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CAA sets up hotline amid claims Thomas Cook passengers 'held hostage' at hotels

Lianna Brinded
Head of Yahoo Finance UK
Thomas Cook logos are pictured on the tailfins of the company's passenger aircraft parked on tarmac at Manchester Airport in Manchester, northern England on September 23, 2019. Photo: OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images

The Civil Aviation Authority has set up a new hotline dedicated to Thomas Cook (TCG.L) passengers after a number of customers and cabin crew claimed they were effectively being ‘held hostage’ by hotels.

After the major travel operator collapsed this week, some hotel owners have panicked that they will not be paid outstanding fees. This has led to some holidaymakers complaining that they are being prevented from leaving until they pay extra bills for their stay.

The CAA said in a tweet that “We have given financial assurances to all hotels with ATOL protected #ThomasCook customers so they can remain in their hotel until they fly home. If you experience any difficulties with your hotel, please visit our website for support and advice.”

It said passengers can call the new hotline +44-1753330330 as well as visit its dedicated website here.

READ MORE: Thomas Cook is dead and 150,000 UK holidaymakers are stranded

On Monday, Thomas Cook finally collapsed after months of trying to seal bailout cash from Chinese conglomerate Fosun and several other firms. It has put 22,000 jobs at risk worldwide, of which 9,000 are in the UK.

It led to an immediate cessation of trading, stranding 150,000 passengers across the globe and leading to the biggest ever peacetime repatriation of British people.

The CAA and the UK government, under Operation Matterhorn, have scheduled more than 1,000 flights and will continue until Sunday 6 October to bring back Brits abroad. It is estimated to cost £100m ($124.3m).

READ MORE: Only 13 days to go to bring back 135,000 stranded Thomas Cook passengers

On Tuesday, CAA chairwoman Dame Deirdre Hutton claimed:

“We ran 64 flights, we brought back just under 15,000 people. That was over 90% of those we intended to bring back, which is actually pretty good for a first day. But I’m conscious that we’ve got a huge job to do still because that’s about 8% of the total — but a reasonable start.”

“There were some operational problems and we’ll continue to see those, so again I ask people to bear with us as we deal with the bumpiness of this,” she added.