During the confirmation of Thomas Cook Trade's cessation including Thomas Cook Airlines, the management of the company assured the refund of the thousands of bookings that were affected by the business' closure. What followed was disappointment for many customers whose refund was not made in the multiple times the company set new deadlines for such payouts. While some customers received their refunds within a matter of hours, some, especially those who had flight only bookings and are not covered by the ATOL scheme, had to seek their recourse from their credit card providers or banks.

The cessation of the company's operations resulted in the grounding of the company's aircrafts in the multiple countries and regions in which the company operated. This resulted in thousands of customers being stranded locally and abroad. The primary way in which the customers would have avoided being stranded and consequently being able to wait for their refund with much more ease is:

Having a Travel Insurance

If a traveler wants to protect him or herself and avoid the kind of frustration that was experienced by Thomas Cook's customers after the company's closure, they should consider acquiring comprehensive travel insurance while planning for their vacation. The use of a credit card to make bookings may allow for a refund in the event your travel company shuts down through default refund package deals. However, travel insurance will reimburse your money so that you can secure additional flights and or hotels if you happen to be stranded during your travel. This is dependent on your policy of choice and what it covers – a $5 policy or so to quote will not provide you with a comprehensive travel cover.

In the case of Thomas Cook and related refunds, any customer who had booked a holiday package from the company was guaranteed a refund through the protection of ATOL by CAA. However, customers who had organized their own holidays and booked their flights and accommodation separately were not covered by the insurance, and therefore, had higher chances of losing their money. Thomas Cook's customers who had travel insurance policies reduced the chances of not only being stranded at the airport but also waiting for the refunds, to facilitate the making of other bookings and to ensure a seamless travel experience.

What is covered under travel insurance

Travel insurance policies cover a multitude of things from reimbursements in the event you do not qualify for refunds, such as not being able to travel as a result of sickness to medical emergencies, and alternative bookings as a result of flight cancellation. Before you purchase a travel insurance cover or resolve to pay extra to become eligible for comprehensive packages, be sure to determine whether or not your credit card providers offer any form of travel insurance as a form of its customer's perks. For instance, there are some credit card providers that offer their customers built-in trip interruption coverage that reimburses them a specified amount of money per person if their trip was cut short or canceled as a result of situations such as severe weather or illness. While these perks are typically not as comprehensive as the stand-alone travel insurance policies, they may cover significant ticket items such as airfare and hotel in case of an adverse eventuality.

Comprehensive travel insurance is not a $5 affair. It can be expensive. In a majority of instances, such policies include financial default coverage. This means that most policies can "make you whole" if an airline or a hotel, for instance, is incapable of providing service. Having a travel insurance policy qualifies your eligibility for basic coverage such as cancellations, evacuations, medical expenses, loss, delays, and full-time assistance. Thus, in the event Thomas Cook's customers had travel insurance policies, they could be covered for travel disasters that befell them, including being stranded in airports, scrabbling for holiday rearrangements after lost bookings, and a refund for services not offered. Instead, they lost their bookings and risked their refunds. Even those who had booked a holiday package with the company and were eligible for a refund package deal with ATOL were required to wait for two to three months to receive such refunds.

Final word

As you obsess over travel bargains, discounts and package deals, do not forget to insure your travel by purchasing a befitting travel insurance policy, preferably one that offers the minimum coverage. You may have fared just fined in the multiple times that you have traveled without any insurance, but remember you can only be lucky one too many times.

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