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Thomas Cook Collapse – Hundreds of Thousands of Travelers Stranded & 21000 Jobs Lost

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The tour operator Thomas Cook has collapsed leaving hundreds of thousands of travelers stranded abroad. All flights and vacations booked through the company have been canceled, and all retail stores closed. 

Thomas Cook immediately grounded all flights in the middle of the night, halted all of its hotels services and laid off over 21,000 employees. 

Overall, around 600,000 people were travelling with the company as of Sunday, though it was unclear how many of them would be left stranded.  Thomas Cook says it served 22 million customers a year.

Thomas Cook Planes Grounded

A stream of reports Monday morning began to expose the extent of the chaos: 50,000 Thomas Cook travelers were stranded in Greece, 30,000 stuck in Spain's Canary Islands,  21,000 were left in Turkey and 15,000 were in Cyprus. Airports saw long lines of Thomas Cook travelers looking for other ways to get home safely. 

An estimated 1 million future travelers also found their bookings for upcoming holidays with Thomas Cook cancelled. Many of them could receive refunds under travel insurance but most had no idea when they would get their money back.

The UK government and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) says a massive operation has started to bring over 160,000 UK travelers home.
Codenamed Operation Matterhorn, it's been called the UK's biggest ever peacetime repatriation.
Thomas Cook Airplanes sit on Tarmac

Thomas Cook began operations in 1841 with same day train excursions in England. The company then grew to have travel operations around the world but has been struggling for years due to competition from low cost airlines and the ease of booking cheap accommodations through the internet.

Adding to its debt, Thomas Cook operated 105 airline jets and had extensive real estate costs, including about 550 travel shops and 200 hotels in tropical countries.

(Photo: Euro News)

If you are a current or future traveler with Thomas Cook, refer to this guide on “What travelers affected by the Thomas Cook Collapse need to know

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Man Everywhere

Tuesday 24th of September 2019

That's very bad news, being such a big company, I don't know how it came to this. I hope those affected find solutions quickly.

Trevor Kucheran

Tuesday 8th of October 2019

So many people would have been affected by the lay-offs and definitely sad to see! Thanks for the comment