOL customers to make sure that they only make claims directly through the official dedicated website: thomascook.caa.co.uk/refunds.

It says it has "taken urgent action in response to what we believe is attempted fraudulent activity in relation to refunds for Thomas Cook customers."

We've asked for more information about this and will update this guide when we have further details.

I'm paying by instalments/direct debit for a holiday – should I cancel my direct debit?

If you were paying for your holiday in instalments when it went bust, your direct debit should have now been cancelled (but it's worth double checking).

Pay UK told us that any direct debits due to go out from Wednesday 25 September onwards would automatically be cancelled. The CAA has also confirmed that if you proactively cancelled a direct debit after Thomas Cook went bust, it won't have any impact on ATOL protection.

If you paid by direct debit, you'll automatically be refunded via the ATOL refund scheme (these refunds started being processed last Monday, and should be in customers' accounts by Monday 14 October.)

What about Thomas Cook gift cards?

Thomas Cook offered travel gift cards, which you could use to book holidays with the firm.

Here at MSE we're never huge fans of gift cards – not only because they can easily be lost or forgotten and go unspent, but crucially because when firms collapse, gift cards can often lose their value overnight. (See our full guide on Gift Card Rights). And unfortunately, in this case Thomas Cook gift cards can no longer be spent.

The Insolvency Service has told us that if you have a Thomas Cook gift card, you will have to register as a creditor in a bid to try and claim some money back from Thomas Cook – but bear in mind that you'll join a long list of creditors, many of whom will be owed a lot of money by the business. You may well not get anything back via this route, and if you do, expect it to be a fraction of the value of the gift card.

However, you can try to get money back by getting the person who bought the gift card to make a Section 75 or chargeback claim from their credit card firm or bank. Success is far from guaranteed, but it's worth a shot – see our Section 75 and Chargeback guides for more info. (If you received your gift card as compensation from Thomas Cook for a previous holiday, you won't be able to do this.)

If you've used gift cards to book a holiday that is covered by ATOL, the Civil Aviation Authority says that you will get a cash refund under the ATOL scheme.

  • We've seen at least one travel agent say that it will offer discounts on holidays in exchange for Thomas Cook gift cards, though sometimes at a fraction of the value – for example, we saw travellers offered a £50 discount in exchange for a £50 gift card, but separately a £65 discount for a £500 gift card.

    If you see these offers, weigh up very carefully whether it's a good deal or not. Unfortunately, as outlined above it looks unlikely you'll get much money back for gift vouchers. Yet these discounts appear to be essentially a marketing ploy and there's no guarantee that the holiday on offer will actually be a good deal even after the discount is applied.

    The T&Cs of Thomas Cook gift cards appear to state that they can only be spent with Thomas Cook in the UK.

Can I still use a Thomas Cook prepaid card?

Thomas Cook's range of prepaid cards – which include the Lyk card and Thomas Cook Cash Passport – allow you to load cash to spend in different currencies. The cash on these cards is held separately by a company called Wirecard.

Both Mastercard and Wirecard have confirmed to us that these cards won't be impacted by Thomas Cook's collapse. Wirecard told us you can continue to use them to spend in shops and withdraw cash at ATMs, and manage your card online and via the mobile app.

What about Thomas Cook's travel insurance?

Thomas Cook also sold travel insurance through its site. A number of MoneySavers have contacted us to say they had a policy from Thomas Cook and are now unsure if they still have valid cover.

Thomas Cook travel insurance was underwritten by a company called White Horse Insurance Ireland. White Horse Insurance says it continues to operate as normal despite Thomas Cook's collapse.

More Thomas Cook travel questions answered

Here are some more questions we've been asked by users – let us know if there's something we've missed at news@moneysavingexpert.com or in the comments below.

  • The collapse of Thomas Cook Group affects a wide number of brands the group owned. Some of their websites now direct customers to a page saying "Thomas Cook UK Plc and associated UK entities have entered compulsory liquidation", with a link to the CAA's Thomas Cook help page – other websites, however, are still live.

    Airtours, Manos and Thomas Cook Signature, for example, are all directing customers to the liquidation notice.

    Other firms are still operating. A spokesperson for German-based airline Condor, for example, told us it is still trading as a German company, having applied for a state bridging loan, and it is operating all flights as scheduled.

