Thomas Cook customers can now claim refunds - here's everything you need to know

The last of the Thomas Cook customers stranded abroad when the travel company collapsed last month have returned to the UK as part of the biggest repatriation since the Second World War.

As of Monday, affected customers can claim a refund through the Civil Aviation Authority’s website.

Direct debit customers should be refunded automatically by October 14, but others will have to wait up to 60 days, with 360,000 customers awaiting payment.

With scammers said to be trying to con customers to part with more of their money, it’s important you know how you can make a claim and where you need to go to do it.

Here’s what you need to know.

Who can claim refunds?

Affected customers have several options when it comes to making a claim. Credit: PA

If you had an ATOL protected booking with Thomas Cook, you may be entitled to make a claim for a refund.

The claim has to come from the passenger who made the booking – the person whose name appears on the booking confirmation.

Different claims processes apply for different types of bookings. For example, the steps you need to take for a booking paid for with cash will be different to a debit card transaction.

Thomas Cook also owned and operated a number of different travel companies.

The ATOL numbers to look for are:

  • Thomas Cook Retail Ltd - ATOL 0020

  • Thomas Cook Tour Operations Ltd - ATOL 1179

  • TCCT Retail Ltd - ATOL 10585

  • Future Travel Ltd, trading as Freedom Personal Travel Advisors - ATOL 5704

  • Freedom Travel - ATOL 6042

If your booking is ATOL protected by Freedom Travel Group (ATOL 6042), you cannot make a claim to the CAA.

Instead, Hays Travel Group will be in touch directly to discuss a replacement holiday or refund.

How can I make a claim?

Which form you need depends on if you were abroad at the time of the collapse on September 23 or due to travel after this date. Credit: PA

It depends how you paid and who exactly you made your booking with, but the CAA has made what it describes as “simplified online refunds forms” to speed things up.

Which form you need depends on if you were abroad at the time of the collapse on September 23, or due to travel after this date.

On the CAA website, click on one of the three scenarios that apply to you and then access the form that you will need to fill.

The CAA launched its refunds process on October 7 and can be reached here.

Claims made to the CAA can only be made through this online process.

Even if you have already written to the organisation, you’ll still need to go through this process.

How long will it take?

Thousands of Thomas Cook staff have been affected. Credit: PA

You can expect to wait up to 60 days after you make a claim for compensation.

But if your booking was made by direct debit, the CAA advises: “If your flights were with Thomas Cook and you paid Thomas Cook by direct debit for any part of your ATOL protected package, all payments for your ATOL protected holiday made by direct debit will be automatically refunded.”

In this case, a refund should be automatically made by October 14.

Any amount paid by a different method – such as cash, credit card or cheque – will need a claim.

What does ATOL protected mean?

If your booking was ATOL protected, you are safeguarded against Thomas Cook's collapse. Credit: PA

ATOL stands for Air Travel Organiser’s Licence and protects customers booking a holiday with a UK travel company.

It makes sure you don’t lose the money you paid if the travel company collapses.

It also means you won’t be left stranded abroad if it happens while you’re on holiday.