Belfast Telegraph

Holiday questions answered

Q. I have a Thomas Cook package holiday booked. Will it go ahead?

A. Almost certainly not. The Civil Aviation Authority says: "In some cases we will appoint a fulfilment partner to provide the holiday." But that would be a rare event, and it is much more usual that your holiday will be cancelled.

Q. Will I get my money back?

A. Yes. All package holidays sold in the UK are protected by the Atol scheme, administered by the CAA. Current customers who paid for some or all of the trip by credit card will be told to apply to their card issuer for a full refund, whether for a package holiday (flights and accommodation bought in the same transaction) or a flight-only ticket. People who paid for a package holiday with a debit card should make a claim under the Atol scheme. However, obtaining a refund could take months.

Flight-only customers who paid with a debit card can ask the bank for reimbursement under the 'chargeback' scheme. Although there is no legal requirement for debit card issuers to pay out if the supplier collapses, this voluntary scheme is likely to provide cover. If your bank does not refund you, travel insurance may help.

Q. I have flight-only tickets with Thomas Cook. Who refunds me?

A. These are unlikely to be Atol protected. If you paid with a credit card, you should be able to get a refund under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act - as long as the purchase is over £100. If it is less than that, or you paid with a debit card, go for 'chargeback'.

If you handed over cash for flights, your best hope is travel insurance.

Q. I booked Thomas Cook flights, but arranged accommodation and car rental separately. Who do I claim from?

A. You have no automatic right of refund. Ask the providers of the room and rental car if they will allow you to cancel without penalty. If they do not offer a refund, you then have the option to go ahead with the trip using replacement flights (which could well be more expensive) or abandon the holiday and try to claim for "consequential losses" from your insurer.

Q. My trip is a package holiday from a different firm, but with Thomas Cook flights. Will it go ahead if Thomas Cook fails?

A. Probably. The tour operator who put the trip together will need to try to find alternative flights. It may be that these will cost much more, and you may be asked to pay the difference. Were this to happen, you should be able to ask for a full refund instead.

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