Travel advisors in the U.K. this week have been scrambling
to assist clients affected by Thomas Cook's collapse.
Scottish agency Barrhead Travel has had "thousands"
of affected clients, president Jacqueline Dobson said, and an emergency team is
working around the clock to accommodate them. Barrhead is also assisting
travelers who booked directly with Thomas Cook.
"It has been pretty manic," Dobson said.
Dobson noted there was a fair amount of speculation about
Thomas Cook's future in the days leading up to its collapse, so Barrhead was
prepared for that possibility. On Sunday, employees worked to get the crisis
On Monday, Dobson said, employees were working as early as 4
a.m. trying to get in touch with clients due to travel that morning.
Barrhead also set up a separate team contacting the client's
hotel to make sure all was well there amid reports of hotels not allowing
customers to leave until they paid.
It has been a busy week for Barrhead, but a sad one, too.
"Thomas Cook was a fantastic brand, and a lot of the
employees that worked for Thomas Cook were friends," she said. "They're
also one of our suppliers. It's a really sad situation for employees and for
the industry as a whole."
Barrhead has put out an open call to Thomas Cook employees
looking for work, and Dobson reported the agency has received a number of
applications. She hopes to begin conducting interviews this week.
"We're making that one of our priorities," she
Barrhead is one of Travel Leaders Group's U.K. brands.
"The failure of the iconic Thomas Cook brand is a
significant loss to our industry," said Travel Leaders Group president J.D.
O'Hara. "Our thoughts are with the employees and travelers who are
impacted by this unfortunate turn of events."