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Thomas Cook ceases trading leaving thousands of Welsh passengers in travel limbo

Travel giant Thomas Cook ceases trading in the early hours of Monday morning. Credit: PA

Thousands of holidaymakers in Wales have had their holiday plans cancelled after the collapse of Thomas Cook.

The travel giant ceased trading in the early hours of Monday morning after failing to secure a last-ditch rescue deal needed to keep the business afloat.

Holiday makers due to fly with Thomas Cook are advised not to travel to the airport.

The collapse of the travel giant means that for many passengers in Wales there holiday plans have been cancelled.

Laura Pearce had booked an all inclusive holiday with Thomas Cook and was set to fly on Friday for her son's second birthday.

She is hoping she will be able to get her money back.

Our reporter James Crichton-Smith was at Cardiff Airport on Monday morning where he said for the first time in 25 years Thomas Cook "doesn't feature on the departures board."

An estimated 150,000 tourists are due to be brought home by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in a programme costing £100 million.

The repatriation will involve flights from 53 airports in 18 countries.

Our thoughts are with our many friends and colleagues at Thomas Cook as well as our customers who have had their travel plans disrupted.

As one of the UK’s oldest tour operators, Thomas Cook is a well-known brand across South Wales, and our customers have been flying with them for some 25 years to enjoy holidays abroad.

Thomas Cook has ceased trading and all future flights from the UK are cancelled. Customers due to fly from Cardiff are advised not to travel to the Airport. All other flights are operating as normal.

We would like to reassure customers that we will do our upmost to support in the repatriation efforts.

– Deb Bowen Rees, CEO, Cardiff Airport

Advice for customers due to fly from Cardiff with Thomas Cook:

  • Customers are advised not to travel to the Airport
  • Please adhere to advice offered by the CAA
  • Flights to Antalya, Dalaman, Enfidha, Larnaca, Palma, Reus, Rhodes, Tenerife, Zakynthos and Arrecife continue to be operated by TUI, while Vueling Airlines also operates a regular service to Palma
  • Customers that were due to fly from Cardiff today and have not pre-booked and paid for car parking in advance can exit our car parks free of charge, please press the assistance button at the exit barrier
  • Customers that were due to fly from Cardiff today that have pre-booked and paid for car parking in advance should contact the company used to make the booking.

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Advice for customers due to return to Cardiff with Thomas Cook:

  • Your return flight with Thomas Cook will not operate as planned
  • Please adhere to advice offered by the CAA who will provide clear guidance on alternative travel options
  • Customers who arrive back in the UK after your expected return date will have any additional car parking fees waived on exit. Please press the assistance button at the exit barrier.

The Civil Aviation Authority has issued this advice. There is a Freephone number: 0300 303 2800.

What about those who have bookings and are yet to travel? All bookings have been cancelled and, according to the CAA, Thomas Cook customers in the UK who have yet to travel should not go to the airport as all flights leaving the UK have been grounded.

Who will pay for this? When Monarch Airlines went bust in October 2017, the Government spent £60 million hiring planes to get passengers home. A figure has not been given but bringing back Thomas Cook passengers will likely cost more than this.

What type of bookings are protected? The scheme protects most trips booked as a package, such as flights and accommodation, or flights and car hire. It also applies to some flight-only bookings, particularly when the tickets are not received immediately.

What protection does it offer? If a business collapses while you are on holiday, the scheme will make sure you can finish your holiday and return home.Customers who have not yet left home will be given a refund or replacement holiday.

What can I do if my trip is not Atol protected? Under normal circumstances, passengers who are not ATOL protected would be asked to find, and pay for, their own way home. Holidaymakers can usually apply to their credit or debit card provider to be reimbursed. Not all travel insurance policies provide coverage when a firm collapses.

But in this case, the DfT said everyone on a Thomas Cook holiday with a return flight to the UK within the two weeks will be brought home free of charge, whether they are Atol protected or not and regardless of their nationality.

While I understand that this is a commercial decision, I fully recognise that this an extremely worrying and uncertain time for all those affected. My department is committed to working closely with the Department for Transport, UK Civil Aviation Authority, Welsh Government and other agencies and partners to ensure that those affected, including Welsh holidaymakers and staff based in Wales, receive prompt advice and support.

– Alun Cairns MP, Secretary of State for Wales