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Anxious holidaymakers bombard Thomas Cook with messages wondering about possible travel chaos

Anxious holidaymakers are bombarding Thomas Cook with messages revealing their worries about returning home as the beleaguered tour company appears to be near collapsing.

The business’ hopes of an eleventh hour government bailout appear to have been dashed by ministers who will refuse to pump more money into the flagging business.

A £200million emergency funding plea was made by bosses yesterday to rescue the world’s oldest holiday company from the brink of collapse. 

With chances of either a private and taxpayer-funded cash injection wafer thin, some of their 600,000 holidaymakers are rushing to airports around the world to fly home. 

Messages from worried customers have started flooding in, wondering what will happen to their holiday plans they booked through the company. 

Yesterday passengers flying from Antalya, Turkey, to Glasgow were relieved to have boarded what could be one of Thomas Cook’s last ever flights. But when a fault with the plane prevented it from taking off, they were stranded at the airport overnight

These tired travellers were seen slumped on suitcases, waiting to see if their flight would be resumed before Thomas Cook's 'likely' collapse - which would leave them stuck

These tired travellers were seen slumped on suitcases, waiting to see if their flight would be resumed before Thomas Cook’s ‘likely’ collapse – which would leave them stuck 

Two women revealed they were getting married next week and planning to fly out on honeymoon two days later.    

Thomas Cook said that all their package holidays continue to remain full ATOL protected. 

One Twitter user with the name Joan Liceaga said: ‘I have close family due to fly back from Cyprus on Wed and I’m worried about them getting home. Will they be OK?’

Thomas Cook responded: ‘Hello Joan. We understand you are unsettled by all the media speculation surrounding Thomas Cook. ^Phoebe’.

Another Twitter user replied: ‘Helpful!’ 

Messages from worried customers have started flooding in, wondering what will happen to their holiday plans they booked through the company

Messages from worried customers have started flooding in, wondering what will happen to their holiday plans they booked through the company

One concerned customer said her son was meant to be flying to Florida from Glasgow on Monday morning, and he would be ‘absolutely devastated’ if he couldn’t go. 

‘Your Galashiels branch didn’t breathe a word of this while I was in there today,’ she said, referring to reports of the travel chaos. 

A Thomas Cook spokesperson said: ‘I understand you might be unsettled by all the media speculation surrounding Thomas Cook. 

‘The plans we have announced, and the process we continue to work through, will, when executed, provide even greater certainty for Thomas Cook’s future.’

The customer responded: ‘That’s quite vague. I know its your generic message that you’re giving all customers, but my son flies out in 2 days time. Do you have any timescales for telling customers more definite facts?’

Thomas Cook has not yet responded to the post on Twitter, which was made at 8:47am on Saturday. 

Yesterday passengers flying from Antalya, Turkey, to Glasgow were relieved to have boarded what could be one of Thomas Cook’s last ever flights.

But when a fault with the plane prevented it from taking off, they were stranded at the airport overnight. 

These tired travellers were seen slumped on suitcases, waiting to see if their flight would be resumed before Thomas Cook’s ‘likely’ collapse – which would leave them stuck.

Thomas Cook insisted that their flights were running as normal and customers should not abandon their travel plans

Thomas Cook insisted that their flights were running as normal and customers should not abandon their travel plans

A source close to bailout talks between Thomas Cook and prospective lenders told the Times that it was ‘more than likely’ the travel business would go into administration.

And insiders told Sky News that the company was on the verge of giving up on a possible rescue.  

Whitehall sources told the Mail that plans, dubbed Operation Matterhorn, are already being worked out to bring home the 150,000 stranded British tourists.

The cost of this mammoth repatriation operation is estimated to be around £600million. 

While it may therefore appear cost-efficient for the government to foot the £200million bailout bill, ministers reportedly believe the expense of Operation Matterhorn can be claimed on insurance. 

Yet the government is being urged by the Transport Salaried Staffs Association to step in to help save the tour operator from going out of business. 

General Secretary Manuel Cortes called for an urgent meeting with Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom.

He said in a letter: ‘It is incumbent upon the Government to act if required and save this iconic cornerstone of the British high street and the thousands of jobs that go with it.

‘Thomas Cook can be a highly successful business and must be given every opportunity to flourish. I urge you to stand ready to assist Thomas Cook with real financial support.

Check-in at Thomas Cook at Gatwick showed people queueing for flights without knowing how they might return

Check-in at Thomas Cook at Gatwick showed people queueing for flights without knowing how they might return

‘The company must be rescued no matter what. No British government in its right mind would countenance the loss of so many jobs and the prospect of just one major travel operator – TUI – controlling the mass market.’

Labour’s shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey said: ‘This is yet more evidence of this Government’s indifference to British jobs and businesses going under.

‘All viable options must be explored by Thomas Cook and the Government must consider stepping in and taking an equity stake to avoid this crisis.

‘Refusing to do so is ideological shortsightedness: the Government faces a simple choice between a £200 million Government cash injection to save the company now versus a £600 million bill to repatriate UK holidaymakers.’

This morning Thomas Cook insisted that their flights were running as normal and customers should not abandon their travel plans. 

In response to a concerned holidaymaker, it tweeted: ‘Our business is operating as normal and we are looking forward to welcoming you on your arrival in your chosen holiday destination.’

This morning Thomas Cook insisted that their flights were running as normal and customers should not abandon their travel plans

This morning Thomas Cook insisted that their flights were running as normal and customers should not abandon their travel plans

But rather than stonewalling suggestions of collapse as it was yesterday, the holiday company is now advising customers of their options ‘in the event that Thomas Cook goes into administration’.

Yet the uncertainty of the holiday giant’s future has left people fearing their travel plans will be cancelled.  

