The Thomas Cook Affair

The bit I’m trying to understand about Thomas Cook’s collapse is why it costs me £100m to repatriate the people stranded by Thomas Cook. And when I say me I mean the taxpayer — I don’t have £100m personally.

I can understand why the government would repatriate stranded Brits but surely this would all be covered by some sort of insurance, wouldn’t it? If not, then the rules need to be changed to ensure travel companies purchase insurance that covers this sort of thing in future.

I think the government was right not to step in. Yes, a lot of jobs are at stake and a lot of customers are in the mire but it seems as if Thomas Cook were on an unstoppable downward tumble. If the government stepped in it would only be delaying the inevitable, which would have cost more and yet resulted in the same job losses and stranded customers in the long run.

Thomas Cook blamed many things but the upshot is they didn’t adapt to the way people book holidays these days. They didn’t embrace the whole online thing. They’re not the first company to make that mistake.

Of course Monarch went tits-up a while back too. In their case it was less about not adapting to the interweb and more about simply being shit. I flew with them once and had to sit in a broken seat with a lump of metal digging into my spine. I wrote a letter to them about it afterwards but in their reply they simply told me their CEO always flies cattle-class with a lump of metal digging into his spine and never complains. Yeah, right. With that sort of customer service it was inevitable they would eventually run into problems. Poor customer service can prevail for a surprising length of time — particularly where large, market-dominant companies are concerned — but karma catches up with such companies in the end.

I feel sorry for the stranded passengers and the redundant employees who suffer as a result of a company’s incompetence, but sometimes companies just get what they deserve. It’s sad, though, that in almost all cases of a large company collapse, those who engineered the problem will walk away with millions in their bank account.

Either way, a private company’s collapse shouldn’t cost me anything.