Passengers share vacation disasters from the Thomas Cook collapse, including a ruined R600,000 wedding and 'being held hostage' by angry staff at a Tunisian hotel
- British travel company Thomas Cook declared bankruptcy early on Monday morning, leaving around 600,000 travelers stranded around the world.
- Travelers impacted by Thomas Cook's collapse are sharing their stories of cancelled vacations, lost money, and even being "held hostage."
- One woman and her family spent R600,000 on a wedding in Greece. Another couple were due to fly out for their wedding Monday morning, but woke to find their flight cancelled.
- Passengers overseas have also complained there has been little to no communication from the company about how to proceed in returning home.
- In one resort hotel in Tunisia, travelers complained that they are not being allowed to leave unless they pay the hotel money owed by Thomas Cook.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Passengers around the world left angry, confused and stranded after British travel company Thomas Cook declared bankruptcy on Monday are sharing their heartbreaking stories.
Around 600,000 travellers have been left stranded after the company collapsed early Monday when it failed to meet a deadline to secure new funding.
Among the stories being shared by customers impacted by the collapse of the company is that of Chloe Hardy, who was set to get married on the Greek island of Zakynthos in October.
Hardy, from Leicestershire in the UK, had her dream wedding with 33 guests booked in Zante with Thomas Cook.
"Our wedding is costing almost R220,000 with things we have bought here, the wedding package, everything we have organised with the resort wedding coordinator," Hardy told the BBC.
In total, the trip cost a combined R600,000 for all those attending, and was the result of several months of planning.
Speaking to the BBC on Saturday, prior to Thomas Cook's collapse, Hardy said: "I have emailed the wedding concierge and coordinator, neither has got back to me. We are unsure if we will be able to fly.
"Although, it's ATOL-protected I have booked three weeks' leave from work and there's no guarantee that I will be able to get time off if I had to re-book." The Air Travel Organiser's Licence (ATOL) is a widespread protection scheme for UK travellers.
It was a similar story for Layton Roche and his fiance, who woke up on the day they were due to travel for their wedding on the Greek island of Kos.
"Needless to say I'm absolutely gutted," Roche tweeted early this morning. "We literally woke up to go to the airport when we found out".
So our wedding and guest are booked with Thomas cook. Needless to say I'm absolutely gutted. All that hard work and effort seems to be crushed. ?? we literally woke up to go to the airport when we found out. So sorry for our guest as well â¤ x— layton roche (@layton_Metro) September 23, 2019
"A couple of years of planning and a whole lot of money has gone down the drain," Roche told the Guardian.
"Dreams have been crushed."
British tourists 'being held hostage' in Tunisian hotel after Thomas Cook collapse
While many travellers have been unable to go on their dream vacations, many more are stranded overseas by the collapse.
One tourist in Tunisia told the BBC that he and fellow guests at a vacation resort in the country are "being held hostage" over fears Thomas Cook is no longer able to pay the hotel money it is owed.
Ryan Farmer told the BBC that the Les Orangers resort in Hammamet in Tunisia demanded money from Thomas Cook guests, and barricaded the resort's gates.
He said when the guests refused to pay they were prevented from leaving the hotel by security guards.
"We've been up to the gates, they had four security guards on the gates, holding the gates closed, and were not allowing anybody to leave," Farmer said.
Many passengers were also left stranded across the world after Thomas Cook cancelled flights.
Joshua Speer is waiting to return to the UK from Turkey, but said that it has been nearly impossible to get information from the company over how guests will be brought home.
After sending a message to the company's help service on WhatsApp, he received an automated response informing him that: "The UK business has ceased trading with immediate effect and all future flights and vacations are cancelled."
The message detailed that "a dedicated support service is being provided by The Civil Aviation Authority," but there was no information given on when or how this support would come into effect, he said.
Others were yet to travel but reported how cancelled flights and vacations booked through Thomas Cook have caused them to lose out on money.
Ian Campbell tweeted that he had to cancel an entire vacation after the return flight was cancelled by Thomas Cook.
Having to cancel our entire holiday due to our return carrier being liquidated. Flight not ATOL protected, insurance wonâ€™t pay because we are yet to travel and we canâ€™t afford Â£3000 more to fly with another carrier. #gutted @ThomasCookUK @TCAirlinesUK @ThomasCookCares— Ian James Campbell (@Campbell_Ianj) September 23, 2019
He said his flight was not protected by ATOL, and not protected by insurance as he was yet to travel.
"We can't afford £3000 more to fly with another carrier," he said.
Former Thomas Cook employees have also been left devastated by the news they have lost their jobs over night.
One staff member, Lucy, tweeted on Monday to say she was "devastated beyond words" at the news.Despite the fact the company said it is halting operations, the now unemployed travel agent said she would be at her branch at 09:00 to help customers with any questions.
Receive a daily email with all our latest news: click here.
Also from Business Insider South Africa:
- Take a look: this is the 'Aerotropolis' that Durban’s government hopes will bring in R1 trillion in investment
- The US and Saudi Arabia are searching for a 'smoking gun' among wrecked weapons that will conclusively link Iran to the attacks on Saudi oil sites
- Chinese journalists will have to pass a government test on Marxism and President Xi Jinping to be granted press passes
- Flight attendants cringe when you order tea or coffee — and the reason is pretty gross
- 'Sorry about that': DStv streaming drops Springbok fans during first Rugby World Cup match against New Zealand
- Donald Trump’s new national security advisor reportedly came to SA to study apartheid – and speaks Afrikaans fluently
- A fake interview with Vladimir Putin demonstrates how convincing deepfakes could be created in real-time in just a matter of years