Virgin Atlantic Airways

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Posted by on
I have sent a complaint litter before and stated that I had a very bad outgoing flight experience and was regretting the flight back as you can read in this previous letter which was sent to you Virgin Atlantic on 5/31/2011;
(I and my two kids flew Virgin Atlantic from lax to Amman Jordan connecting in London with BMI. The flight was on time, that’s the only positive thing I can say about this flight, the entertainment, what entertainment? There was no service on the TV screen the whole flight to London, the food service was awful, and the food portions were very small. Only two food serving on the whole (11 HR.) flight, and when calling the flight attendants were very rude. In other words very poor service…I still have to fly back for the return flight. I'm really concerned about that flight. I will never fly or recommend Virgin Atlantic Airline to anybody!!!)

On the return flight back I called Virgin Atlantic airlines to confirm the flight 3days before the flight date. They told me OK you’re confirmed. Great so far so good until I went to check in at the airport ticketing desk, where they told me that I don’t have a ticket that my ticket was canceled. That’s when I called my husband in California and then he called Virgin Atlantic airlines to find out what is the problem. He was told at the first call that there was a flight change, that somebody had called and changed the flight number and that in order to reissue and release the ticket he had to pay $600.00 first, he told them that neither me or my wife had called or authorized or did any change on that flight at all at anytime. They put him on hold for about 15 to 20 minutes to find out what had happened to cause this. After about 15-20 minutes they came back saying that the person that did the change was our travel agent at that time he called the travel agent while Virgin Atlantic was still on the line but he had to leave a message because it was after hours here in California. Because of the flight time and that my flight was about take off in approximately one hour his hands were tied and had to pay the $600.00 in order for me to catch my flight so my kids can get to school the flowing Monday which I told the ticketing desk and of course they did not care and did nothing to help. After he paid 600.00 they said that to give them about 5 minutes for them to process. After about 5 minutes they did not reissue the ticket my husband called Virgin again, they re-checked the ticket validation and reason for the hold or cancellation Of the ticket again and said that the credit card number was not correct and they need a different card number which he gave them another card number so that I can make my flight. After it was processed and approved and my ticket was issued he asked them again why the extra charge, after putting on hold for another 20 minutes they came back and gave him different reason for the flight number change and the reason for the extra charge, this time they said the reason is that BMI airlines had changed the flight number only and that even though virgin Atlantic charged HIS Card for the extra charge they told him you have to take it up with BMI airline…this flight was the worst airline experience I have ever encountered from departing to the amazing heartless return flight. This would be the last time I travel with or recommend Virgin Atlantic to anybody I know and I will email copy to customer relations and post it online reviews….


     
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Virgin Atlantic appear not to need customers anymore
Posted by on
Thank you for opening this thread as I am furious with the service I have received from Virgin Atlantic and now am looking for ways to air my displeasure.
I am also very saddened at the change in attitude that Virgin Atlantic are now displaying when dealing with their customers. Until this year I was a great champion of the Virgin brand and rather naively believed that Richard Branson actually did care what his customers felt. Virgin Atlantic have demonstrated to me that their customer services organization have very little regard for how their customers feel and even worse place an extremely low value on customer retention. I initially sent a complaint (copied below) to Virgin Atlantic on the 14th January 2009, I actually believed because of the way I had been treated Richard Branson might be made aware (I know it was a stupid wish). What I didn’t expect was the complete disregard I experienced. I sent many e-mails pleading for help, however I was ignored or received replies from people who either couldn’t understand written English very well, or couldn’t be bothered to address the issues I had raised. Finally I wrote a paper letter to Steve Griffiths (Virgin Executive) to which I actually received a reply from somebody who had actually read and understood my complaint. I was amazed though to find that Virgin Atlantic claim they are unable to compensate me appropriately for my suffering because “they must remain consistent in the gesture they offer or else it would be unfair on other customers” In a nut shell, If their attitude is if we treated appropriately everyone else would expect the same.
My family of five are all members of the Virgin Flying club and no longer wish to be associated with Virgin so asked if we could close our accounts and transfer the miles, in response we were informed that we couldn’t transfer the miles but could close the accounts and give our air-miles to a charity!
Here is a copy of the mail that I sent to Virgin on the 14th Jan 2009. It has taken 11 follow-ups and over 4 months to receive a reply that basically says Virgin are sad to loose my custom, but are not prepared to give me appropriate compensation to keep it.

