The Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (MCCAA) has issued a guidance document to assist travellers who could have been hurt by the unexpected insolvency and closure of Thomas Cook, according to a press statement sent to Business Malta.
After last-minute negotiations aimed at saving the 178-year-old holiday firm failed, Thomas Cook collapsed, according to BBC. Beyond UK customers, hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers from other countries have been affected by the collapse, the Guardian reports.
A ‘rescue flight’ was sent to take Thomas Cook passengers from the Malta International Airport to the London Gatwick airport on 23 September.
The MCCAA urges Thomas Cook travellers to check first whether they have received an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (ATOL) certificate upon booking, as that document offers financial protection for insolvency. Holding such a certificate grants travellers the right to claim a refund for the unused travel services with the British Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
The MCCAA notes that starting from 30 September, Monday, the CAA will launch a service to manage all refunds within two months of receipt of fully completed claims forms, with further information on the process being announced on the official webpage of CAA in the coming days.
Travellers who do not hold an ATOL certificate are suggested to check their travel insurance policy to investigate further whether they are eligible for a refund. Consumers having paid by credit card are advised to check with their banks whether the payment can be reversed.
Consumers having booked through a travel agency or agent are recommended to contact their travel operator or agency and check for alternative travel arrangements.
Operating up until 6 October, a repatriation programme helps passengers stranded abroad to return to the United Kingdom. After the given date, passengers will be required to make their own travel arrangements.
Passengers stranded abroad with a return flight that is not UK-bound will have to make their own travel arrangements and then seek refund either through the ATOL protection scheme or through their insurance or bank, the MCCAA says.
To further assist stranded passengers, Air Malta launched a rescue fare to and from various destinations. Tickets are offered on an availability basis and are available only to Thomas Cook’s flight ticket holders or package holiday vouchers, the MCCAA reports.
The MCCAA is ready to assist troubled travellers further and can be contacted via email or by calling the +356 8007 4400 freephone number.