Steve Higson told MailOnline: ‘We’re here in Las Vegas on a Thomas Cook flight, due to return home to Manchester this Friday. 

Are you scrambling to get home? 

Email henry.martin@mailonline.co.uk or call 02036150522 

‘We’re making plans in case the flight doesn’t happen. We’ve looked at flying home with Virgin but they’ve already put the flight price up to over £1900! 

‘The easiest and cheapest option appears to fly to somewhere like New York or Toronto then home from there, looking at a couple of flight changes and a 36-hour journey though!’  

Ryan Towers and fiancée Louise Jones have been counting down the days until their £12,000 nuptials on October 4 which they booked 18 months ago. 

The pair from Leicester are planning on flying out in 10 days taking around 30 family and friends to the Canary Island hotspot.

But they are now among the 200,000 holidaymakers fearful for their bookings, especially after news tonight the travel agency is abandoning hope of a private sector rescue deal.

Ryan Towers and fiancée Louise Jones fear for their dream Lanzarote wedding in two weeks as Thomas Cook faces collapse

Ryan Towers and fiancée Louise Jones fear for their dream Lanzarote wedding in two weeks as Thomas Cook faces collapse

Car dealership worker Ryan, 24, told The Mirror: ‘I woke up this morning to hear the news, just 10 days before we are due to fly. We are left not knowing what the situation is.’

‘My partner and I are footing the bill, which is £12,000. I’ve got the gamble of whether to hope Thomas Cook pulls through or cancel and pay £200 per person, that’s £6,000.’ 

They plan to get married at the Amura restaurant in Puerto Calero and stay at the nearby Lomo Blanco apartments but now face a nervous wait.

The 178-year-old travel agency has been struggling for years to finance its £1.6billion debt mountain and its problems have been exacerbated by the UK heatwave two years ago and contracting consumer spending due to Brexit fears, while new online competitors crowd out the sector.

Tonight, possible rescue scenarios have been ditched after it became clear the company would become insolvent within hours, according to Sky News. 

Investors including its biggest shareholder, Fosun of China, have refused to provide more cash, having already committed to a £900million rescue package. 

As the company’s share price crashed by 23 per cent yesterday to just over 3.5p, sources insisted there were still ‘reasonable prospects’ of a deal. 

They plan to get married at the Amura restaurant in Puerto Calero (pictured) and stay at the nearby Lomo Blanco apartments but now face a nervous wait

They plan to get married at the Amura restaurant in Puerto Calero (pictured) and stay at the nearby Lomo Blanco apartments but now face a nervous wait

But bosses may have to call in the administrators as early as tomorrow if they cannot find the £200million. 

Ryan and Louise have paid the deposit for their wedding and have been paying off the rest monthly.

The pair booked with Thomas Cook but its flights are with easyJet. But this won’t help the couple as the precarious travel agents say the flights won’t go ahead if it collapses.

The firm is seeking £200million in funding as it attempts to avoid going under, but some insiders said it could fold as early as Sunday. Administrators have already been lined up.

It means travellers face a 24-hour scramble to get home or face being stranded abroad.

Thomas Cook had hoped to keep airlines in the UK, Germany and northern Europe out of administration while letting its British tour operating arm fail, but the plan was dismissed for its complexity.

The 178-year-old travel agency has been struggling for years to finance its £1.6billion debt mountain

The 178-year-old travel agency has been struggling for years to finance its £1.6billion debt mountain

Among the families whose Thomas Cook holidays began under a cloud yesterday were Murray and Barbara Lee.

As they flew out from Gatwick airport for a 10-day break in Antalya, Turkey, they said they were worried about being stranded abroad if the travel firm goes under.

We’re worried we’ll be stranded abroad

Among the families whose Thomas Cook holidays began under a cloud yesterday were Murray and Barbara Lee.

Murray and Barbara Lee are worried about being stranded in Antalya, Turkey

Murray and Barbara Lee are worried about being stranded in Antalya, Turkey

As they flew out from Gatwick airport for a 10-day break in Antalya, Turkey, they said they were worried about being stranded abroad if the travel firm goes under.

The couple, from Bushey, Hertfordshire, said they had packed extra heart and blood medication in case they ended up being away longer than planned.

They have also looked at alternative return flights as a precaution after learning about the operator’s potential collapse in the Daily Mail.

Mr Lee, 64, who runs his own estate agency, said he ‘cannot afford’ any delays returning to the UK, adding: ‘I am self-employed and I have responsibilities. Even a day or two would cause problems.’

The couple, from Bushey, Hertfordshire, said they had packed extra heart and blood medication in case they ended up being away longer than planned.

They have also looked at alternative return flights as a precaution after learning about the operator’s potential collapse in the Daily Mail.

Mr Lee, 64, who runs his own estate agency, said he ‘cannot afford’ any delays returning to the UK, adding: ‘I am self-employed and I have responsibilities. Even a day or two would cause problems.’ 

The demise of one of the world’s oldest travel companies would mean huge job losses – the company still has 550 high street stores and employs 22,000 staff. 

Tim Everett, 30, from York, who has been paying £250 a month for a £3,500 trip to Zante in Greece next week with his fiancee and two children, fears their holiday is in jeopardy.

He said: ‘We’re worried about being stranded abroad if Thomas Cook goes under – that would be a nightmare.

‘I tweeted asking about our holiday and they sent a message which made absolutely no sense. I imagine they are inundated with others in the same boat.’

Thomas Cook bosses have met the Civil Aviation Authority as call centre staff ready themselves to help with a potential £600million repatriation effort if the firm goes under.

Staff provider Tele-performance started offering £10-per-hour jobs starting immediately to deal with the fallout, according to The Sun. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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