I have never written to a Chairman of any company, let alone somebody like you because I believe that the customer relations departments in large companies probably ensure that the men at the top do not have to spend time dealing with customers. However I have a feeling that Virgin atlantic may be different so it’s worth a try.


Hi Richard

I am (and have been for some time a champion of Virgin atlantic)
I have had enjoyed many fantastic holidays in Virgin resorts and for me and my family a huge part of the holiday is the “getting there” part.

In my opinion Virgin atlantic has the best service to the Caribbean & USA. A few years ago we were fortunate enough to enjoy the experience of “Premium economy” as a result we have not been able to consider booking a flight with your competitors or even in a Virgin standard cabin and therefore for me (until I Win the Lottery (and can upgrade to Virgin Upper Class)) Virgin Premium Economy is the only way for us to travel.

I perform as a singer and my girlfriend works in a Marks & Spencer’s. All of our disposable income is saved to be pay for the highlight of our year which is a fortnight away somewhere sunny.

Last year we chose Barbados and obviously we chose your airline to get us there. The flight experience out was (as expected) superb. All your cabin staff are just fantastic either you have a great recruitment section, great training or both. The crew really do seem pleased to welcome you on board and want to make your flight as brilliant as they can, one of your flight crew on the way out even gave us his contact details so that I could send him some comps to come to the Dover Street wine bar to see me sing.

We had a fantastic holiday and on the 16th November had to come home (flight VS030 seats 33D&E). Your crew welcomed us on board and (on the quite, I ordered a bottle of champagne to be put on ice as I had a proposal planned for my girlfriend).

As the flight prepared to take off an announcement was made that the crew had been made aware pre-flight that the entertainment system had developed a fault and therefore it would not be available.

We were seated in a bank of four seats in the center of the cabin, a teenage girl who was sitting next to my girlfriend immediately started to cry and complain to her mum that there was something wrong with the plane. To make things even worse the fault with the entertainment system meant that we could not control the reading lights (in our bank of seats three out of the four were off while just mine was on). The upset teenager stood and without asking re-adjusted my light so that it illuminated her area, as the kid was already playing up I did not make things any worse and let her have the light.

Because we were looking forward to watching the films on the way home we had left our I-pods in our cases (which were in the hold) so for many hours my girlfriend and I sat listening to a whining teenager who spent the whole journey whinging to her mum that it was unfair not to have the TV, she was scared that there was a problem with the plane, the light (that should have been directed at my position) was inadequate for her to read by, and later in the journey that she was unable to relax because she could not turn the light off. My girlfriend and I did not have a fantastic time coming home, in actual fact it was miserable.

We spent many thousands of pounds on our holiday and for us the journey home was spoiled (that’s the last bit we remember of our holiday). We were told that we could claim a £25 discount token/duty free voucher each as a measure of compensation for the spoiled flight.

We could have chosen a much cheaper way of getting to our holiday destination but we are not only loyal Virgin customers but actually champions of your company so chose Virgin atlantic. I feel that £25 does not reflect realistic compensation and hope that you will consider offering a more acceptable compensation. I realize that you do not travel Premium Economy, however if you suffered the same as my girlfriend and I, I believe you would also being sending a mail similar to this to the person you felt might help.

We do intend to travel with you again next year, please offer us reasonable compensation.

I am sorry it has taken me a while to send you this mail but since my holiday my life has been a bit traumatic.

