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>> No. 20318 Anonymous
23rd September 2019
Monday 10:11 am
20318 Thomas Cook collapses as last-ditch rescue talks fail

Thomas Cook has collapsed after last-minute negotiations aimed at saving the 178-year-old holiday firm failed.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said the tour operator had "ceased trading with immediate effect".

It has also triggered the biggest ever peacetime repatriation, aimed at bringing more than 150,000 British holidaymakers home.

Peter Fankhauser, Thomas Cook's chief executive, said the firm's collapse was a "matter of profound regret".
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>> No. 20319 Anonymous
23rd September 2019
Monday 6:58 pm
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It sort of boggle a bit that a company this old can just go out of business overnight.

How fucking incompetent can you be? Has anyone brought up IIIWW fears causing people to holiday at home as a possible reason for this? I have no facts to back this up, it's just a hunch.
>> No. 20320 Anonymous
23rd September 2019
Monday 7:08 pm
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They've been in financial trouble for some time. Their share price collapsed in 2012, leading to a rescue deal. IIIWW has had an impact, but their business model is just very old-fashioned. Very few people use high-street travel agencies, package holidays aren't nearly as popular as they used to be and online comparison sites have led to ruthless competition on price. They've been making losses for some time, culminating in a loss of nearly £1.5bn this year.
>> No. 20321 Anonymous
23rd September 2019
Monday 7:13 pm
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Wasn't there some news about them earlier in the year? I seem to recall some fuck up happening not too long ago, figured they were on their way out.
>> No. 20322 Anonymous
23rd September 2019
Monday 7:17 pm
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My previous job had them as a client, and there were definitely rumblings then. I'll bet the team lead is now kicking himself for insisting on doing bespoke work for them as a priority.
>> No. 20323 Anonymous
23rd September 2019
Monday 7:44 pm
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The nail in the coffin for them was that people caught wind of them being in trouble as early as last year, and so didn't book as many holidays through them so as not to risk exactly what has happened to current customers.

It's basically exactly what happened to Monarch. Once the public catches a whiff of trouble, the numbers plummet.
>> No. 20324 Anonymous
23rd September 2019
Monday 7:45 pm
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There's always something or another. Most of the issues tend to revolve around the hotels they use having poor hygiene or maintenance. The type of things that aren't directly Thomas cooks fault, but they arguably could have done a much better job at vetting the places they send people to.

Either way, all those problems are part of the reason why the package holiday model just isn't a sustainable business any longer. When you book a holiday direct it's the customers responsibility to try and find a decent place to stay, and their responsibility to take action against any faults with the service they pay for. When you deal with a middle-man, they have been increasingly facing the threat of any faults with the service leading to bad publicity and legal proceedings against themselves, whilst at the same time under pressure to move to cheaper and cheaper suppliers and hide details from their customers.
>> No. 20325 Anonymous
23rd September 2019
Monday 7:57 pm
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Any business that relies on high street shops is going to be in trouble, particularly one that's only offering a service. The high street package model is long dead, since there are plenty of websites and individuals with dodgy looking facebook pages that can do you the same, or better deals and still remain ATOL protected.

There's still room for package holidays, but really people like Jet2 have the right idea - they still have travel agents, but they are based in airports and serve double duty as check in agents too, plus there's a lot fewer of them since they don't have retail outlets.

There's also a distinction between Jet2 Holidays and the airline, meaning, I suppose, that one can fail without the other being taken down with it - and as the actual airline part of TCX was profitable, that would have come in handy here.
>> No. 20326 Anonymous
23rd September 2019
Monday 9:26 pm
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>plus there's a lot fewer of them since they don't have retail outlets.

Retail outlets are almost universally a bad idea nowadays for many products or services because they lead to fixed costs. Your shop needs to pay rent, electricity, heat and water no matter how many packaged holidays the people working in it will sell.

The barber I go to once a month is lucky enough to be just off the high street in the city centre here, so his shop always has enough walk-by customers, in addition to repeat customers like me. He's doing well because you can't really order a haircut online. Yet.

