Glasgow flights cancelled as Thomas Cook collapses
Thomas Cook flights to and from Glasgow Airport have been cancelled after the 178-year-old tour operator collapsed.
The last of the firm’s flights to arrive in the city landed at 5.50am from Orlando in Florida.
Three later arrivals have been cancelled and three scheduled departures have also been grounded.
Thomas Cook ceased trading in the early hours of Monday morning after failing to secure a last-ditch rescue deal.
An estimated 150,000 tourists are being brought back to the UK by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in a flight programme costing £100 million.
Jim Hatton began pursuing emergency steps to get critical medical supplies over fears he would be stuck in Menorca due to the collapse of Thomas Cook.
The 61-year-old from Helensburgh in Argyll and Bute suffered a “sleepless” night over speculation of the closure as he only had heart medication for a couple more days.
The retired chartered engineer was waiting among huge queues in the airport for his replacement flight to Glasgow.
He told the PA news agency: “My wife and I have mobility problems and take a lot of meds for pain relief and other conditions.
“We made provision for a couple of days extra but if we had been delayed longer some vital heart medication I take for an arrhythmia would have run out.
“We had plans to visit a doctor locally to try to get a prescription but we were told it would be OK.”
He added: “Last night was sleepless, I was watching news feeds constantly.
“I think I fell asleep for an hour or so but I was watching all the Thomas Cook aircraft heading for the UK on the FlightRadar app knowing that an announcement would only be made once most of the aircraft were home.
“Thomas Cook staff are highly visible and helping with the repatriation process.
“One lovely lady said she has been working for Thomas Cook for 43 years. Now she doesn’t know what she’s going to do.”
Glasgow Airport told passengers who were meant to be flying with the operator not to travel to the terminal.
All future Thomas Cook bookings have been cancelled, affecting around one million people.
Vladimir Harlampev, 33, travelled to the airport from Ayr, only to be told his flight had been cancelled.
The Turkish native said he had no prior warning of the cancellation.
He said: “They didn’t tell me anything before I got here.”
According to Mr Harlampev, he tried to use Thomas Cook’s online check-in service but was directed to the desk at the airport.
He said: “I was going home to visit my children, I haven’t seen my kids in five months. How can I get to Turkey now?
“I paid with my credit card, so I will get the money back but how does that help me now? My family are waiting for me. It’s no good.”
Karen McMinn said she had been left “stuck in a Travelodge” after believing her Thomas Cook holiday would go ahead as planned.
She had been due to fly out with her partner from Glasgow to Menorca on Monday morning before learning the company had collapsed.
Now she is trying to organise a last-minute holiday somewhere else or face travelling home to Dumfries.
The 43-year-old clerical officer told PA: “We were told to travel as usual then there was nobody at the airport, no information either – disgrace.
“They should have told people what was really happening. I honestly don’t know what to say – we’re trying to find another holiday tomorrow or a way home.”
Ali Shabhaz, 45, was due to return home to Mexico from visiting a friend in Glasgow when he heard the news early on Monday morning.
Unsure what to do, Mr Shabhaz went to the airport.
He said: “I found out today when I checked the news. I was just here for a holiday, but this just looks like a nightmare now. I have no idea what to do now.”
Luckily, Mr Shabhaz has somewhere to stay for night if he is stranded.
He added: “That’s a good thing. I also paid with my credit card and the staff have told me I should be able to get a refund.”
Thomas Cook chief executive Peter Fankhauser said his company had “worked exhaustively” to salvage a rescue package and apologised to those impacted.
Atol provides protection to customers on package holidays when travel firms collapse, although passengers who made flight-only bookings with Thomas Cook are also being brought home at no extra charge.
The firm’s package holiday customers will have the cost of their accommodation covered by Atol.
Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA) president Ken McLeod said: “This is a terrible day, not just for the UK travel industry but on a global scale as well for the most renowned name in travel.
“The only positive that we can take from this is that it once again the situation demonstrates the importance of consumer protection, in this case the Atol scheme which ensures that most British travellers shouldn’t be left out of pocket or stranded overseas.”