     
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Ben There on 2009-05-23:
Would you have preferred they cancelled the flight, or delayed it for 24 hours while repairs could be sent over from London so you could have watched television for 7 hours? £25 sounds very realistic compensation for not getting to watch a movie.

How much free money do you want?
rudybjr on 2009-05-23:
Get over it, things happen!
Ponie on 2009-05-23:
Instead of asking Sir Richard for 'more acceptable compensation,' why don't you direct your request to the whining teenager and her mum? If someone turned 'my' light in their direction, they'd be slapped upside the head. Good thing you couldn't propose to your girlfriend. If she reads this, she may decide to say no until you grow some.
Anonymous on 2009-05-23:
I have run into some rude passengers on my flights as well, but I dismissed them as ingnorance. One was a lady on a flight in front of me. I had no sooner sat in my sit when she turned around, gave me a dirty look, and asked that I re-direct my air vent immediately. I wanted to say something a little rude, but bit my lip and fixed it. Another time, I was on a flight in Asia and I went to
s-l-o-w-l-y recline my seat (on a 7 hour flight). The seat was pushed forward quite violently--twice. I turned around to be confronted by a tiny Asian woman who said I needed to ask before reclining my seat. WTH. On my 4th try, I reclined the seat--again very slowly. (My partner and I could hear the "Twilight Zone" song in our heads.) The lady called the flight attendant who told her I could do whatever I wanted with my seat. Peace at last! I let her make a fool out of herself.

I guess you always have the "opportunity" to run into people on flights that are unreasonable. They somehow feel "special". You definitely have to deal with it in some way. I would never get in a direct confrontation though, because I sure don't want to get kicked off any flight (I have the fear in me).
BokiBean on 2009-05-23:
knowitall, LOL! I can just picture a planeful of people, "pardon me, do you mind if I lower my seat", "pardon me do you mind if I lower my seat", "pardon me..."

I also cringe at those people that kick your seat from behind, over and over and over.
Anonymous on 2009-05-23:
I know, Boki, that's taking being polite to a whole new level, LOL.

Oh, yeah, Boki, I hate the seat kickers too. It's funny when it's a kid, I just turn around and stare at them. They stop real fast. (I must be scary!!) I always wonder why their parent's can't tell them to stop. I sure wouldn't let my kids do that.

BokiBean on 2009-05-23:
That annoys the snot out of me! My parents would yank a knot in me for staring like that when I was a kid.

But usually I just pull faces at them and end up laughing... :D
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Horrendous Customer Service
Posted by on
I had originally booked a flight from New York JFK to London Heathrow for the 10th of April (last week). A couple days before the flight, a close family friend passed away. I had to postpone my departure to attend the funeral. So, on Thursday the 9th, I spoke with one of your service representatives (who did not provide me his name, but sounded to be in a South Asian call center). I asked for the next available date of comparable fare. This was apparently too confusing for him, so I had to give him a specific date. He did some typing and responded with "I'm sorry sir, but there are no available flights that day. Would you like me to search another date?" I took a deep breath to calmly prepare for what I realized was going to be a very painful phone call.

Several minutes later, we had found that the next available flight would be about two weeks later (approaching my return date). I realized that, considering the $200 change fee, I might be better off just booking a one-way flight with another airline. The representative said, "Sir, I can make this an 'open ticket' and you can call back once you've decided on the date." "Great!" I thought. "Thanks, I'll do that."

