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Thomas Cook collapse: What you need to know

23rd September 2019

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This morning Thomas Cook collapsed after last minute talks with its creditors over the weekend failed to secure the required funding to keep the company in business. This means that Thomas Cook has ceased trading effective immediately, and all its UK flights have been grounded.

The announcement came after Thomas Cook was unable to secure the extra £200 million in funding needed to stay afloat following last minute talks with its creditors at city law firm Latham Watkins yesterday.

The government through the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) has chartered a fleet of 40 aircraft to get the company's British passengers home as swiftly as possible. The repatriation mission - the largest of its type in peacetime - is expected to last 2 weeks and free flights will be offered to the majority of Thomas Cook's 150,000 passengers currently overseas.

In a statement the CAA said “some disruption is inevitable” but it hoped to get people back to the UK “as close as possible to their planned flight dates.” Read the CAA's statement.

Here is some guidance as to what you should do.

Customers who booked their holidays as part of a package may be covered by ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s Licensing) protection, and you should make their claim for a refund directly to ATOL.

If you only booked a flight from Thomas Cook, or with its airline through another company, you may not be protected under the ATOL scheme. Those covered should have been issued with an ATOL certificate when they booked. There is also a section on the CAA's website where customers are able to check their status.

If after checking eligibility for ATOL protection you are not covered, and you are unable to claim on travel insurance, Starling may be able to obtain a refund for you via a process known as 'chargeback'.

In this instance, please contact our Customer Service team and send your booking confirmation to us. You should include booking details such as travel dates, destinations, amounts paid and services purchased. Any general questions about your Thomas Cook booking should be raised with Customer Service in the Starling app.

Please be aware that fraudsters may contact you asking for your bank account details and offering to help you obtain a refund. Don’t give out any information unless you are certain of the identity of the person asking.

There is no guarantee that a chargeback will be successful. If you have booked your holiday through a third party (such as a travel agent) then you should go back to the travel agent who will be able to assist you.

Direct Debits

If you are paying for your Thomas Cook holiday by Direct Debit, the Direct Debit Guarantee only covers refunds in the event of an error in the collection of a Direct Debit. It doesn't cover Direct Debits paid to companies in insolvency. Thomas Cook's Direct Debit processor has advised all eligible customers will be refunded proactively by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which administers the travel protection scheme ATOL. Customers with Direct Debits due to Thomas Cook are being advised to cancel them.

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