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Parents and dance teachers “fury” over Virgin’s money offer

Robin Bowman

Robin Bowman
May 10, 2016

Parents and teachers are ‘furious’ over Virgin’s compensation offer to a troupe of teenage girls left stranded in New York after the holiday company cancelled their hotel without telling them.

We reported how the teenagers arrived late at night at their paid-for hotel in the Big Apple to be told there was no booking for them. Because Virgin had cancelled it without telling them.

The group of 28 girls (pictured at the top), parents and teachers from the Strourbridge Dance Academy were forced to sleep in a corridor and a conference room as temperatures outside dropped to minus 14C.

Head of the academy and organiser of the trip, Beverley Rabone said: “It was horrendous. Most of the girls got about two hours sleep and I had none at all. I spent the whole night on the phone to worried parents and to Virgin, who just kept saying they were ‘looking into it!’

“Well, 13 hours later the next morning, they were still looking into it.”

After teacher Katie Hadley-Scott highlighted the story with A Spokesman Said, it was picked up by the national press and featured in The Sun and the Daily Mail.

As a result, Virgin then stepped in with an offer of £106 towards the group’s £850-a-head package. 

They also offered to pay for everyone’s breakfasts, amounting to £22 a-head, and Beverley’s £244 phone bill.

In statement Virgin said: “We never want to disappoint our customers and were sorry to hear about the experience of the Stourbridge Dance Academy. We are investigating the situation to understand how this happened.”

Beverley said: “That’s fine as far as it goes. 

“But after we’ve all been so reasonable and fair, the parents and myself are furious with the way this has been handled.

“We’ve done everything by the book and expected them to do the decent thing. But what Virgin have to understand is that this was a very traumatic experience for these young girls AND me and the adults in the party.

“We had paid £76 per head to see Aladdin on Broadway the next evening and it was a complete waste of money. We were all like zombies – totally zonked – and we all slept through the show.”

Beverly says she believes Virgin should pay for those theatre tickets on top of their offer and compensate each member of the party with a further £200 for the stress.

“I think we’re being very reasonable and I have been very calm with them – but I want to make it clear that we will take this further unless Virgin are reasonable.”

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If you need to make a complaint about a travel company, publicise your issue on A Spokesman Said.

You can read more about the girl's experience - and see the pictures - here



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