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Latest Cruise News

Thomas Cook hires Citi for £500m package holiday bid (December 31, 2006)
HE German holiday giant Thomas Cook has recruited Citigroup to advise it on a £500m bid for the package-holiday business of First Choice.

First Choice, the UK-quoted holiday company, is understood to have sent out an information memorandum on its “mainstream” tour business — which include its Mediterranean tour operations and part of its in-house airline, First Choice Airways — shortly before Christmas.

City sources believe the bidding is likely to end in a two-way fight between Thomas Cook and MyTravel, another UK-listed travel group, although they do not rule out the emergence of a third bidder.

Whoever wins between Thomas Cook and MyTravel will become market leader in UK package holidays. “I think it will be very fiercely contested because the person who loses will be left in quite a weak third place,” said one banker. ... Read More ...

 
 

Latest Press Releases

No Fuel Supplement

(27/12/06)

As the price of fuel has increased over the past few years British holidaymakers have been stung with a ‘fuel supplement' added on to the cost of their holiday.

In a bid to shake up ‘rip off Britain' Thomson, the UK's leading travel company, has announced it will no longer charge customers a fuel supplement, becoming the first major travel company in the UK to do so.

Peter Rothwell, Managing Director of Thomson, commented: “We've decided as market leader that it's time to put an end to misleading prices. Our decision to end fuel supplement charges will mean that unlike others, our customers will clearly see the full cost of their holiday, helping them to make an honest price comparison.”

Since the price of fuel dropped, other major travel companies have re-priced and reissued holiday brochures and have continued to charge an additional supplement despite being fully aware of the fuel costs when the brochures were published. Thomson's new, more honest pricing means this lower cost of fuel has been absorbed into the brochure cost of its holidays.

In September 2006 Thomson wrote to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to ask that all UK tour operators be required to enforce a transparent pricing policy, which would include fuel supplements in the base cost of a holiday, prior to the launch of final edition brochures in December 2006. Since this correspondence, Thomson has received an email acknowledging receipt of the letter, but to date the OFT has not acted upon this request.

“Travel companies now have no justification whatsoever for charging a fuel supplement - let alone one that is as high as when the price of fuel was at its peak. Despite this, companies are continuing to hit their customers with this additional charge. They are simply baiting customers with artificially low prices, then stinging them with unavoidable supplements”, stated Peter.

"Just this week, we've seen Thomas Cook reducing their baggage allowance by five kilos to just 15 kilos, and then automatically adding £10 to the holiday cost for customers to ‘'buy' the five kilos back. This is outrageous. We refuse to be dragged any further down this route. At Thomson we believe in honest pricing."

Recent reports in the media have suggested the way in which holidays are priced is misleading: with low prices advertised, yet costly fuel supplements charged in the final stages of the booking, considerably pushing up the price.

Peter added, “Our new pricing strategy puts an end to complicated pricing and our advice to customers looking for honest, transparent pricing is to book with us.'' He concluded, “I'm dismayed that the OFT are still sitting on this issue. As the market leader we had to take a stand on fuel supplements. The OFT should see the benefit to consumers for this to be enforced industry-wide.”

Honest Pricing is one of a number of initiatives that Thomson has introduced for the key holiday booking period:

  • No fuel supplements – other operators currently charge £30 per person per short haul booking and £65 per person per long haul booking
  • No ‘ticket on departure' charge – previously £15 per passenger
  • Blue Cross Newspaper – the newspaper available in Thomson Shops has the best offers for Summer 2007 with savings of up to £100 per couple.
  • Web prices –the prices are the same on the high street and on the web at www.Thomson.co.uk
  • Low cost holiday insurance – starting at just £17.99 for 9 days cover (Post Office £24.00; Sainsbury's £18.96; Direct Line £24.06)*
  • Price Beat – If a customer finds a Thomson Holiday cheaper elsewhere on the high street we will beat the price

* Prices are based on one healthy adult travelling to Europe aged between 16-64. Prices researched by AXA Insurance UK plc. Prices correct as of 31 October 2006.
** Thomson Press Center