Early finish for Sebeco

Early finish for Sebeco

The Sebeco was due to finish her summer on 31 October, and tickets were sold up to that date.

Now ANES have decided to cut things short,and the last day for this year will be Monday 28 October, Ochi Day.

Passengers with bookings for 29, 30,and 31 October should have been contacted by now. If you have a Sebeco ticket for those dates and ANES haven’t been in touch, you should contact them, or the agent you bought the ticket from.

Winter Ferries 2019/2020

Winter Ferries 2019/2020

Hellenic Seaways “Nissos Rodos” operating the Monday sailing for Blue Star Ferries during October

I’ve had lots of requests for details of ferries to/from Symi in the winter. The ferry companies are never in a hurry to release timetables as nearly all the passengers are local and don’t have the same desire to book months in advance that some tourists do.

However, Dodekanisos Seaways have released their sailings for the period 1 November to 31 March. You’ll find the timetable here:

It is basically the same as previous years, with Rhodes-Symi-Kos-Kalymnos-Leros-Lipsi-Patmos and return on Fridays and Sundays; Rhodes-Symi-Kos-Kalymnos and return on Saturdays; and Rhodes-Symi-Kos-Kalymnos-Leros-Lipsi-Agathonisi and return on Mondays. The usual frantic activity around Panormitis Festival time in early November soon drops back to this pattern by mid-November.

Blue Star Ferries have yet to publish the timetable, but the booking system shows that there will for the first time be three ferries each way a week all winter. The Blue Star Patmos will leave Piraeus on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, operating overnight and reaching Symi on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. As expected she then continues to Rhodes and onwards to either Kastellorizo or Karpathos (Wednesdays). Then she returns the same day, leaving Rhodes for Symi and islands beyond to Piraeus at 16:00 (Monday), 17:30 (Wednesday); or 19:00 (Friday). The exact pattern of islands served is different on each day of the week, but they all call at Kos.

More details when the actual timetable appears.

Thomas Cook – Day 12

Thomas Cook – Day 12

The final piece in the UK repatriation jigsaw is in place. Passengers who had bookings for Sunday 6 October on flight MT1887 from Kos to Birmingham should by now have been contacted directly by the Civil Aviation Authority to be told what alternative arrangements have been made for them. This obviously means that there won’t be a specific repatriation flight for them, and instead they will be given tickets on other existing flights from Kos to the UK (maybe involving a flight connection along the way, and maybe with a road transfer at the UK end to get to Birmingham), or maybe on a different day, such as Saturday.

So to round off the Kos story, there will be nobody left on Symi after Saturday with Thomas Cook Airlines flights to the UK who is entitled to a repatriation flight, except a tiny number of people with flight-only bookings issued with an ATOL certificate – there were very few of these, and probably none at all on Symi. Those that there are will be contacted directly by the CAA with details of alternative flights home.

Anyone who has a package holiday from another operator, or one tailor made for them by a specialist travel agent, which included Thomas Cook Airlines flights from Rhodes or Kos will have been contacted by now with alternative flight details.

That leaves people with flight only bookings. Sorry, you’re on your own now. You may be able to claim a refund through your credit card issuer (if you paid by credit card and the total was over £100).


Thomas Cook days 10 and 11

Thomas Cook days 10 and 11

Condor continues to operate normally. It’s been pointed out to me that Thomas Cook Scandanavia isn’t operating anywhere near as normally as it claims, with a flight from Oslo being 36 hours late into Rhodes this week.

The next set of repatriation flights to the UK have now been announced:

From Rhodes there will be a flight to Birmingham at 01:05 on Sunday 6 October, EuroAtlantic Airways flight YU1883. This will also carry passengers originally booked to Gatwick on 5 October (sounds dreadful, but the Gatwick flight was at 23:40 so departure is only 75 minutes later), as well as the Manchester passengers from 6 October. Road transport will be provided from Birmingham to Gatwick and Manchester.

For those who don’t know, EuroAtlantic is a Portuguese airline specialising in short-term charters like these.


This completes the flights from Rhodes. Anyone holding  a Thomas Cook ticket from Rhodes to the UK dated 7 October or later and needing to return to the UK, will have one of three options:

If they were on a package holiday provided by a tour operator other than Thomas Cook, that tour operator is responsible for getting them home, and has probably already been in touch about it.

Or, if they have an ATOL certificate issued by Thomas Cook, the UK Civil Aviation Authority will be responsible for getting them home. They will be given tickets on other existing flights, and the CAA will probably have already been in touch with them about it.

If neither of these applies to you, sorry, you’re on your own and need to arrange your own flight back. You may be able to recover some or all of the cost from insurance or a credit card issuer if you paid by credit card and the cost was over £100.

There’s still one flight from Kos where details of the repatriation flight has not been released yet, once that is done, normal blog service will resume.


Thomas Cook Day 9

Thomas Cook Day 9

Again no known problems for Thomas Cook Scandanavia or Condor passengers.

