Holidaymakers have spoken of their uncertainty after Thomas Cook announced it would cease trading this morning.

The 178-year-old travel agent said it needed £200 million to avoid entering administration, but announced it was shutting down after being unable to find the money.

It means all bookings, flights and holidays with the travel agent have been cancelled.

Murray Lee, from Bushey, flew out to Turkey with his wife Barbara on Friday, just before the collapse.

The couple are due to fly home on September 30, and are worried they may not be able to get on a flight home.

The 64-year-old said: “We will try to enjoy the rest of our holiday but there is nothing we can do.

“We’ve been constantly checking with the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) to see what is going on and when you’re not told anything it makes it worse.”

Mr Lee admitted he anticipated Thomas Cook would cease trading before leaving for their holiday.

“We were prepared for this,” Mr Lee explained, “Our hands are tied until we know what is happening, but we have done extra packing since we knew this might happen.

“In a way I actually think we were lucky because we got to go away on our holiday and haven’t lost our money like other people unfortunately may have done.

“I do think it is very sad Thomas Cook has ceased trading, as well as for the employees and everyone linked to it.”

Sam Levy, 22, from Bushey, had his flight cancelled after he and his girlfriend Amy had booked a holiday to Florida in November.

Watford Observer:

Sam Levy was due to go to Florida with Thomas Cook in November (Photo credit Sam Levy)

Despite being refunded the money after booking through Travel Republic, he said prices have exceeded £300 to book the same flights with other airlines.

He said: “It is a real shame that Thomas Cook went into administration but at the same time it is very annoying.

“We’re annoyed that we have to rebook this, especially with the higher prices for other airlines.

“It’s causing us distress and we are not sure what to do, but I think we will have to hold out and hope prices drop.”

In a statement, Thomas Cook said: “Thomas Cook has confirmed that all the UK companies in its group have ceased trading, including Thomas Cook Airlines.

“As a result, we are sorry to inform you that all holidays and flights provided by these companies have been cancelled and are no longer operating. All Thomas Cook's retail shops have also closed.

“If you are due to depart from a UK airport with Thomas Cook Airlines, please do not travel to your UK airport as your flight will not be operating and you will not be able to travel.”

Southern, Gatwick Express, Thameslink and Great Northern will honour rail tickets on train services of Thomas Cook passengers returning to the UK.