Tour company Thomas Cook collapses, stranding travelers

Pedestrians walk past a branch of a Thomas Cook travel agent's shop in London on July 12, 2019.Pedestrians walk past a branch of a Thomas Cook travel agent’s shop in London on July 12, 2019. TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is working to accommodate Thomas Cook travelers who are currently abroad on an “ATOL protected package holiday” — but travelers who only booked a hotel outside of a holiday package are out of luck.

ATOL (which stands for Air Travel Organiser’s Licence) is a UK financial protection scheme that protects most air package holidays sold by travel businesses that are based in the UK.  

If you booked a Thomas Cook package: Travellers on an ATOL-protected holiday should have received an ATOL Certificate either by email or by post. 

The CAA statement said the authority would figure out the bill with the hotels directly, and protected travelers should not make payments to their hotel unless instructed otherwise.

If you didn’t book a package: Thomas Cook customers that only booked a hotel and no package will not be bailed out by the CAA. ATOL protection only applies to hotels when booked as part of an air-inclusive holiday package.

“Consequently, if you bought a hotel only, this will not be ATOL protected. You should contact your card issuer, bank, or travel insurer for advice on whether you can claim a refund,” the CAA said. 

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