December 2023
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Wanna learn German? Then take a package holiday with Thomson or Thomas Cook

Here is the man of the moment – Frankenstein lookalike Peter Fankhauser, boss of beleaguered travel company Thomas Cook:


Peter ‘Frankenstein’ Fankhauser is head of the company that paid £350,000 in compensation to a family whose two children died during a Thomas Cook holiday to Corfu while Thomas Cook managed to squeeze a tidy little £3.5m in compensation for itself from the hotel for the two children’s deaths. Nice one Pete!

Of course, when the press caught on to Thomas Cook’s profitable little wheeze, the company (after an unhelpful amount of delay and denial) claimed they had never intended to profit from the children’s deaths. Oh no, Pete. Of course we believe you. Thomas Cook then (IMHO) extremely reluctantly handed over to charity the pile of money they got from the hotel where the two children died.

But why were Thomas Cook so insensitive to the impression their attempted sleight of hand would have with their customers – the travelling public? Could it be anything to do with the fact that the company was until recently majority owned by Germans and is still largely run by Germans? Is that why it demonstrated all the sensitivity and customer focus one might associate with our stern-faced, money-grabbing, self-righteous Teutonic friends?

Thomas Cook’s biggest competitor was also until recently owned by our stolid German neighbours – the TUI Group. Although now listed on the London Stock Exchange, both Thomas Cook and Thomson Holidays are still under a considerable degree of German control.

However, this has a positive side for us UK travelers – if we want to learn German. Because both Thomas Cook and Thomson have been integrated with their former German parent companies to save money, there’s a high chance that wherever you go in the world with them – in Europe, Africa or Asia – you’ll find that many or most of the other hotel guests are Teutons.

That’s not so great if you’re hoping for a sun lounger near the swimming pool. And as for the buffet – well you’d better get there early as the average 150kg to 250kg German can hoover up an awful lot of food. But these travel companies are excellent if you’re hoping to improve your command of the German language.

On the other hand, you could give both Thomas Cook and TUI/Thomson a miss and travel with a British company. You might have a much better holiday and might experience better customer service than Frankenstein Fankhauser and his Germanic compatriots would be willing to provide.

6 comments to Wanna learn German? Then take a package holiday with Thomson or Thomas Cook

  • Juliet 46

    Been there – done that – husband and I the only two brits in a large hotel in Grand Canaria!! Never again…

  • John Fields

    I think that some future native born generation will have a real dilemma to chose
    between Arabic and German to be compatible with their new masters.

  • Caratacus

    When holidaying in Turkey we always order our drinks at the bar in German (“zwei Bier bitte” – the temptation to bellow “schnell, Arschloch” has to be firmly damped down). Haven’t had a problem thus far 🙂

  • PamWM

    And British companies are models of integrity and compassion? This piece is so poor it devalues the rest of your site.

  • Col

    Harriet Green (British) was the CEO at the time if thescandal

  • Wrong, I’m afraid. The children died in 2006. The CEO was Manny Fontenla-Novoa. Harriet Green didn’t take over till 2012, six years after the deaths. But the worst handling of the case and the refusal to apologise even when the news of the £3.5m received by Thomas Cook from the hotel happened under Frankenstein Frankhauser.

    Hopefully, that makes things clearer.

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