The next batch of UK repatriation flights:

Thursday 3 October: For Rhodes flights see my previous blog post. For Kos flights. the Gatwick flight will operate as  originally scheduled, with an XT (Titan) flight number. This flight leaves at 17:00. Passengers for Birmingham and Manchester will also travel on this plane, with coach transfer onwards from Gatwick.

To help passengers due to return after 6 October, those people on Thomas Cook packages whose return flight was always due to be with Easyjet will still be able to use it up to the end of October as booked, as Easyjet will honour the original bookings. Quite a few TC packages were sold using Easyjet flights this year. Nobody would have bought a “flight only” from Thomas Cook Airlines including an Easyjet flight, but as far as I know, if they’ve been daft enough to do it, Easyjet will honour it too.

Why would they need to have been daft to book it with Thomas Cook Airlines? Well, nobody selling flight only tickets can undercut the websites of low cost carriers such as Ryanair or Easyjet, and while occasionally it seems they have, this is due to obsolete prices being displayed by the seller, or fares being offered that don’t include essentials so more money has to be paid later. Different with packages, because there are other items such as accommodation, transfers, car hire etc bundled in, and you only see the total price.



Thomas Cook Day 8

Thomas Cook Day 8

Condor and Thomas Cook Scandanavia continue to operate as scheduled.

Repatriation flights for Thomas Cook UK customers have been announced as follows:

From Rhodes

Tuesday 1 October . The Manchester flight will operate as originally scheduled, using an XT (Titan) flight number and departing at 22:40. Gatwick passengers must use the Manchester flight and a coach transfer will be provided from Manchester to Gatwick.

Wednesday 2 October  The Manchester flight will operate as originally scheduled, using an XT (Titan) flight number and departing at 21:50. The Cardiff flight passengers will travel on the 01:10 Bristol flight which leaves in the very early morning of Thursday 3 October, with coach transfer from Bristol to Cardiff. Glasgow passengers will travel on the Manchester flight, again with coach transfer at the UK end, and the same applies to East Midlands passengers.

Birmingham passengers will travel on Ryanair flight FR1721 to London Stansted, with a coach transfer back to Birmingham. This flight leaves at 12:05.

Thursday 3 October . The Bristol flight will operate in the original times, with an XT flight number.

From Kos

Wednesday 2 October. The Manchester flight will operate as originally scheduled, using an XT flight number

We’re now getting towards the end of the operation. Kos flights for  Thursday 3 October and Sunday 6 October, and Rhodes flights for Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 October will be announced shortly. After that, anyone booked on a Thomas Cook flight back to the UK and holding an ATOL certificate should be contacted directly by the CAA and given details of which existing other-operator flights they will be booked onto. Anyone with a Thomas Cook booking to the UK and no ATOL certificate must make their own arrangements for dates after 6 October, at their own expense (unless they are on a package holiday though another company such as Olympic Holidays, in which case the company will arrange and pay for alternative flights).


Thomas Cook, Day 7

Thomas Cook, Day 7

So here are the details of UK repatriation flights for Monday 30 September:

There were no Thomas Cook flights scheduled from Rhodes. From Kos there were flights to Manchester, Bristol, and Gatwick.

The Manchester flight will operate at the original time with flight number LL1261 (that’s Miami Air International, a US-based charter airline).

The Bristol flight will not operate and passengers will travel on the replacement Gatwick flight, with road transport from Gatwick to Bristol.

A replacement Gatwick flight will be operated by EasyJet at the original time, using flight number EZY9975.

Thomas Cook Day 6

Thomas Cook Day 6

Thomas Cook Scandanavia and Condor continue to operate.

UK passengers repatriation flights have been announced as follows:

Replacing flights from Kos on Sunday 29th:  Birmingham, same departure time as original flight, XT (Titan) flight number.

Replacing flights from Rhodes today (28th) Gatwick, same time, XT flight number, and very early Sunday (29th) Manchester and Birmingham, both same times, both XT flight numbers.

After this point there’s an increasing likelihood of time changes and passengers for several airports being consolidated onto one UK-bound flight with coach transfers back to home airport. This is because all the package holiday passengers who booked one week breaks will have returned home, only those on 10/11/14 day holidays or longer will  remain to be repatriated, so there will be fewer people travelling.

Thomas Cook – day 5

Thomas Cook – day 5

Condor and Thomas Cook Scandanavia continue to operate almost normally. The repatriation flights for people due to fly to the UK with Thomas Cook also continue.

From Rhodes the Gatwick flight on Saturday will be operated at the same time as originally planned, but with a ZT (Titan) flight number.

Flight details for Sunday departures from Kos and Rhodes are yet to be announced.


Thomas Cook, day 4

Thomas Cook, day 4

As there were no Thomas Cook UK flights scheduled out of Rhodes or Kos on Friday 27 September, there are no repatriation flights either.

Wednesday’s repatriation programme (along with early Thursday morning’s) seems to have gone off with no more delays than on a usual Wednesday (which isn’t saying all that much). At least two flights (East Midlands and Manchester from Rhodes – there may have been others) used Avion Express planes in full Thomas Cook colours, the same planes that have been doing contract flying for Thomas Cook all summer, and Rhodes to Cardiff used a Thomas Cook liveried SmartLynx plane.