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What would Thomas Cook say?

This is a very sad day for anyone connected with the Thomas Cook travel firm, which has collapsed. This was the UK’s largest travel company, employing around 20,000 people and with around 150,000 people currently overseas on holidays arranged by the company, many of them flown there on Thomas Cook planes, none of which will ever fly again with the same livery.

I pass this statue regularly every time I catch a train from Leicester, because it stands right outside the station. Thomas Cook was a cabinet-maker and evangelical teetotal Baptist who had the idea of arranging excursions by rail so that people could attend Temperance Society meetings. His first such venture, in 1841, took 500 people from Leicester to Loughborough and back, 11 miles away, which is why his statue is where it is.

But today the company that started from his small beginnings has gone to the wall, along with the travel plans and careers of many thousands of people.

A sad day indeed.

  • Are you directly affected by this collapse?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Have you ever been in a similar position with another travel firm?

    • Yes
    • No

What do you think?

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14 Comments

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  1. I traveled for work, roughly 11 years and well more than a million miles. Here are the lessons I’ve learned.

    1. if it is really cheap there is a risk.
    2. if it is an unknown brand there is a risk

    Those two simple rules allow you to use the reduced price traveling sites but pay attention. Wow, air stranded people all over the world. Thomas Cook just did the same.

    • Was Thomas Cook really cheap? It was certainly earning enough to build a substantial business including a large fleet of aircraft.

      And it was most certainly not an unknown brand. This was the UK’s largest travel firm, with premises in nearly every High Street and a rock-solid reputation.

      If a company like Thomas Cook can collapse, then the rest are all in danger.

      • I would respectfully disagree.

        1. They were yes seen as a discount travel group, not lowcost but not high end.
        2. they way overextended themselves with the airplanes. Passenger planes, routes, taxes and such like that cost a lot of money. They borrowed money to extend their services but my impression from analysts is they went the wrong way.

        There are many larger travel companies today that are not in danger. None of them tried to build their own airlines!

        Don’t get me wrong it is really sad and really bad. As you said, no one should ever get stranged because their travel company went out of business!

  2. Our package tour of the US was through Thomas Cook and I have great memories how well they had organised it.

    I saw the news on TV this morning and simply cannot understand how in the midst of someone travelling their travel gets frozen. They could have made some arrangement with other agencies for those who are now in the middle of nowhere.

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