Thomas Cook passengers could wait two months for refunds

Lianna Brinded
Head of Yahoo Finance UK
Thomas Cook workers enter its Spain HQ in Mallorca on 24 September. Photo: Clara Margais/Getty Images

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) revealed on Monday that Thomas Cook (TCG.L) passengers could have to wait up to two months for refunds for ATOL-protected Thomas Cook holidays.

The ATOL scheme also covers those who booked package holidays: it will pay for accommodation abroad and flight home if the airline has ceased operating. It will also refund for your holiday if it is booked for in the future. A total of 360,000 holidays are said by the CAA to be eventually refunded.

"This will be three times larger than any refund programme we have managed before, and we are implementing new systems to enable us to process these refunds as quickly as possible," the CAA said in a statement.

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However, if you have only booked a flight, you will have to speak to your credit card company to gain a refund. You may also be covered by travel insurance. These account for about 100,000 of bookings.

“We hope to refund these within the next 14 days,” the CAA added.

"Refunds of bookings made by other payment methods will take longer as we do not yet have all of the information we need from Thomas Cook. For these claims we will launch a new, simplified online system next Monday, 7 October, where consumers will be able to access an electronic refund form. We hope to pay refunds within 60 days of receiving a valid refund form."

What happens to Thomas Cook passengers?

Passengers of British travel group Thomas Cook queue at Son Sant Joan airport in Palma de Mallorca on 23 September. Photo: Jaime Reina/AFP/Getty Images

A week ago, Thomas Cook collapsed after months of trying to seal bailout cash from Chinese conglomerate Fosun and a number of other firms.

It led to an immediate cessation of trading — putting 22,000 jobs from around the world at risk, of which 9,000 are in the UK. It also meant 150,000 passengers were stranded, leading to the biggest ever peacetime repatriation of British people.

READ MORE: Thomas Cook is dead and 150,000 UK holidaymakers are stranded

The programme, called Operation Matterhorn, has scheduled more than 1,000 flights and will continue until Sunday 6 October. It is estimated to cost £100m ($124.3m).

The CAA said in its latest update today that it returned a further 14,000 Thomas Cook passengers to the UK on Sunday on 64 flights after flying back 106,000 people back to UK in the first seven days of the Operation Matterhorn repatriation programme.

It aims to return 8,000 people on Monday on 53 flights and has about 44,000 people to fly back by the deadline.

The UK government also has a dedicated website for all affected holidaymakers.