THOMAS Cook yesterday defended claiming compensation from the Greek hotel where two children died in 2006, amid fears that the incident could lead to a consumer backlash against the tour operator.
A spokesperson said that chief executive Peter Fankhauser had sent a letter of apology to parents Neil Shepherd and Sharon Wood on Friday after their children Bobby and Christianne Shepherd died from fumes leaked by a faulty boiler at the Louis Corcyra beach hotel.
Thomas Cook also confirmed that it had been awarded a payout from the hotel. However, it insisted the costs that it incurred from the incident and the trial “far exceed” the amount it received.
The firm did not disclose the sum but according to The Mail on Sunday it received around £3.5m to cover loss of profits and other expenses. The parents claim to have received around a tenth of that figure, telling the paper: “It seems our children’s lives are worth only a fraction of Thomas Cook’s reputation.”
People took to Twitter this weekend to criticise Thomas Cook’s handling of the deaths, with several calling for a boycott and for the firm to transfer the payout to the family.
While cleared of wrongdoing in 2010 an inquest last week found the group “breached its duty of care”.