A ‘disgusted’ mother-of-three claims Virgin Holidays hiked up the price of a Disney World trip from £3,000 to £22,000 to ‘take advantage’ after Thomas Cook’s collapse.
Danielle Quinnin, of Whitley Bay in Tyne and Wear, discovered the £6,000 trip she booked for her family with Thomas Cook last year had been cancelled on Monday due to the company’s liquidation.
The 26-year-old immediately started searching for Disney World holiday deals and found a similar but less-inclusive two-week trip for £3,174 with Virgin Holidays.
But just two hours later when Mrs Quinnin revisited the site with her husband Dean, 32, to make the booking, the couple were ‘disgusted’ to see the price had shot up to £22,276.
Danielle Quinnin, pictured with her husband Dean and their three children, discovered the £6,000 trip she booked for her family with Thomas Cook last year had been cancelled on Monday due to the company’s liquidation
For the Quinnins, the huge price rise meant their family’s dreams of a trip to Disney World were shattered and they were forced to break the news to their distraught ‘Disney-obsessed’ children Eva, six, Isla, three, and six-month-old Vinnie (pictured)
Energy consultant Mrs Quinnin claims the dramatic 600 percent price hike is Virgin Holidays trying to ‘make money from desperate people’ in the wake of the Thomas Cook collapse.
Virgin Holidays deny the frustrated family’s accusations, explaining that prices are only increasing due to high booking volumes and limited availability.
For the Quinnins, the huge price rise meant their family’s dreams of a trip to Disney World were shattered and they were forced to break the news to their distraught ‘Disney-obsessed’ children Eva, six, Isla, three, and six-month-old Vinnie.
Mrs Quinnin, 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 26-year-old immediately started searching for Disney World holiday deals and found a similar but less-inclusive two-week trip for £3,174.47 with Virgin Holidays. But just two hours later when Mrs Quinnin revisited the site with her husband Dean, 32, to make the booking, the couple were ‘disgusted’ to see the price had shot up to £22,276.53
‘The kids speak about going to Disney every single day. 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. They’ve got a case full of Disney clothing, Mickey Mouse hairbands. We’ve been buying it all throughout the year.
‘It’s disgusting that Virgin think they can make money because people are desperate.’
Mr Quinnin, who is also an energy consultant, had saved for 12 months to book the trip – even booking a place for Vinnie, before he was born.
The family’s original booking with Thomas Cook included on-site accommodation, return flights, Disney transport and their £1,600 theme park tickets.
Energy consultant Mrs Quinnin claims the dramatic 600 percent price hike is Virgin Holidays trying to ‘make money from desperate people’ in the wake of the Thomas Cook collapse
THOMAS COOK CUSTOMERS WHO LOST TRIPS TO DISNEY FLORIDA OFFERED CHEAP ORLANDO VILLAS
Customers who booked a Disney holiday in Orlando through Thomas Cook are being offered the chance to rebook their Disney holiday with Ocean Florida.
The team at Romford-based Florida specialist is working round the clock to re-confirm as many Disney bookings as possible, with the same requirements as their original booking, including holidays with Disney Dining plans, meaningDisney dreams are secured for hundreds of families.
Customers rebooking their Disney holiday will need to rebook extra services like FastPass+ and dining reservations using their new Disney confirmation number.
On top of this the team at Ocean Florida is endeavouring to drive down Florida villa prices for consumers in the wake of the Thomas Cook collapse, as others are accused of hiking prices at this difficult time.
Ocean Florida is offering 20 per cent off Florida villas to all Thomas Cook customers who want to secure their dream Florida holiday. By working with one of Cook’s major villa suppliers in Orlando, the team has secured extra inventory to ensure that these homes remain accessible to Thomas Cooks’ customers.
Ocean Florida co-chief executive Harry Hastings, said: “Thanks to our great relationships in Florida, built up over the past 15 years, we have been able to forge these inroads for UK customers looking to secure their holiday after the Thomas Cook collapse.
“Florida is a holiday-of-a-lifetime for so many families. The thought of having to disappoint your children when you’re due to travel to Disney must be completely devastating. We’re committed to helping families realise their holiday plans and are working round the clock.
After their trip was cancelled, Mrs Quinnin found a quote on Virgin Holidays’ website for £3,174 which would include return flights and car hire but only an off-site villa and no theme park tickets.
As the parent clicked on the deal, she claims a message appeared on the page stating that the ‘holiday was no longer valid’.
When Mrs Quinnin returned to the Virgin Holidays page after doing the school run, she was issued a new quote of £5,168.
Mrs Quinnin rushed to show her husband Dean just two hours later before the price went up further, but they were too late – their two-week holiday had skyrocketed to £22,276.
Mrs Quinnin said: ‘We had booked to stay on site with Disney, Disney transport, our park tickets through Thomas Cook. Everything. We got up and saw they’d gone into liquidation. I realised there wasn’t a lot we could do.
‘I went online to see if there were any similar holidays because I’ve got three children who were very excited to go to Disney World. I spent all of Monday trying Disney themselves. I was on the phone for about two hours and couldn’t get through.
‘They’ve pretty much said it’s unfortunate and there’s no availability unless I want to go to a platinum hotel because that’s all they’ve got. They’ve no availability for two weeks at all, so we’d have to go for a week.
‘Other holiday company websites had crashed. Of course, they’ll be quite busy too. I went onto the Virgin website and found something quite reasonable but as soon as I clicked on it, it said ‘this holiday is no longer valid’.
‘The £3,000 was for a villa, flights and car hire. I would have taken that, it would have been perfect. We’d still have no Disney tickets and that was £1,600 for two adults and two children. The baby went free.
‘I searched again then the prices had gone up and they kept going up. Later when I was showing my husband we were quoted £22,276. The last time I searched it was £24,000 – for the same holiday on for £3,000 that morning.
Eva, six, Isla, three, and six-month-old Vinnie
‘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, the Quinnins faced the difficulty of explaining to their children that they would no longer be meeting their favourite characters
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, the Quinnins faced the difficulty of explaining to their children that they would no longer be meeting their favourite characters.
While the kids were ‘devastated’ they understood their parents predicament and Eva reassured her mother they would ‘go another time’.
Mrs Quinnin 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 rebook 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: ‘As a result of this being brought to our attention, Virgin Holidays investigated the price anomaly and we can confirm that this was an exceptionally busy day for customer sales and enquiries.
‘As a result, unfortunately the economy flight options which were available very quickly sold out, meaning that customers searching for this particular holiday package, will have been automatically offered upper class flight availability.
‘We do appreciate the distress that the closure of Thomas Cook has had not only on staff, but also on holidaymakers. We are confident in the work that our teams are doing with our suppliers around the world to offer the best possible price, as well as our customer service teams, who are working with thousands of customers to help them fulfil their holiday plans.
‘We would encourage any customers who discover a pricing anomaly, such as this, to contact the Virgin Holidays team who will work with them directly to help them fulfil their holiday requirements.’