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 THE Thomas Cook Group, including the UK tour operator and airline, this week ceased trading with immediate effect, and all its bookings, including flights and holidays, have been cancelled. But those stranded will be given a free flight home.
Currently, there are still around 130,000 UK Thomas Cook customers stranded abroad, and officials are aware that a company ceasing trading, with such long-standing history, will be distressing for its customers, employees, hoteliers and other suppliers.
And, said Thomas Cook Chief Executive Peter Fankhauser: “It is a matter of profound regret that the holiday company has gone under, and our thoughts are with everyone affected by this news.”
The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has launched a repatriation programme over the next two weeks, from Monday 23rd September to Sunday 6th October, to bring Thomas Cook customers back to the UK.
It will be the biggest-ever peacetime repatriation, and the CAA has secured a fleet of aircraft from around the world to fly passengers back to the UK. It is also contacting hotels accommodating Thomas Cook customers as part of a holiday package, to let them know that the cost of the accommodation for these customers will be covered by the Air Traffic Organiser’s Licence (ATOL) scheme.
A special website, thomascook.caa.co.uk, has been launched by the CAA, where affected customers can find details and information on repatriation flights, as well as advice on accommodation for both ATOL and non-ATOL customers.
Because of the significant scale of the situation, some disruption is inevitable, but the CAA will endeavour to get people home as close as possible to their planned dates.
Customers overseas should not travel to the airport until their flight back to the UK has been confirmed on the dedicated website.
ATOL Protected passengers, with future bookings, are entitled to a full refund for their cancelled holiday. Passengers currently overseas may also make claims for the cost of replacing ATOL-protected parts of their trip, or for out-of-pocket expenses as a result of delayed flights home.
The CAA will be launching a service to manage all refunds by Monday, 30th September, once the flying operation has progressed. This service will attempt to process all refunds within 60 days of full information being received.
Richard Moriarty, Chief Executive of the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said: “News of Thomas Cook’s collapse is deeply saddening for the company’s employees, customers, hoteliers and other suppliers, and we appreciate that many people still abroad will be anxious about how they will return to the UK.
“The Government has asked us to support Thomas Cook customers, and we have launched a programme to bring them home, which also includes costs to hotels accommodating Thomas Cook customers under the Air Travel Trust’s ATOL scheme.”
Anyone affected by this news can check the CAA’s dedicated website, thomascook.caa.co.uk, for advice and information.
Meanwhile, there is plenty of unrest among Tenerife’s British holiday-makers still here. Some have complained of being held “hostage” in their hotels after staff threatened them with eviction, unless they paid extra.
Stephen McGonnell and Stacey Robinson from Bolton, whose nine-month-old daughter Olivia is sick with a chest infection, were among dozens of tourists in this situation at the Hotel Troya in Las Americas, where staff at the all-inclusive resort demanded the couple pay an additional 1,038 euros (£917) on top of the £1,500 they originally paid Thomas Cook for their 10-day stay.
Miss Robinson said: “I said we’ve paid for this trip already and we have a sick baby… this is ridiculous. So now we’re frightened to leave the room empty in case they come up and removed all our stuff. “We’ve been given contradictory advice from ATOL, who we have been ringing all day. Sometimes they say pay it, and other times they say don’t!
Meanwhile, single mother Jodie McDade, who paid £900 with her daughter Kara at the same hotel, but was told she would have to pay an extra 451 euros (£398) or face being removed.
Thomas Cook cabin-crew member Elizabeth Telford, from Newcastle, staying at the hotel with her husband, suffered “a devastating double-whammy”, losing her job as the firm collapsed, and being threatened with eviction from the hotel unless the couple paid an extra 661 euros (£584).
A bewildered Elizabeth said: “I have worked for Thomas Cook for 10 years and I loved it. But I got an email in the morning saying they were really sorry, but the company had gone under, and here is your P45.”
Rights of travellers and consumers
THOMAS Cook has finally declared bankruptcy, and many consumers and travellers are affected.
These include many travellers still in the Canary Islands, as well as consumers, who have already paid for their trip but will not be able to travel.
In either case, they should know that their rights are recognised and guaranteed according to the European and Spanish consumer protection rules.
Spanish Royal Legislative Decree 1/2007 includes consumer protection rules on package travel and linked travel arrangements, and it establishes guarantees in favour of the consumers, in case of insolvency of the companies that sell package travel to Spain, or linked to Spain.
It is important to know that any contract a consumer signed with Thomas Cook had to include the name and details of the insurance or financial company, which guaranteed the rights of the travellers in case of insolvency of the travel agent, such as:
*Repatriation of travellers (if transportation is a part of the package travel contract)
*Payment of accommodation until repatriation occurs
*Payment of expenses related to the travel: breakfasts, lunches, dinners, etc. until repatriation occurs
*Refund of the travel cost if the services cannot be supplied
For all the above, travellers’ rights are guaranteed and consumers who cannot travel because of Thomas Cook’s bankruptcy have the right to receive a refund and claim against the insurance/financial company that guaranteed these rights.
For more information, call us on +34 922 719520 or email tenerife@decottalaw.net
 British Ambassador’s reassurance
HUGH ELLIOTT, British Ambassador to Spain, has reassured people who flew with Thomas Cook that the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has sent a letter to every hotel with an ATOL-protected traveller in it, guaranteeing the hotel’s payment, from the date of arrival to the scheduled departure date.
“But if the hotel requests payment from you, call the UK’s CAA on +44 1753 330 330,” he said. “It is also important not to make a payment to your hotel, unless instructed to do so by the CAA team. If you are ATOL-protected, you will have an ATOL certificate, by email or in the post. That can be confirmed here:
https://thomascook.caa.co.uk/customers/check-if-you-are-atol-protected/.
“Travellers not ATOL-protected, cannot make a claim for expenses, but they may be able to claim from their travel insurer, bank or credit-card issuer.

Short URL: http://www.canarianweekly.com/?p=50209

Posted by on Sep 26 2019. Filed under Local News, Home Page Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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