London: Thomas Cook customers have accused airlines of cashing in on the 178-year-old holiday firm’s collapse after being faced with high bills to book replacement flights, it was reported on Tuesdayday.
People who booked flights with the company, now trying to find replacement deals, told the BBC that in some cases prices for the flights have tripled.
One holidaymaker said a flight from Glasgow to Rhodes, Greece, was 280 pounds ($348) on Sunday, but was now 1,000 pounds ($1,243).
She said that the increases were bad for travellers already in “a state of shock”.
Another traveller was due to go to Florida in June 2020 with his family – a trip which had taken two years to plan and save up for.
But he said between checking flight prices just before Thomas Cook collapsed on Sunday and the following morning they had risen sharply.
Original flight costs of 1,800 pounds ($2,239) for his family of four had now gone up to 2,500 pounds ($3,109) he said, adding that he was devastated and might cancel the trip altogether.
After being in business since 1841, the British travel giant collapsed on Sunday, leaving 22,000 jobs at risk and 150,000 tourists stranded, after last-minute negotiations aimed at saving the holiday firm failed, the BBC reported.
The company had worked throughout last week to seek a compromise that would inject an additional 200 million pounds ($250 million) to the 900 million pounds it had already agreed.
The UK government has chartered 45 jets to bring the stranded customers home in an undertaking dubbed “Operation Matterhorn”.
Deirdre Hutton, chairwoman of the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), described stage one of the repatriation of holidaymakers on Monday as “a pretty good day for a first day”.
She told the BBC on Monday: “We ran 64 flights, we brought back just under 15,000 people. That was over 90 per cent of those we intended to bring back.
“We’ve got 74 flights today and are hoping to bring back 16,500 people, but (have) 13 days to go and 135,000 passengers still to bring back.”