In one of those "I'm surprised but not that surprised" situations, I awoke to the news that Thomas Cook has shuttered operations. If you're in the US, you're probably thinking "You mean those little places at the airport where you can exchange money?" And the answer is... not really. I think money exchange places died over a decade ago when ATMs became universally available. No, the Thomas Cook in this case is the world's oldest travel company. They've been wracked with financial problems for years, hence my lack of surprise...
Well-known in Europe, I've actually used their services couple times, but I've never flown their airline. Sadly, a lot of people do, and they now have no way of getting home. Estimates are at 150,000 people stranded. If this sounds familiar, it's because WOW Airlines shut down back in March which stranded a bunch of people too. Or maybe you're thinking of Primera Air or Germania, both of which shuttered in 2018.
Surprisingly, I've never been in a situation like this.
Sure I've been temporarily stranded several times... mostly due to weather... but not once has the airline said "Sorry, we're closed for business, good luck getting home!"
As I watch the crazy number of reactions on social media... or the pandemonium videos that inevitably pop up from airports... I always try to put myself in the same situation to imagine how I would react.
The answer is inevitably... "Meh."
I'm single and nobody relies on me for anything. Even when my mom was still able to be left alone for a while at home, I could always call one of a half-dozen people to look in on her. Right now I've just got my cats. And so long as I could call a sitter and have them add food to their automated feeder, water to their fountain, and empty the Litter-Robot when it gets full, they're good. Sure work could be a challenge, but I could do most everything remotely for a while.
So, no, I would not be one of those people in the videos screaming "BUT IT'S MY HONEYMOON!" or "WHO WILL FEED MY BABIES?!?" or "I HAD BETTER NOT FUCKING MISS THE SEASON PREMIERE OF MAGNUM, P.I.!"
Well, okay, that last one could be me, because I love that show so much but, even then, so long as I have internet, I can just stream all my shows.
My "plan of action" would likely be to call up a hotel immediately so I had a place to stay, keep calling until I find a room, then head to the nearest bar and get completely shit-faced while I wait for the initial storm to blow over and I can make other travel arrangements. Yay, a vacation!
That being said, I really do sympathize with people who have pressing responsibilities back home... or no room on their credit card to book a hotel and new flights. That would be awful, especially if you're in a foreign country.
And if Magnum P.I. was premiering, which is does in four days on September 27th on CBS!
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Happened to me in Denmark – the airline I was going to fly from Legoland to Copenhagen with went broke between when I booked the flight and my stay there. Fortunately it was such a short flight I could just take a train, about 50 Euros later. So not really a big deal other than losing a few hours of my day in Copenhagen.
(and heck, they told me the price of a taxi about a kilometre to the airport was going to cost me about 20 euro anyway!)
Given how many trips I’ve taken, I can’t believe it never happened to me. Maybe I’m due. 🙂