On 23rd September 2019 we bid a final farewell to Thomas Cook, one of the world’s leading UK package holiday companies, as it went into liquidation which resulted in absolute turmoil amongst staff and holidaymakers alike; a colossal total of 600,000 customers and 9,000 staff have been affected by this collapse.
Thousands of people are anxious about what the collapse will mean for them. Holiday makers, whether they are currently abroad or were meant to go on a Thomas Cook holiday in a few weeks, have been left in despair as all holidays with this company have been cancelled. It has caused mayhem amongst customers, particularly in the case of those who have booked weddings. Weddings are a one-off special occasion, however many have been stressed out at the possibility that their wedding might not take place. Andy Aitchison and Sharon Cook were all set to go to Las Vegas through Thomas Cook to get married, but the shutdown of the company disrupted their plans. Fortunately, they were put on a flight through Delta Air Lines and their wedding still went ahead when it was almost in ruins.
The government are doing everything they possibly can to help resolve the situation; they have set up Operation Matterhorn to help those already abroad return to the UK by putting on repatriation flights with other airlines, including EasyJet. The foreign secretary, Dominic Raab said that he would ensure that all customers return home. It cannot be predicted how successful this operation will be, but there is hope that it will go smoothly as after the Monarch Airlines collapse in 2017, 98% of their customers managed to fly home on the same day that they were meant to return just on a different airline. However, there is a worry that not all customers will be able to travel on these flights, because there is limited capacity onboard as they have to prioritise the customers who were originally booked onto that flight; for those returning from the Caribbean, there are no seats available. Another problem is that these repatriation flights are only running until 6th October, therefore those staying abroad for more than two weeks will have to make their own travel arrangements.
In terms of staff, of which include air hostesses, pilots, hotel reps and travel agents, they are questioning how they became jobless and what they are going to do next with regards to becoming employed again. One cabin crew member, Rachel Morrell walked over 200 miles to Westminster demanding for answers from the PM Boris Johnson but unfortunately was turned away.
“A colossal total of 600,000 customers and 9,000 staff have been affected by this collapse.”
Although many of the customers and staff want answers for the collapse, the causes of the collapse have stemmed from around 2015. First of all, the gas deaths of two Brits in 2015 sparked outrage amidst customers and Thomas Cook was accused of failing in their duty of care. The deaths of Bobby and Christi Shepherd, aged six and seven, was an unforgettable tragic event, triggering damage to the reputation of Thomas Cook. From then on their number of customers decreased dramatically as they simply lost trust in the company, therefore they decided to fly with other airlines instead. Subsequently, the company took a massive hit with competition from other airlines. Another part of the company’s inevitable demise last week is that people have drifted towards looking online for holidays or booking hotels and flights separately as oppose to booking a package holiday in a Thomas Cook store. Ultimately, this is why we have to say farewell to Thomas Cook.
Last modified: 10th October 2019