Really the only people that you still attract with a travel agency shop are those who aren't Internet savvy. And those are then made to pay through the nose. My mum has a friend who is almost 70 and she still goes to the same hotel near Sorrento every year where she and her late husband used to go for many years. It's a five-star hotel with its own private beach, so you can expect it to cost a bit, but she told me it's £4,000 each time for her to spend two weeks there full-board including airfare. Her husband was a self-employed businessman who left her a decent sum of money, so it's the kind of money she can readily spend once a year. But I looked up her hotel a while ago on a price comparison site, and it said a two-week stay there in mid-July would have cost around £2,300. The best price for airfare from Glasgow to Naples round-trip that I found was around £350 with Jet2, I think. So we're talking over £1,000, possibly almost £1,500 that her travel agent pockets off her every year.
>> No. 20328 Anonymous
24th September 2019
Tuesday 1:17 pm
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He's doing well because you go to him once a month!
>> No. 20329 Anonymous
24th September 2019
Tuesday 1:53 pm
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Yes but also because I can't order a haircut on a price comparison web site once a month.

Not yet anyway. Maybe there'd be money in that somehow.
>> No. 20346 Anonymous
30th September 2019
Monday 8:51 pm
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Why are Thomas Cook employees blaming the Tories for this?
>> No. 20347 Anonymous
30th September 2019
Monday 9:22 pm
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They thought the airline was 'too big to fail' like the banks were. It seems like a lot of people were expecting the government to sort it out.

I honestly don't know why. I work in the industry and I fully don't understand why they thought they'd be bailed out, why they were genuinely surprised when they landed last week and they were no longer employed. They were literally working on planes that were bought in liquidation from Monarch, airlines go bust all the time, but these fuckwits were coming in to work anyway thinking it'd all be fine in the end. I just don't understand how they didn't see it coming, even with CAA planes being positioned out ready for repatriations a fortnight before.

I get that internally they were probably being lied to about how the company was definitely fine and not to worry about it, but I just think anyone who didn't jump ship at the start of the season is rather daft. We've been talking about the imminent collapse for about a year.

On another note though, I'm not sure why instead of spending huge amounts of money on last minute charter planes to repatriate people, the government didn't just put that money into keeping the TCX planes in the air until everyone was back home - employees would have had an extra few weeks pay and time to transition to other work, the planes could have been moved into better positions for sale, they wouldn't have to have Atol agents posted at every airport in the UK around the clock for a month, and it would have been a LOT cheaper than the way they've done it. I'm sure there's a reason, but I don't see it.
>> No. 20348 Anonymous
30th September 2019
Monday 9:42 pm
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>Why the government didn't just put that money into keeping the TCX planes in the air until everyone was back home
>I'm sure there's a reason, but I don't see it.

The lack of a stable functioning government is probably a big part of the reason.
>> No. 20349 Anonymous
30th September 2019
Monday 9:53 pm
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>put that money into keeping the TCX planes in the air until everyone was back home

There are a couple of problems though - the minute an airline goes bust in any way, they lose their Air Operator Certificate - you can't staff or run planes commercially for any purpose without one of those; because they mostly lease the planes, the actual owners of those planes also don't want them to be used without an operating certificate, and in the event of the airline going bust, actually want them back and sold on as quickly as possible.

Hence the reason they had to charter a load of weird planes to bring everyone back. I guess if the airline had actually owned the planes, maybe a rescue deal/temporary operator certificate could be sorted out, but it's not the sort of change that you can implement in a few days.
>> No. 20350 Anonymous
30th September 2019
Monday 10:07 pm
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Two days before this happened I was at a Labour meeting about the climate crisis. The window behind the MP was open on a Thomas Cook shop, people wandering in and out.
I don't know if there's any sort of irony in this but it has been weird.
>> No. 20351 Anonymous
30th September 2019
Monday 10:57 pm
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No protest is complete without a smattering of idiots with nothing to do with and no interest in the issue the protest is about. You could have a BNP march and there'd still be someone from the SWP in the middle of it.
>> No. 20353 Anonymous
30th September 2019
Monday 11:10 pm
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This is true, but technically (and practically) they wouldn't have been bust as long as the government was funding their flights, right? Then for a month Thomas Cook still exists solely to do charter repat flights. The owners of the wet least planes still get paid up till the end of the month, nothing's grounded for lack of ground handling payment, as it is now, and the administrators can still count the beans in the background until everyone's home. Perhaps it just doesn't work like that, and the government intervening with the operation would be enough to invalidate the AOC, but with the cooperation of the CAA it probably could have been done, even if they just granted a load of ferry licenses for it.

I have sort-of faith that you're right and this was the best approach, but on the off chance that it COULD have been done this way, it's a shame to see all this money funnelled into random turkish ad-hoc charters.

