A group of British students was having a great time at a NH ski resort. Then the hotel destroyed all their passports.

"The situation should never have happened."

A New Hampshire hotel has issued a public apology three weeks after a box of passports were mishandled and destroyed, causing immense stress and travel delays for a group of students visiting from England.

“We’ve heard a lot of anger and disappointment these last two weeks in response to an unfortunate, regrettable situation that occurred involving one of our visiting ski groups,” the management team at Kancamagus Lodge said in a statement.

“First and foremost, we are deeply sorry,” management said. “We take full responsibility and offer a genuine apology to our guests and community. We have a responsibility to protect our guests and their information. Unfortunately, we fell short of this responsibility and our actions have threatened the trust of our guests that we have built over the years.”


On Feb. 19, a manager spent some time organizing the back office and gathered items to toss in the dumpster. Among the items that person grabbed was a box of passports belonging to one of the hotel’s international ski groups, management said.

The box “was accidentally put in our private, secure on-site dumpster,” management wrote. “Our scheduled, contracted garbage disposal company emptied the dumpster and promptly destroyed all contents.”

Hotel officials discovered what happened after one of the group’s chaperones asked where the box was, as they wanted to add another passport to the collection.

“Upon realization of what happened, we deployed our management team to attempt rectification of this action, but, to our horror, there was no way to correct this action and return the passports to our guests,” management said. “We immediately notified the guests and began working with our guests to come to the most satisfactory resolution.”

It’s not clear how the hotel sought to rectify the situation, or whether that included compensation for the group’s stay and/or new passports.

“We worked closely with the tour operating company, contributing however we could towards their extended stay, to come to a swift, safe, and successful resolution that was satisfactory to all involved,” management said.


Kate Hibbs, the head teacher of Barr Beacon Head School in Wallsall, England, told WMUR-TV that there were 42 students and four staff members on the trip, which began Feb. 17.

The group was expected to get home Feb. 25, but was unable to return until March 1 since they needed to secure emergency documents after 41 of their passports were destroyed, WMUR reported. The students and their chaperones used the additional time to visit New York City, according to a post on their school’s website, which also noted that the students “had an amazing time” even if the trip wound up featuring “more exploring than they had planned for.”

Kancamagus Lodge issued a statement in the weeks following the incident, calling the situation “awful” and acknowledging that “the irreversible mishandling (of) our guests’ passports has elicited many responses from our guests and community: outrage, anger, disappointment.”

“We share all of those sentiments,” management said. “For us, personally, we’ll add shame to that list. The situation should never have happened.”

The team also emphasized efforts to learn from the incident and re-earn the trust of the community.

Management said the following:

“In addition to offering our profound apologies to our guests and their families, we also offer our sincere apology to our community for not representing our industry in the best of our ability and for not living up to the expectations you have of us.

Our guests’ safety, protection, and satisfaction must be at the center of everything we do and your opinion of our service is the measure of our success. We know we did not measure up in this instance, and for that we will redouble our efforts to earn your trust.

This experience has rendered us speechless while we focused on making sure that the school group returned home safely. It has provided a humbling learning experience from which we will take immediate, concrete action. We have committed to our guests that we are going to make this right so nothing like this ever happens again.

First, we are committing that we will protect our guests and their information to the best of our ability and with an exceptional guest experience being at the forefront of our minds at all times. Second, we’ve started a thorough review of policies and practices that govern our guests(‘) safety and protection. We will no longer blindly follow past procedures and practices and develop new procedures and practices that will be above the industry standard. Third, we will connect with fellow industry professionals to help us better understand the industry standards and amplify the guest experience in order for us to put our guests first. Our values will guide everything we do.

Our guests and community expect more from us and we promise we can and will be better. We are committed to putting proof behind our promise.

Thank you for gifting us the opportunity to re-earn your trust.”

The Kancamagus Lodge Management Team


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