Following the collapse of Thomas Cook and the cancellation of all its flights, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced that the government and UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has hired dozens of charter planes to fly customers home free of charge.
All customers currently abroad with Thomas Cook who are booked to return to the UK over the next 2 weeks will be brought home as close as possible to their booked return date.
The flights will start operating from today (23 September 2019).
All the details of each flight will be posted on a special website, thomascook.caa.co.uk, as soon as they are available.
The government and the UK CAA aim to fly people as close as possible to their booked return date – so customers are being strongly advised not to cut short their holiday or go to the airport without checking the website for information about their return journey.
The UK CAA is also contacting hotels accommodating Thomas Cook customers, who have booked as part of a package, to tell them that the cost of their accommodation will also be covered by the government, through the Air Travel Trust Fund/ATOL cover.
All Thomas Cook customers wherever they are around the world, will be brought back to the UK on special free flights or booked onto another scheduled airline at no extra cost. The dedicated website will provide all the information customers need to access these flights. A small number of passengers may need to book their own flight home and reclaim the costs.
For flights back to the UK, it doesn’t matter whether customers are ATOL protected or not, or what their nationality is. Everyone on a Thomas Cook holiday with a return flight to the UK within the 2 weeks will be brought home.
Under normal circumstances, passengers who are not ATOL protected would be asked to find, and pay for, their own way home. However, given the extent of the disruption the government is stepping in to assist impacted passengers and get people home.
Hundreds of staff from many government departments and agencies, including the UK CAA, the Department for Transport (DfT), and the Foreign Office (FCO), will be deployed in call centres and at airports to help people.