HOLIDAYMAKERS booked with Thomas Cook may be worried about upcoming trips after a profit warning and possible sale of its airline.
The travel firm says it has received “multiple bids” for the whole or parts of the airline business that it is “considering”.
EPA Holidaymakers will not be left out of pocket if the firm sells, splits or in the extremely unlikely event of closure
Sky News reports that it’s been approached by private equity group Triton who want to buy and takeover the Nordic arm of the business.
If the UK’s oldest travel company accepted an offer, it would mean handing over operations in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland.
Staff are reassuring customers that all holidays are still going ahead, despite struggling with massive debts worth £1.25billionn and has seen its value plummet from £2.2bn to £180m in one year.
Last Thursday, the firm issued a fresh profit warning and reported a half-year loss of almost £1.5bn after a goodwill write-off of £1.1bn, reports The Times.
Analysts at investment bank Citigroup branded their shares “worthless” and said they should be marked at zero.
Thomas Cook risks collapse plunging summer holiday bookings into turmoil as shares slump to new lows
It also said that there have been several bids for all or bits of its business.
The company has closed 21 of its stores and its currency arm Thomas Cook Money is under review, plus there are more “cost efficiencies” planned.
More of its 566 stores will close when leases end and 150 jobs are being cut from head off.
But if you’re a customer who has booked with Thomas Cook, is your holiday safe?
The good news is that holidaymakers will not be left out of pocket if the firm sells, splits or in the extremely unlikely event of closure.
How do I know if my holiday is ATOL protected?WHEN you book a holiday, the ATOL holder or their agent must give you a certificate confirming you are ATOL protected as soon as you hand over any money – including a deposit – for a holiday or flight.Make sure you obtain and keep all the relevant paperwork in case you need to make a claim.
But be aware, the protection only covers British-based firms, so it’s vital to check. When lowcostholidays went bust in 2016, customers weren’t protected by ATOL because the company had moved to Spain in 2013.
Some travel companies display the ATOL logo on their websites even though they don’t offer financial protection.
To check it’s genuine, look for a number on the logo and check it out on the CAA’s website.
You should be wary if the travel provider has no ATOL number, or if the number doesn’t have four or five digits.
If you aren’t sure about the website, don’t book through it.
Another key term Brits should be aware of is ABTA. While ATOL protects flight-based packages, ABTA protects everything else such as cruise or self-drive trips.
That’s because Thomas Cook holidays are ATOL protected.
By law, every UK travel company which sells package holidays and flights is required to hold an ATOL, which stands for Air Travel Organiser’s Licence.
If a travel company with an ATOL ceases trading, the scheme protects customers who had booked holidays with the firm – making sure they don’t get stranded abroad or end up out of pocket.
But what would happen if Thomas Cook or part of the business was sold?
Martyn James from Resover said: “When you book a holiday you enter in to a contract – so if another business takes over then your holiday transfers over to the new owners and you shouldn’t experience any problems.
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“However it pays to know your rights if a mistake or problem occurs.
“If the firm changes something about the holiday significantly (like the dates, hotel, flights) then you should be able to cancel without penalty – though I’d expect them to come up with a suitable alternative.”
He adds: “However, always take out a good travel insurance policy – and make sure it begins from the moment you book, so you’re covered if you can’t travel for any reason.”
A spokesperson for Thomas Cook said: “The group is currently evaluating this offer alongside the ongoing strategic review of its Group Airline, announced in February 2019.”
They added: “There can be no certainty that a transaction will be concluded with Triton Partners. Thomas Cook Group will make a further announcement as appropriate.”
Going on holiday soon? Read our guide to buying the best and cheapest travel insurance.
Video guide to family-friendly Casa Cook, the boutique hotel chain from Thomas Cook that’s set to open in Crete
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