Refunds for package holidays booked with liquidated UK travel giant Thomas Cook could take up to two months to reach customers, the UK’s aviation body warned today.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said that while direct debit customers can expect refunds within two weeks, other people face a wait of up to 60 days.
Thomas Cook customers who bought package holidays are insured by the CAA’s Air Travel Organiser’s Licence scheme (Atol).
But the tour operator’s collapse means the regulator must refund 360,000 customers – triple the number it has ever had to refund in any previous programme.
“We are implementing new systems to enable us to process these refunds as quickly as possible,” the CAA said.
It hopes to refund 100,000 direct debit bookings in the next 14 days, but for other claims it will launch an online refund form next week.
“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,” CAA chief executive Richard Moriarty said.
“We hope to pay refunds within 60 days of receiving a valid refund form.”
Meanwhile 106,000 Thomas Cook customers have been flown home since being stranded abroad when the tour operator fell into liquidation.
The government and the CAA’s Operation Matterhorn scheme to bring home 150,000 Brits has used more than 100 aircraft to fly back holidaymakers.
Yesterday 64 flights took place to repatriate 14,000 passengers.
The programme will continue until Sunday, 6 October, when the total number of repatriation flights will hit almost 1,000.
“We remain firmly focused on the enormity of the challenge we still have to deliver,” Moriarty said. “We have returned over 100,000 people to the UK, but there are still over 43,000 people on holiday abroad due to return on or before 6 October.
“The scale and complexity of this operation will inevitably cause some inconvenience and disruption and I would like to thank holidaymakers for bearing with us.”
Main image credit: Getty