On the other hand, we're making a fucking mint handling short notice A330s and 777s, and these random turkish charters have some of the fittest cabin crew I've ever seen, so it's not all bad.
>> No. 20354 Anonymous
30th September 2019
Monday 11:12 pm
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I think quite a few people had vouchers and shit they thought they'd try and use before the thing collapsed, they stand to convert their vouchers back into cash that way rather than them losing all value overnight.

There's also the fact that Thomas Cook's customer service was tweeting "we are operating as normal" right up until they weren't, and I suppose plenty of people believe that sort of thing.
>> No. 20355 Anonymous
1st October 2019
Tuesday 3:08 am
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>This is true, but technically (and practically) they wouldn't have been bust as long as the government was funding their flights, right?

You run into the complexities of insolvency law. The moment it becomes apparent to the directors that the company is a) insolvent or b) cannot avoid insolvency, it becomes unlawful for the company to continue trading. If they were to keep trading, the directors then lose the protection of a limited company and become partly liable for the company's debts. Unless the government provided a sufficient bailout to provide a reasonable prospect of rescuing the company, insolvency was unavoidable.

In normal circumstances, the administrators of an insolvent company could keep the company trading as normal if they believed it was in the best interests of the creditors. That isn't an option for an airline because of the loss of their AOC, but it's also unlikely that the stranded customers would be the highest-priority creditors. The Insolvency Act sets out a specific hierarchy of who gets paid back first and customers are quite low in that pecking order.
>> No. 20394 Anonymous
10th October 2019
Thursday 9:50 pm
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>They thought the airline was 'too big to fail' like the banks were. It seems like a lot of people were expecting the government to sort it out.

That argument was already a stretch when it was applied to the banks in the Lehman/Financial Crisis. The same banks which, on a different occasion, would have boasted that they were the defenders of free markets and testament to the superiority of the Capitalist system, suddenly saw all of it blow up in their face. In a truly free market, corporations, banks included, must be faced with the real and inevitable possibility of bankruptcy with no outside help if their reckless financial speculation becomes a boomerang. Only then will they truly factor that risk into their decision making. Otherwise, as we are seeing now, other banks and even other industries will expect government handouts just the same way.

It's true though that the Thomas Cook bankruptcy is like the tourism sector's Lehman crisis. One of my brother's old friends now runs a small three-star hotel on the Turkish Riviera, and apparently he's out half a million quid now. And the fact that Thomas Cook Airlines is bankrupt as well has a knock-on effect because a number of other tour operators that aren't part of Thomas Cook as such relied on Thomas Cook Airlines. So basically the hotel industry is seeing nearly half its revenue until year's end disappear, a lot of it from cancelled pacakge holidays between now and December, and probably a good number of people who are to frustrated at the moment to just rebook elsewhere.
>> No. 20395 Anonymous
10th October 2019
Thursday 10:18 pm
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>and probably a good number of people who are to frustrated at the moment to just rebook elsewhere.

It's not even that they're frustrated, but more likely that they're unable. I'm in a good position financially, but if my already booked holiday was cancelled with no real timeline for when I'd get my refund back, I still couldn't really justify the extra outlay to rebook - and the majority of Thomas Cook customers certainly aren't, on average, very well off. Most if not all people booking cheap package deals simply can't afford to just rebook and wait for the refund to roll back in - and people who have lost out on a holiday this year might not be as willing to book with a similar operator next year, even when they do get their money back.

Interestingly, Jet2 seem to have capitalised masterfully on this, and are reportedly running more short and mid-haul flights this month than last month, which is really exceptional for what is traditionally the winding-down month of the package travel season.
>> No. 20397 Anonymous
10th October 2019
Thursday 11:32 pm
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>but if my already booked holiday was cancelled with no real timeline for when I'd get my refund back

That's probably true, in that it will often be entire families who are affected, and if you were going to go to destinations like Turkey, Egypt, or the Canary Islands, all three or four of you, then it can amount to £3,000 to £4,000. That's more than a month's pay for many people. Even a two-week couples holiday will run you the thick end of £3,000 or more combined.

