A FURIOUS mum has accused Virgin Holidays of hiking up the price of a Disney World trip from £3,000 to £22,000 in the wake of Thomas Cook’s collapse.
Danielle Quinnin, 26, along with her partner Dean, 32, discovered a £6,000 trip they had booked via Thomas Cook was cancelled – the mum-of-three was desperately searching for an alternative for her devastated kids when she discovered the huge price hike.
The 26-year-old immediately started frantically searching for Disney World holiday deals and found a similar but less-inclusive two-week trip for £3,174.47 with Virgin Holidays.
But the energy consultant claims that when she tried to click through to book the cheaper holiday, an error message appeared stating that the holiday was “no longer valid.”
Danielle checked again a few hours later and spotted the holiday was still available – except this time it had increased in price to £5,168.36.
And when she went to show husband Dean a few hours later the price had shot up to an eye-watering £22,276.53.
Danielle, from Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear, said: “I couldn’t believe it. We’ve had our holiday to Florida booked for a year. It cost just under £6,000 originally.
“It’s crazy. I feel like Virgin are jumping on this [Thomas Cook’s liquidation] and using it as an opportunity to make as much as possible.”
The pair saved they saved up for 12 months for the trip, even booking their baby son a ticket before he was born
Danielle says her two eldest daughters couldn’t way to get to Disney: “All they talk about is what princesses they’re going to see, who’s going to be there, what rides they’re going to go on.
“The kids were the perfect ages for Disney – there was something for everyone.
“We’ve literally bought all Disney things throughout the summer.”
Danielle has slammed the price-hike, which she claims is to “take advantage” of devastated Thomas Cook customers: “It’s disgusting that Virgin think they can make money because people are desperate.
“The last time I searched it was £24,000 – for the same holiday that was there for £3,000 that morning.
“There’s no way that holiday is worth £24,000. It’s hard to imagine it costing that much even in the summer holidays.
“That price was just for a standard villa, flight and the car, whereas before we were staying on site at Disney World.
“It’s so sad. I imagined they’d go up, but not as much as they have.”
The Quinnins are now losing hope of a getaway this year and plan to claim through ATOL to get some – but not all – of the money they spent with Thomas Cook back.
The parents had also forked out upwards of £500 on Disney merchandise for their girls ready for the big trip to meet their favourite princesses.
But on Monday night, Danielle and Dean faced the difficulty of explaining to their children that they would no longer be meeting their favourite characters.
‘DON’T WORRY MUM, WE CAN GO ANOTHER TIME’
While the kids were “devastated” they understood their parents predicament and Eva reassured her mum they would “go another time.”
Danielle said: “The children were absolutely devastated but understood there’s nothing else we can do so we just can’t go.
“Eva, my eldest, just kept saying ‘don’t worry Mam, we can go another time’. It’s awful.
“You have to book your fast passes 60 days before you go and that actually worked out to be on Monday for us.
“We spent all day on Sunday watching videos of what rides we’d book our fast passes for, then on Monday morning we couldn’t even do it.
“Families like us, with children who are so looking forward to this holiday of a lifetime, might feel like they have no other option.
“You kind of feel like you’ve got to. But I can’t afford to go out and re-book it now.
“At the moment, we’re going to have to cut our losses and possibly book again next year.
“We can claim through ATOL, but from what I’ve read that could take more than two months to get the money back and we’re not covered for Disney tickets or anything like that.
“We might not be able to go on a holiday at all if we don’t get any money back.
“It’s a lot of money to be waiting on and hoping you get back.”
Virgin Holidays said they have not increased fares on specific routes or across holiday packages that were previously operated by Thomas Cook.
A Virgin Holidays spokesperson said: “We’re sorry to learn that Thomas Cook has ceased trading and recognise the impact on its customers and staff in the UK and abroad.
“We are seeing high booking volumes and some peak travel dates are getting very busy.
“As a result, prices can increase as flights fill up and accommodation becomes limited, which all travel companies, including Virgin Holidays, will experience due to operating a dynamic pricing system, based on availability and demand.
“We can confirm that we have not increased fares on specific routes or across holiday packages that were previously also operated by Thomas Cook, nor have we changed any of our pricing policies since Thomas Cook ceased trading.
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“We want to do our best to ensure customers can enjoy the holidays they’ve been looking forward to.
“We always aim to provide the most competitive prices for customers wishing to book future trips with us, and we’re confident in the hard work that our teams are doing in collaboration with Virgin Atlantic and suppliers around the world to help customers fulfil their holiday plans.”
Danielle posted to Facebook about the wildly differing price points[/caption]
The family say they’ve been stocking up on Disney merchandise all summer[/caption]
Danielle and Dean say the kids are devastated[/caption]
The super-organised couple had booked a place for their son, Freddie before he was even born[/caption]
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