What to do if you booked a holiday in Dubai with Thomas Cook
It’s the end of an era, Thomas Cook, a 178-year old travel company, has gone bust. So what do you do if you’re right in the middle of a Thomas Cook holiday in Dubai?
Thomas Cook ‘was’ an English travel and holiday booking company, compiling together flights, activities and accommodation for you all under a stress-free package deal. Due to a lack of differentiation, diversification, and Brexit fears though, the popularity of the business rapidly dwindled over the last few years and has now been forced into liquidation and collapsed.
All holidays, flights and bookings have been cancelled as of September 23, with refunds being made to people over the next two months the company assures. For people currently on a Thomas Cook holiday, for those in Dubai hoping to go back to the UK for example, what’s going to happen?
What is ATOL Protection?
Firstly, to be eligible for any of the solutions, you need to have booked a package deal with Thomas Cook rather than a series of separate bookings through the company. All package deals come with ATOL Protection. This means you’re covered for an “airline failure”, or if the company cannot provide you with what you paid for. It means all the expenses to resolve the problem are covered.
If you don’t have this protection, you must sort all the arrangements yourself or via your insurance. Sorry!
Flying back home
The British government has chartered 45 jets to bring customers home and they will fly 64 routes starting Monday September 23, these flights will continue for two weeks till October 6. This mission is dubbed Operation Matterhorn. The size of the fleet will make it temporarily the UK's fifth-largest airline.
Flights are also being organised via separate airlines. Thomas Cook’s website may be gone, but it has a temporary presence to address all these issues. The site lists these rescheduled flights. The company has listed rescheduling for numerous airports, though Dubai is not currently one of them.
It urges customers not to go fly home early on their own coin as arrangements will be made over the two weeks and you’re told to get in touch with the Civil Aviation Authority on the status of your flight. However, if no solution can be found for your flight in two weeks (up to October 6), it’s then your responsibility to fly yourself home.
If you are not ATOL protected, you must contact your credit card company or insurance company if you have one, on the method to fly back home.
More than 160,000 UK holidaymakers are stuck, with 600,000 globally. Those global customers must wait to hear from their respective governments.
Paying for your hotel during your holiday
The news is out, Thomas Cook has no money. How then will it pay for your hotel during your holiday? Again, if you are ATOL protected, Thomas Cook has the duty to still cover your hotel fee.
According to reports, some hotels have demanded payment from customers, in this situation Thomas Cook and the CAA will negotiate with the hotel on a payment plan and pay at a later date. If this fails to be agreed, Thomas Cook will move you to a different hotel before your flight home.
What about Dubai customers?
Those that used Thomas Cook to get from the UK to Dubai are at the mercy of the CAA for the time being.
However, Dubai offices of the brand are unaffected according to Gulf News. Thomas Cook in Dubai is owned by the Indian branch of Thomas Cook, which severed from the UK counterpart back in 2012.
A spokesperson from Rostamani Travels told Gulf News,
“We are not affected because we are affiliated with Thomas Cook India, which is a completely different entity.
“We are only indirectly affected by the collapse because customers keep calling to try and cancel their holidays, but we are having to explain that we are in no way affiliated with the collapse. Hopefully this [speaking to the press] will help clear this confusion,” the spokesperson added.
People who used Thomas Cook in Dubai have no cause for concern, your holiday should be totally fine. It’s only if you’re in Dubai via Thomas Cook UK that you have a problem.
You can check out Thomas Cook’s emergency website here that provides information on all the issues customers may be facing.