The holiday company Thomas Cook went into liquidation on 23rd September 2019, with thousands of people nationwide affected by their sudden collapse. Some Llanelli residents lost their Thomas Cook pre-booked holiday whilst others were overseas when the Company collapsed.

Llanelli Online spoke to  local resident Ann Wagner-Millward who lost her holiday with Thomas Cook. Ann booked a holiday to Zante to depart on the 6th of October 2019. After Ann received news of their closure she quickly tried to arrange a replacement holiday. Booking another holiday however was not that easy.

Ann went to the websites of TUI/First Choice when news spread of Thomas Cook’s collapse but that websites kept crashing. Eventually, when she was able to access the TUI/First Choice website she noticed that one holiday had increased in price between viewing the holiday details and going to the sites booking page. Ann said: “The price increase was £176.28 in a matter of 20 seconds”.

She continued: “I had screenshots of a few potential holidays on the morning of the announcement ready to look at after I finished work”. 

“I found one holiday to Cyprus had gone up from £605 per person to £1280 per person and then increased again to £1412 pp”. 

This was a price increase of £807 per person for one holiday.

Llanelli Online contacted TUI regarding the reports of their significant price increases. We asked them if they could provide us with an explanation. 

A spokesperson from TUI said: “We really feel for everyone affected by the collapse of Thomas Cook.

“Unfortunately, we’ve had to cancel any TUI and First Choice bookings featuring Thomas Cook flights for any customers due to travel from Monday 23rd September until 31st October 2019. We will be contacting these customers to offer a full refund or to explore alternative options, should they still wish to travel.

“TUI uses a dynamic pricing model which means that our prices can go up or down. There are many variables that have to be taken in to account including peak dates of travel, regional airport differences and which channel our customers book through.”

Thankfully, not all companies have increased their prices so steeply. Ann was able to book a replacement holiday to Rhodes. The holiday company ‘On the Beach’ was able to provide a holiday for Ann and, although she believes ‘the prices are steeper’ than she would have paid prior to the fall of Thomas Cook, they were not the significant increases being charged by TUI and First Choice.

The CAA, Civil Aviation Authority, has advised that the claim process for future ATOL bookings with Thomas Cook will open on the week beginning 7 October 2019. 

ATOL advises: ‘Customers who paid for their Thomas Cook holiday via direct debit will be contacted via email regarding their refund and it will be paid directly into their bank account…..The process is expected to take approximately 14 days.’

Unfortunately, the refund process is expected to take longer for those who paid for their Thomas Cook holidays via other methods than direct debits.

For Thomas Cook customers requiring more information please see: https://thomascook.caa.co.uk/

Images/screenshots provided by Ann Wagner-Millward

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