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Monday September 23, 2019 - Email this article to a friend

UK companies, including Neilson and Inghams, used Thomas Cook flights for some of their ski holidays. They are looking for alternatives.


Britain's oldest tour operator collapsed and went into liquidation after attempts at a bailout failed.

The collapse affects all companies in the Thomas Cook Group including the airline, which owned 34 planes, and the retail stores.

The planes have been grounded and all the shops have been closed.

Around 22,000 jobs worldwide, 9,000 of them in the UK, are at risk.

The immediate concern is to deal with the 150,000 British customers on holiday abroad and a mass repatriation exercise has begun.

Thomas Cook collapsesThomas Cook website 23rd September 2019












If you have a package holiday booked direct with Thomas Cook it will not happen though your money will be refunded in full.

If you booked a flight direct with Thomas Cook Airlines and you paid by credit or debit card, you may be able to claim the money back through your card issuer.

But what does it mean if you have a ski holiday booked for this winter with another company that uses Thomas Cook airlines or you booked your ski trip with another company through a Thomas Cook high street travel agent?

Thomas Cook Flights

The 34 Thomas Cook planes have been grounded following the collapse.

Operators including Neilson and Hotelplan - which includes the ski brands Inghams, Esprit Ski and Ski Total - used the flights for some of their ski holidays.

Thomas Cook AirlinesNo longer flying










Neilson is telling customers there is no need to panic.

"If you have booked a forthcoming Neilson holiday with us which included a flight with Thomas Cook don't worry, your money is safe and we are working hard to find alternative flight arrangements," the company says on its website.

"If the alternative options available are not suitable you'll be entitled to receive a full refund."

The good news is that, since the ski season is still months away, the chances are high that other airlines will be found to step in.

For those who have booked for the winter season, Neilson has this message:

"We are in discussion with partners to replace Thomas Cook flights and will provide updated arrangements as we can.

"As you can imagine we are experiencing a very high number of calls at the moment so please bear with us."

One skier has been in touch with PlanetSKI to say that Neilson has already managed to source alternative flights for his trip to Les3Vallees in France over New Year.

Steve Hine had been concerned that he was due to pay around £12,000 within days for the group trip to Les Menuires.

He and seven others were flying on Thomas Cook Airlines and he was unsure whether to pay Neilson without knowing if alternatives flights were available.

"Neilson ski holiday flights sorted. So impressed with them," Steve said.

The flights have been re-booked with Jet 2 with minor changes to the original travel times.

Hotelplan's ski operators are also looking for alternatives and have posted advice on their individual websites.

Inghams Ski holidaysSkiing with Inghams

















On Inghams:

"We are making every effort to re-arrange alternative flights, and will contact you as soon as we have details of what has been organised for you, or to discuss options if no appropriate replacement flight is available."

The Alps transfer company Ben's Bus says it has contacted all its customers who were booked on Thomas Cook flights.

"If you were booked on a Thomas Cook Airlines flight and you had a Ben's Bus Ski Transfer booked to your ski resort, please check your emails.

"We have been in touch with you let you know that we can either change your booking free or charge or offer you a refund."

Thomas Cook Retail Travel Agent Bookings

Neilson, Inghams, Esprit Ski and Ski Total will take over the package holiday bookings made through Thomas Cook stores but are urging those who have booked in this way to contact them.

"We ask that the lead passenger emails us directly with the booking reference number and their contact details so we can arrange to amend the booking over," Inghams says.

"Please email and we will respond directly. We aim to respond within 72 hours of your email but please bear with us.

"As a responsible tour operator, please be assured that your holiday with Inghams is entirely protected. As soon as we have details of your new flights, we will of course be in touch.

"In the meantime, please do bear with us as we make these arrangements. As we are sure you can appreciate, demand for replacement flights will be high and rebooking may take some time.

"We politely ask that you do not contact us to request updates, as this will only slow the rebooking process. Thank you for your patience."

Neilson ski holidaySkiing with Neilson















Neilson advises:

"We may not have all your details, particularly if your booking has been made recently. Please get in touch with us to discuss your booking, but again rest assured that your holiday is covered by our ATOL and ABTA protection schemes."

News of the collapse has been met with sympathy from others in the ski industry.

Xavier Schouller of the French Alps specialist company Peak Retreats has been in touch with PlanetSKI .

"Very sad for our industry colleagues and all their clients. This is a big blow for the industry after Monarch two years ago," he told us, referring to the collapse of Monarch Airlines.

And Ben's Bus says its thoughts are with the Thomas Cook staff, their families and customers.

"This must be a very distressing time for all involved and we hope those people can find some gainful employment elsewhere.

"Hopefully their customers' holiday plans will not be disrupted too much."

Crystal Ski Holidays:

Crystal Ski Holidays is telling its customers holidays will still go ahead.

It highlights on its website "If you've booked with Crystal through a Thomas Cook store your holiday will still go ahead. For more info email us at"

Crystal SKi HolidaysCrystal SKi Holidays

If you think you may be affected, go to  or to the ABTA website for more information.

The operation to repatriate the holidaymakers has been called 'Operation Matterhorn' by the British government.

It seems the Swiss resort of Zermatt, that sits at the bottom of the iconic peak, is not amused.

Zermatt reactionZermatt reaction
















And here is its full reaction:

Due to a company bankruptcy, numerous travellers are stranded all over the world.

Zermatt Tourism has sympathy with the affected travellers, who are stuck somewhere on the planet or cannot start their journey, although they have paid for it.

It's great that the British government has started a repatriation project to bring people home.

But why must the coordination of the return journeys be called "Operation Matterhorn"?

Zermatt Tourism points out that the destination Zermatt - Matterhorn is not connected to this.

The British government probably doesn't know that "Matterhorn" is an internationally protected brand and a symbol of relaxing holidays, safety and quality.

Attributes that do not really stand for the current frustration of travellers.

But perhaps the British government only wanted to give an indication of where the affected travellers can spend carefree holidays in the future?!

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news

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