    There is a full list of companies which are affected on the Gov.uk website, but we have also asked the Department for Transport and the Insolvency Service for a full list of brands within the companies that are affected, and will update this guide when we hear back.

  • While most Thomas Cook bookings are for package holidays or flights, some customers also made accommodation-only bookings. Thomas Cook also directly ran nine hotels.

    If you're currently abroad on an accommodation-only booking, ABTA says you should be able to continue your stay. If the hotel asks you to pay again or you have other problems, ABTA has a helpline on 0330 135 9870.

    If you have a future hotel-only booking which you made through a Thomas Cook company – Thomas Cook Tour Operations, TCCT Retail, Future Travel or Freedom Travel – ABTA says you have protection via it and will be able to get a refund. See more info on the ABTA website.

    If you had a booking at a Thomas Cook-run hotel, but didn't make the booking via Thomas Cook, we're checking your rights – but you should contact the firm you made the booking with as a first step.

  • Thomas Cook's Twitter account posted a statement late on the Sunday before it stopped trading confirming that if customers booked a wedding package as part of a Thomas Cook holiday package, it will be ATOL-protected.

    It told customers: "If the wedding package element is on the booking confirmation invoice and was confirmed at the same time as making your package holiday booking, it will be ATOL-protected."

    If you have a wedding booking, look for the ATOL certificate on the last page of your booking documents.

    Of course, there are many costs associated with a wedding that may not be part of the wedding package provided by Thomas Cook – and so won't have ATOL protection. For example, some MoneySavers have told us that although they've booked their wedding with Thomas Cook, some members of their party booked flights with other airlines and these aren't covered if the wedding can no longer take place.

    In these cases, the best option may be to check your travel insurance and wedding insurance if you have it. It may also be worth speaking to your insurer even if you don't think you're covered, as we've heard of at least one travel insurer which says it may make goodwill payments to customers on a case-by-case basis.

  • A number of Premier League football clubs partnered with Thomas Cook Sport to sell travel and hospitality packages (which include match tickets) for both home and away fixtures.

    If you bought one of these, the exact situation will depend on the club and nature of the package. It's likely these packages and tickets are no longer valid, though when we spoke to clubs some told us they're still assessing the situation.

    The clubs we spoke to said that if you've lost out, you may be able to claim via ABTA protection, your card provider or travel insurance, though as above, to claim on your insurance you'd likely need failure cover. (We're checking whether any packages that included flights would have ATOL protection instead, and will update this guide when we know more.)

    In the meantime, clubs told us they're trying to work with Thomas Cook customers to ensure those who want to can still attend matches. In some cases they're offering to help, for example with free transport – though you may find that in order to get to the same game you may need to pay again.

    • Manchester United told us it's trying to make sure customers who used Thomas Cook to book coach travel to upcoming fixtures are provided with alternative travel, free of charge. It also says it wasn't paid by Thomas Cook for any match tickets sold as part of packages for future games.

    • Liverpool originally asked fans who bought Thomas Cook packages to the club's two home games against RB Salzburg on Wednesday 2 October and Leicester City on Saturday 5 October to get in touch via this online form. We've asked if it has any further updates and will update this story when we hear back.

    • Tottenham Hotspur said it's also trying to arrange free alternative coach travel for fans who've booked packages to upcoming fixtures.

    We're continuing to check what options Thomas Cook Sport customers have and will update this guide when we know more.

  • If your flight was delayed or cancelled on a previous trip with Thomas Cook, you successfully claimed for compensation and are waiting for a payout, you can register as a creditor, but you'll likely be at the back of a long line and are sadly unlikely to see much of your money.

    We've asked the CAA what you should do if you have filed a claim but haven't yet heard if it's been successful, and will update this guide when we hear back. See our Flight Delays guide for more help.

  • A number of Thomas Cook customers who live overseas and used the firm to visit the UK have asked us how they can best get home.

    The CAA's repatriation scheme is for getting people back to the UK, so if you live abroad and need to get back home, you won't be able to use it.

    If you're visiting the UK from another country, your best course of action depends on where you usually live. In France for example, Thomas Cook France advises customers to ring 01 41 05 40 81 if they are abroad and experiencing difficulties getting home.

  • Holiday firm TUI says it has had to cancel TUI and First Choice bookings which included Thomas Cook flights for customers who were due to travel between Monday 23 September and Thursday 31 October 2019.

