Thousands of holidaymakers are coming to terms with upcoming trips abroad being cancelled following the collapse of Thomas Cook, with some set to miss holidays of a lifetime, weddings and honeymoons.
The tourism giant, which has its head office in Peterborough, announced early on Monday that it had ceased trading after failing to secure a last-ditch rescue deal, leaving an estimated 150,000 Britons abroad awaiting repatriation.
One couple have been left devastated after their honeymoon in the “paradise” of the Maldives was cancelled while another wedding party anxiously wait to find out if their marriage in Greece will go ahead.
Lewis and Amy Bromiley from Manchester, who were looking forward to their honeymoon after getting married in August, said they will have to “wait months” for a refund on their £7,000 trip.
Mr Bromiley, a 25-year-old insurance worker from Manchester, told the PA news agency: “We booked it over a year ago, so we were well prepared and had got the best deal.
“Me and my wife are devastated.
“We wanted to go to Maldives as it’s paradise and we’re looking to plan for children soon, so we wanted to tick it off our bucket list before we couldn’t.”
Mr Bromiley criticised the way the situation had been handled, adding it was “poorly communicated” and that Thomas Cook’s Twitter account should be managed for the next 48 hours “to give people the peace of mind they deserve”.
Nicole from Swansea, who did not wish to give her surname, told PA she was “absolutely devastated” at the closure of the firm she had booked with, which came before her “very first holiday”.
“And now we have the stress of trying to fix this and sort it all out,” she added.
“I am truly gutted, but also devastated for the people who are stranded on their holidays and for the employees who have lost their jobs with no warning, and this close to Christmas.
“It’s such a shame.”
Some hopeful travellers were anxiously waiting to find out if their trips abroad can be rearranged, including a wedding party who have spent £40,000 on flights and hotels to Kos, Greece.
“Heartbroken” Amy Wright (27) and a wedding party of around 40 people were due to travel on October 3.
Her sister Katie Langley (23) told PA the group had paid between £35,000 and £40,000 for the two-week trip through Thomas Cook, including flights and hotels.
Around one million people will be affected by the cancellation of all future Thomas Cook bookings, including Martin Nowell and his partner Pixie Flageul who were due to go on their first holiday together to Egypt.
Speaking at Gatwick Airport, Mr Nowell, a self-employed bricklayer from London, said it was “disappointing” that they could not go on their £1,400 holiday.
The 53-year-old added: “We are devastated. We feel for the people who have lost their jobs. It’s a tough old world out there.”
Lisa Godbeer and her family were due to fly out to Mexico for a trip of a lifetime to celebrate her 40th birthday and had paid more than £6,000 for the 10-day holiday to Cancun for her and her husband, her daughter and a friend.
Ms Godbeer, from Somerset, told PA at Gatwick Airport: “I’m really angry and a bit shocked really.
“We has a joke yesterday saying imagine we get there and it (Thomas Cook) had shut down.
“If it was a couple of hundred quid I wouldn’t care but it’s a bloody lot of money.”