I know somebody who got caught right in the middle of the Thomas Cook bankruptcy, in that he and his wife were already in Tenerife when the news suddenly hit on what I think was the third day of a planned two-week holiday. He told me that some hotels, not theirs thankfully, suddenly demanded money up front in cash from tourists, and that he got turned away twice at Tenerife airport because a repatriation flight that they were scheduled for was already full. He told me that in 40 years of going on package holidays, he never encountered such utter chaos and disarray.
>> No. 20398 Anonymous
10th October 2019
Thursday 11:48 pm
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>in 40 years of going on package holidays, he never encountered such utter chaos and disarray.
It turns out that in his 40 years of going on package holidays, there had never been a failure in the industry on this scale.
>> No. 20399 Anonymous
10th October 2019
Thursday 11:50 pm
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Again, true.

Still not something you want to get caught in the middle of.
>> No. 20400 Anonymous
10th October 2019
Thursday 11:51 pm
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>he never encountered such utter chaos and disarray.

That's a matter of perspective, and is amplified by the contrast of expecting a quiet, relaxing holiday. I can't speak for the hotels, but by all accounts, the repatriation flights have been very smooth, considering the scale of the operation. People expect instant solutions in air travel, but as soon as something falls outside of the schedules that are planned and practiced for years, it becomes incredibly complicated and people have to wait hours or even days for a plane, and people really, really get quickly very angry when they have to wait even ten minutes more for a plane. I'm not quite sure what happens to most people when they step inside an airport terminal, but the majority turn into batshit toddlers.

Anyway, I digress. The fact that people 'only' had to wait a couple of days or sleep in an airport overnight for a free impromptu flight home with less than a weeks notice is little more than miraculous.
>> No. 20407 Anonymous
13th October 2019
Sunday 1:01 am
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It all depends. On the way back from Majorca, we once made a scheduled stop in Ibiza, but it turned into a four-hour wait because there was suddenly a problem with the plane's air conditioning system. Its filters were bunged up or something. Standard procedure in that case, as they told us, was to evacuate the plane, and then have technicians change the air filters in the back of the plane, and then do a test run on the ground with the new air filters before the plane could continue its journey. It sounded simple enough, but what happened was that first of all they didn't have that particular type of air filters at Ibiza airport. They were able to locate a set in Majorca, so it had to be brought over with the next flight from there. That alone took more than an hour, and then they took over three hours to swap the filters and do the test run. We asked them why they didn't just put us on a different plane, but this being Jet2 at the height of the summer holiday season, they said they didn't have any available planes with the same capacity in the area that evening. So instead of about two and a half hours, the flight from Majorca back to Manchester lasted nearly six and a half.

It stands to argue that airplane air filters don't just suddenly fail without a hint of a warning, but that they have a scheduled lifespan, so that they can be replaced at scheduled routine checks and you don't have to keep your passengers going back into the departure lounge and waiting nearly four hours there. Or maybe that's just me and a limited grasp on airplane maintenance logistics.
>> No. 20408 Anonymous
13th October 2019
Sunday 1:34 am
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>> No. 20410 Anonymous
13th October 2019
Sunday 2:55 am
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>It stands to argue that airplane air filters don't just suddenly fail without a hint of a warning, but that they have a scheduled lifespan, so that they can be replaced at scheduled routine checks and you don't have to keep your passengers going back into the departure lounge and waiting nearly four hours there. Or maybe that's just me and a limited grasp on airplane maintenance logistics.

Yes and no, basically. A sudden failure of all air filters on a plane is next to impossible, but everything on a plane is a complex ecosystem that is much more sensitive than a car or anything else like that, and the standards of safety are so much higher that almost anything not working 'properly' is cause to ground the plane - and as much as it means you end up with people annoyed they had to wait a few hours, it's inarguably the Right Thing To Do.

With the caveat that you likely never got the full or accurate story of your particular engineering delay - it's quite common to play down or lie about the problem to the public, because despite everyone who works in aviation knowing how rigorous the standards are, telling passengers "your plane wasn't airworthy an hour ago, but it's fine now, off you pop" is not advised. If the problem was specifically about a filter, it's likely that one of the many filters was blocked or more likely damaged (smoke in the cabin from a previous, unrelated problem will wreck a filter pretty quick), and since these filters are a large part of the system keeping you breathing up there in the air, you can't just fly with one knackered or not in place.

