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VACATION LIQUIDATION

Photos: What happens when 150,000 vacations are cancelled at once

FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images
Thomas Cook’s sudden collapse has triggered the UK’s biggest repatriation since World War II to bring back thousands of stranded passengers.
Johnny Simon
By Johnny Simon

Deputy Photo Editor

The British tour company Thomas Cook suddenly shut down over the weekend, stranding more than 150,000 travelers on their overseas vacations. Long lines of disgruntled tourists formed in airports in Greece, Turkey, Mallorca and other destinations as Thomas Cook customers now try to return home in the biggest repatriation effort since World War II.

The Guardian has kept a log on the unfolding chaos, reporting on wedding plans thrown into disarray, aircrews bidding their customs adieu for the final time, and more tales of people just trying to get home.

Photos from today (Sept. 23) and the weekend showcase the startling collapse of Thomas Cook, which was a fixture of British tourism for 180 years. In addition to scenes of airports flooded with upset tourists, photographers captured company outposts after thousands of employees were laid off with seemingly little notice. On streets across Britain, Thomas Cook storefronts and airport check-in desks were left shuttered and empty.

TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images
The closed Thomas Cook check-in desks are at the South Terminal of London Gatwick Airport on Sept. 23.
COSTAS METAXAKIS/AFP/Getty Images
Tourists wait at a Thomas Cook company counter at Heraklion airport on the island of Crete on Sept. 23.
IHA via AP
British passengers with Thomas Cook wait in long queue at Antalya airport in Antalya, Turkey on Sept. 23
JAIME REINA/AFP/Getty Images
Passengers of British travel group Thomas Cook queue at Son Sant Joan airport in Palma de Mallorca on Sept. 23, 2019.
AP Photo/Francisco Ubilla
British passengers wait for news on cancelled Thomas Cook flights at Palma de Mallorca airport on Sept. 23
JAIME REINA/AFP/Getty Images
British Government officials gather before talking to passengers of British travel group Thomas Cook at Son Sant Joan airport in Palma de Mallorca on Sept. 23, 2019.
FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images
British tourists flying with Thomas Cook queue at the Enfidha International Airport in Tunisia on Sept. 23
PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images
A man looking at a closed branch of a Thomas Cook travel agent’s shop in Montpelier, France.
Darren Staples/Getty Images
Workers exit the Thomas Cook Headquarters on Sept. 23, 2019 in Peterborough, United Kingdom.
AP Photo/Frank Augstein
A closed Thomas Cook travel shop in London, Monday, Sept. 23.

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