    TUI says it will be contacting these customers to offer a full refund or explore alternative options if they still wish to travel.

  • People with Thomas Cook travellers' cheques can cash them in via post or at any Travelex retail bureau in the UK.

    If you want to cash travellers' cheques via post, a 5% or £7 (whichever is higher) service fee per claim will be deducted from the final payment. The foreign exchange rate used to make the payment is the rate at Travelex's store at Westfield Stratford, London at 7.30am on the day the travellers' cheque is received.

    If you want to change your travellers' cheques at a Travelex retail bureau, you may be charged a service fee. The service fee and foreign exchange rate used to make the payment will vary by retail bureau.

    Full information can be found on Travelex's website.

Thomas Cook staff redundancy & pension help

It's been a very tough time for Thomas Cook staff. Sadly thousands of people, both in the UK and beyond, are now facing unemployment – a very difficult situation.

When Thomas Cook went bust, its retail shops closed with immediate effect and many of the firm's 21,000 employees were made redundant.

In some good news, on Wednesday 9 October, Hays Travel – the country's largest independent travel agent – announced it was to buy all 555 UK Thomas Cook stores, offering work to hundreds of people who lost their jobs.

For general help – though each situation is different – see our Redundancy Help guide. And if you've lost your job and are going to struggle to make payments in the coming days or weeks, speak to your bank, creditors and/or service providers now and explain the situation. They may be able to offer you some flexibility.

I've a Thomas Cook pension – is it safe?

If you were a Thomas Cook employee and have been paying into a defined contribution pension scheme – where your final pension is based on how much you've paid into your pension pot – the money will be held by a third-party provider, not Thomas Cook itself. That means any money you've already paid into your pension is safe, although of course Thomas Cook will no longer contribute to your pot. This applies to around 4,000 people.

If you've been paying into one of Thomas Cook's four defined benefit pension schemes – also known as a 'final salary' pension scheme, where your pension is based on your salary and how long you've worked for your employer – your pension will be protected by the Pension Protection Fund (PPF), but you may see the amount you get cut, potentially significantly. (Some 13,500 current and former Thomas Cook staff, of whom 3,000 are now retired, are in this situation.)

The PPF says it will assess these defined benefit schemes over the next 12-24 months. It's now set up a dedicated website to keep those with a defined benefit Thomas Cook pension up to date.

  • While the PPF is assessing the Thomas Cook defined benefit pension schemes, anyone who's already drawing their Thomas Cook pension, or retires during this period, will still be paid – although those who hadn't yet reached pension age at the point Thomas Cook collapsed will get less than expected:

    • If you'd already reached the pension age of your scheme on 23 September 2019, or retired early due to ill health, you'll receive your pension payment in full (although future pension increases will potentially be lower).

    • If you hadn't yet reached the pension age of your scheme on 23 September 2019, and you've either retired early or retire during the assessment period, you'll only receive 90% of your pension during this time.

     After the assessment, one of two things will happen:

    • The PPF may pay out compensation at a set rate. If it does, those who are already over their scheme's pension age would get 100% of their pension, while those who haven't yet reached pension age will receive 90% capped at £40,000/year (although everyone will receive at least 50% of the value of their promised pensions, meaning those with larger pensions could get more than £40,000/year).

    • Alternatively, you may get a better deal than that (though we don't yet know what). If the PPF assesses that the schemes have enough assets to pay benefits at above the PPF levels of compensation, the trustees will look to buy out benefits with an insurer instead. If this happens, we don't yet know what your pension would be worth – but it will be more than what the PPF would provide as compensation.

    The trustees of Thomas Cook's pension plan say the scheme is "reasonably well-funded", so the hope is that they'll go for option two and you will at least get a better deal than the PPF compensation – but there are no guarantees.

    If you're worried, you can contact the administrators of the pension plan by emailing thomascook@willistowerswatson.com, phoning 01737 788111 or writing to Thomas Cook Pension Plan, PO Box 545, Redhill, Surrey, RH1 1YX.

What has Thomas Cook said?

On Monday 23 September, Thomas Cook's website said: "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."

The firm's chief executive Peter Fankhauser said: "Despite huge efforts over a number of months and further intense negotiations in recent days, we have not been able to secure a deal to save our business.

"I know that this outcome will be devastating to many people and will cause a lot of anxiety, stress and disruption."

Additional reporting by the Press Association.