As for why they didn't have a stock of filters at IBZ, well, that's a question I've had to ask many times - why don't we have a spare cargo net on site, when they're quite prone to breaking on a heavy landing? But in the grand scheme of things, it's entirely impossible to have a spare of every single replaceable part on a plane, particularly when not every airport in the world has a <insert airline here> engineering department operating within it. You can imagine how expensive plane parts are, you can imagine how expensive real estate is at an international airport, at some point you can't just have a stack of every single part at every single place you fly to, particularly if you have no planes based there, that stop there overnight. And as you rightly say, air filters aren't commonly expected to fail catastrophically, so if one ever does, you're not likely to be in the right place to have a stack of them ready to go. And as you say, it's not as simple as popping in a filter, you need to run tests, and to run tests you need to run your engines, and in many airports that means you need to be towed out of the way so you're not causing an obstruction, it's a whole thing.

I've noticed Jet2 do seem to be the worst for having parts available on site, I've had to wait quite a few times for stuff to be flown or even driven in from other parts of the country. Smaller airlines with smaller engineering teams often carry common replacement parts with them on every flight, interestingly enough - the Flybe Dash 8's fly with an 'engineering kit' on board so they can deal with many problems, even in the back water local airports they end up in. But that comes at a cost of fuel and space, which on a typical short haul 737 is at a premium, whereas in a little Dash 8 the extra weight is often actually useful, because the Dash 8 is a terribly designed aircraft, but that's another story.

The most surprising thing about your story though is that the delay lasted that long - they do indeed usually fly in a plane from somewhere else, or choose to work it so you delay two flights by an hour and a half rather than one by three hours, because the compensation they have to pay out after anything over three hours is crippling. That seems a mistake on Jet2 ops' part (not that surprising) or perhaps they genuinely had all planes in the air - if they'd already used their spare planes for other delays or problems that night, for example. But usually they'll bend over backwards to get another plane out there. Just yesterday TUI, rather than take a three hour delay, flew a Dreamliner out to Corfu with 70 people on it (capacity is about 320) because doing that was still cheaper than paying everyone the compo for a three hour delay.

Once a plane is delayed for one thing, you tend to snowball. Your pilots and crew go out of hours and you need a fresh crew, maybe you have to wait for them to get to the airport if the only crew available was a standby crew. Then you might run into air traffic restrictions since you're not flying at your allotted time, flight plans expire and need replotted, the storm you were going to miss is now in the way, the ground team you were assigned is now elsewhere and you won't be getting a new one until you're 100% ready. All of this and more might have been a factor in what actually happened with your flight.

The bottom line though is that once engineering gets involved, customer satisfaction falls to the bottom of the list. Nobody is EVER going to put pressure on anyone involved in fixing and making the plane safe to fly. As soon as it's a safety issue, then the attitude by all should be "it's ready when it's ready", and as a passenger you should be very worried if they're trying to rush at that point. I assume you got some money back from such a long delay? This gets so expensive for the airlines that all I can say is that if you were delayed for that long, there was truly no other option. It is the single most expensive thing you can do, is delay a plane over three hours. There's a poster in my office outlining that it's about half a million quid cheaper to drive a truck into the side of a plane than it is to delay an EU flight over the compensation threshold.

I realise this was a lot of rambling and guesswork, but TL;DR it was probably a lot more complicated than they made it out to be.
>> No. 20411 Anonymous
13th October 2019
Sunday 2:58 am
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As I said, they told us that they didn't have a replacement plane in the area of the same size, by which I assume they meant the Balearics as a whole. It was mid-July, so I guess Jet2 were running at full capacity and really had no planes parked somewhere just in case.

We were all given €10 food vouchers that we were able to use at the restaurants around the departure area, so that was at least something.
>> No. 20412 Anonymous
13th October 2019
Sunday 3:15 am
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>was probably a lot more complicated than they made it out to be.

>> No. 20413 Anonymous
13th October 2019
Sunday 3:32 am
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Yeah but how much compo did you get?
>> No. 20415 Anonymous
13th October 2019
Sunday 11:27 am
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We did not get compensated at all, beyond the €10 vouchers.
>> No. 20417 Anonymous
13th October 2019
Sunday 12:16 pm
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You should have -

>> No. 20418 Anonymous
13th October 2019
Sunday 12:32 pm
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Well it was 14 or 15 years ago. Maybe it was different then, or maybe I was just never made aware that I was entitled to compensation. Your link does state that the directive was only passed in 2004.
>> No. 20419 Anonymous
13th October 2019
Sunday 1:21 pm
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The link doesn't call it a directive, because a regulation is distinct from a directive, but they do erroneously suggest it came into force the same year it was passed.

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