Thomas Cook Airlines - Dealing with Delays and Cancellations is always a hassle
An airline 170 years old
Well, not exactly. Thomas Cook Airlines is relatively new, having been formed just six years ago. Thomas Cook the brand though, goes back over 170 years to 1841. Imagine those days, a time without delays, cancellations, refund claims or anything else the modern traveller has to contend with.
It was in 1841 that a certain Mr Thomas Cook made the first move towards developing what was to become one of the most well known international travel brands in the world. On July 5th of that year he hired a steam train to transport members of his temperance group from Leicester to a meeting in Loughborough, charging his passengers one shilling a head.
More rail excursions followed, charging his society members to transport them to and from various meetings around the midlands. Destinations further afield were sought; soon excursions to Scotland and Wales were arranged as well as more distant towns and cities in north and south England. A concise history of the growth of Thomas Cook Travel can be found on its website
Fluctuating Fortunes followed WW2
During those early days Thomas Cook expanded his travel industry virtually unopposed. With no real competition in sight his plans grew until eventually the English Channel was crossed and his travel company began expanding into Europe. After the Second World War, Thomas Cook Travel began to lose its way in the growing holiday market. As interest in the traditional bucket and spade holiday at UK seaside resorts began to decline, Thomas Cook began promoting holidays to European destinations such as Spain, Switzerland and Italy.
While they continued to promote hotels, air travel fares and extras separately, in the 1950’s the competition was forging ahead with the new ‘package holiday’ format. Things eventually got so bad the company had to be rescued in 1972 by a consortium buy-out.
When you’re at the bottom the only way is up
The buy-out proved a life saver for the company, having survived the recession of the late 70’s early 80’s, expansion and further company acquisitions continued apace. While the name Thomas Cook Airlines made its first appearance in 1999, it wasn’t until 2008, after further assets were acquired or let go that the Thomas Cook Airlines brand rose to its present standing in the travel industry. Today, Thomas Cook is working tirelessly to rebuild its reputation from one of delays and cancellations to one of efficiency and punctuality. No mean feat considering UK airports have a very poor record for delays and cancelled flights amongst its EU counterparts. As of 2014, the airline experienced an on-time performance of 81%, meaning nearly 20% of flights were delayed at departure. In addition, FlightStats ranks the company 2.5 out of 5 stars overall, making it slightly below industry standard. Evidently, Thomas Cook Airlines still has a ways to go in building back their reputation, but it’s a work in progress.
Thomas Cook Airlines flies an impressive 31 aircraft fleet of Airbus A320, A321, A330’s and Boeing 757 and 767’s covering the UK’s favourite holidays and winter sports destinations. With its main bases in London Gatwick (LGW) and Manchester Airport (MAN) it also maintains a fleet presence at eight other UK airports. Glasgow International (GLA), London Stansted (STN), Newcastle (NCL), East Midlands (EMA), Bristol (BRS), Cardiff (CWL), Birmingham (BHX) and Belfast (BFS). In addition to the UK, the airline also covers a wide range of international destinations in Europe, Africa, North America and Asia.
Having carried over 6-million passengers in 2013 Thomas Cook Airlines continues to improve its market share by passengers carried, currently standing an impressive 6th. The company also tries to be customer conscious, covering EU passenger rights on aircraft delays, flight cancellations, refunds and compensation claims. Already holding various awards for Environmentally Responsible Airline and punctuality awards for both winter and summer routes; for Thomas Cook Airlines the future seems upward and onward.
With 20% of flights being delayed at departure, there are bound to be some unhappy passengers looking to be compensated for their troubles. If you or someone you know has been unfortunate enough to experience a delayed, cancelled or overbooked flight with Thomas Cook Airlines, click below to see how much you might be able to claim!