Today, the 13th of April at 3:40 PM EST, I called back in an attempt to finalize arrangements. I spoke with a woman named "Donna", but from the quality of the connection and her accent, I figured that I was again connected with a call center and her name probably wasn't Donna anyway. I gave her my booking reference and quickly brought her up to speed. She informed me that there was no note or anything to indicate that I had an "open ticket" and, in fact, I had been listed as a no-show for my flight. Understanding that the first representative had apparently taken no action during our call, and was instead probably organizing his post-its or photos of his family, I sighed and figured we'd press on and see what could be done. She said that I could re-book the outbound flight as part of the same trip but that in addition to the change fee, I would likely have to pay an additional no-show fee. I gave her some dates to search and she kindly put me on hold... for about 10 minutes. When she returned, she let me know that in addition to the $200 change fee, there would be a $350 no-show fee (note: my original round-trip fare was about $460). Additionally, the difference in fare would be about $980. SO, to re-book this flight, I would have to pay over $1500. The sheer stupidity hurt my brain.

I quickly did a web search and found one-way flights for $500-600. I politely explained to her that $1500 made absolutely no sense whatsoever and I would really have no rational choice but to fly one-way with another airline. Though, as I'm writing this, I am thinking that I better call back to make sure no one has canceled my return ticket and pocketed my money. I have no confidence in the Virgin customer service, so I'm going to have to get on that call now and suffer a bit more.

I'd like to inject an important side-note to this experience, while I'm on hold. The Virgin Atlantic website (www.virgin-atlantic.com) is all but useless. You can't actually manage your booking. "Manage Your Flights" really only means "online check-in". When I first logged in her, there were a list of account actions, including "change your dates", but the actions didn't link anywhere. There was a note next to it, as a question mark image, that also did not click, but I was able to decipher that holding my cursor over it would reveal other useless information. I tried clicking a "customer service" link, which ultimately timed out and loaded no page. I did some additional searching for fares and promotional fares which gave me some results but also the note "Are your dates flexible? We found a cheaper fare for $xxx". When I clicked the related link, it just took me back to the original promotional fares / search page. Completely and utterly useless. Overall I'd say this website is so horribly behind all of the competition that there is no real used to even having attempting to use it.

So, I'm back on hold now after speaking to a competent representative named [snip](?). I have just learned that when a traveler is a "no-show" for their departure flight, the whole booking gets canceled. This means that I no longer have a return flight. So, had I booked another one-way flight, I would be in quite a bit of trouble! I explained the situation, and the primary problems are that the original agent did not make ANY note on the account, and I failed to get his name (which I really regret, but I had other things on my mind [ie:the upcoming funeral arrangements, schedules]) at the time. So, they could try to review calls from the date/time I provide them, but without a name, it's quite hard. I understand this. [snip] also understood that the fees and costs associated with making changes would be 3 times the cost of just booking a new trip through the Virgin-Atlantic website. Why didn't the last representative understand that basic reality of mathematics? So, the minutes are ticking by. We shall see the result. In the meantime, I'm searching flights with competitors. After all, if I have to re-book, I think Virgin has already gotten quite enough of my money, without having to render any service in return.

So, I got off hold. There's nothing they can do for me. There are so many ways in which they could have been accommodating and made some more money off me, but alas, they're not equipped with the knowledge to actually generate revenue for their business. I've just booked a new flight with another airline. I don't think I'll be booking with Virgin again anytime soon. Now I'm exhausted and in need of a drink.

     
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Virgin America's Gotcha Game
Posted by on
VENTURA, CALIFORNIA --

Re: the Virgin America “gotcha” game….

I am a vice president of a company and a seasoned “road warrior” with considerable experience flying with some of the best airlines in the world (and a few of the worst). I am also fortunate enough to be one of those “favored fliers” coveted by most airlines, as I usually purchase my first class seat/s, rather than upgrade, etc.

A fan of Virgin Atlantic for many years, I had been eager to fly the new Virgin America. In October 2007 I purchased (2) two First Class seats to fly from LA to New York for New Years. Due to unfortunate circumstances, I was unable to make the trip. As a courtesy and matter of habit, I phoned into Virgin America to notify the airline that I would not be making the trip. I was informed that an email would be sent to follow the call. To my knowledge, I never received this email, but thought nothing of it at the time.

