Leeds family's devastation after Thomas Cook holiday is booked with money left by late in-laws
A Leeds family who booked a holiday just hours before revelations Thomas Cook was in trouble have been left devastated as the company collapses.
The Hardwick family had planned a dream trip to Lanzarote in December for a 21st birthday, as well as a chance to spend quality time together as a family after losing two parents.
In an unfortunate twist, Victoria Hardwick said she had initially booked with Ryanair before finding out the flights were cancelled, so booked with Thomas Cook instead.
She said the family holiday was for her daughter's 21st birthday, but also in memory of her in-laws who both sadly passed away this year, leaving them money for the trip.
The travel firm announced it was going into liquidation and ceasing all flights and trading at 2am this morning, while all branches in Leeds are permanently closed.
Since hearing the news, the family feel they are unlikely to claim the money back.
Victoria said: “In April we lost my father-in-law and in June lost my mother-in-law. They gave us some money before they passed away as they knew, I believe, they wouldn’t be here to celebrate my daughter’s 21st.
“We booked flights with Ryanair to go to Lanzarote then got an email saying our flights have been cancelled.
"I kept looking for alternatives and on Wednesday about 3pm found amazing flights (with Thomas Cook).
"Watching the news at 9pm there was the announcement. I can try and claim money back but insurance said it’s highly unlikely I would have a successful claim. What was supposed to be a family holiday as well as a loving memory of my parents-in-law has now gone wrong.”
Thomas Cook's Leeds city centre branch on Albion Street remained closed and empty on Monday morning. The firm also had branches in Horsforth and Morley, both of which are also closed.
Yorkshire Evening Post Head of News Joseph Keith was also caught up in the chaos, after flying out to Croatia two days before the company went under.
Joseph said: "We flew out from Manchester to Zadar on Saturday with Ryanair. "We were already worried about it before flying out because of the rumours it could collapse.
"The CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) is putting replacement flights on from Dubrovnik, (but) we were too worried about the flight back so we're planning to book a separate flight home from Montenegro.
"No one expects for his kind of ting to happen and, while you can legislate for it, it has been a shock and extremely disappointing. It's my birthday this weekend and I wanted to enjoy it in Croatia. Now there's a cloud of doubt hanging over us with how we'll get back."