A couple of weeks ago, I contacted Virgin America to make a new reservation for two, in First Class (considerably more expensive now). I gave the confirmation number of my original flight to use towards the new tickets, only to be told that there was NO credit on file for this former reservation. Inquiring further into this mystery… I was told that no record was found on their side that this reservation had been cancelled prior to departure. I conveyed that I had in fact done so, but still didn’t understand how this was relevant. Alas, I was told further that if either I had not cancelled the reservation prior to departure (or no record was found of such) that the entire fare amount was FORFEITED!

I was told that this forfeiture information was in their “Fare Rules”, and that there was nothing else that could be offered other than crediting me “1/2 of the total fare or the Guest Services agent would “get in trouble”.

I must confess that I am not one to read the fine print when purchasing a full fare First Class ticket/s. No airline known to me in the USA has such an absurd policy which penalizes passengers with a 100% loss (or anything close) of the fare/money spent. It is certainly way out of the norm with other US airline policies. At most, one can usually expect a nominal change fee of some amount, and even that is usually limited to restricted economy tickets, and other very restricted fares.

I had scanned originally, and have since reread, the email confirmation I received from Virgin America and NO mention is made of this policy under “Rules and Restrictions”. (I have since been able to find this policy / practice only in the “fine print” of their website.)

One can only imagine that I’m not the first to be snagged into this trap thus far. To be told that I’ve lost $2400.00 because no record (conveniently) was found of a reservation cancellation, that I didn’t even know I was supposed to have made… (but in fact actually had in this case).

There is no question in my mind that this weighty penalty is a deceptive loophole buried in the fine print of your fare rules. One could certainly deduce that Virgin America has intentionally done so to the peril of unsuspecting customers, who must be expected to swallow it and move on. Virgin America must also further anticipate that they will not see these customers again as a result, and that this loss of repeat customers is acceptable.

I feel robbed quite frankly, and I cannot compare this experience with any other short of literally being robbed. It is certainly a story worth telling to others considering flying Virgin America.

I did direct my complaint to the Vice President per the Customer Care Department’s recommendation, in writing. No response or resolution has been offered to date!



     
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Anonymous on 2008-08-06:
I'm sorry, I'm confused by your post and possibly am not understanding the complaint here. There was no record of a cancellation of the original flight, yet Virgin offered to credit you 1/2 the cost of your new flight? And you're upset?
Anonymous on 2008-08-07:
By your own admission you don't seem to "sweat details" perhaps you didn't pay "full fare." Ticketing can be somewhat confusing and VX is not unlike most carriers. Call and cancel or simply "no show" and you'd receive a full credit on a true full fare ticket. I'd call VX with your record locator and ask if this ticket was purchased as a coded "full fare" rather than a near full fare. Good luck.
Curly2355 on 2008-08-11:
We just experienced a similar problem with Virgin. We were told the change fee for a return flight was $200/ticket for tickets so we confirmed the change over the phone. When we got to the airport the change was there but now we had to pay an additional $800/ticket. Customer service keeps telling me that understand how difficult the experience was but "there is nothing they can do." I will never fly Virgin again and advise anyone who considers it not to do anything without written confirmation!
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Horrible Flight
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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS -- Our flight was from Chicago Ohare to London Heathrow, then we took a connection flight with a different airline, and then eventually, back from Heathrow airport back to Ohare. On the way to London the flight was wonderful. Nice crew, great TV service where you can listen to music watch TV shows, watch movies, or play games on your own time as in you don't have to wait for the next showing, and you can pause and fast forward as if it was a DVD. They also had a wide selection of new movies and classics for all ages, and the whole system was pretty high tech. The food quantity was pretty good but it wasn't that good. Just because you are a vegetarian doesn't mean you just eat vegetables all the time. But no airlines have this concept, so I won't blame Virgin Atlantic for it. The reception on the TV was good, the seats were comfortable, and they give you a warm comfortable blanket as well as a toiletries kit.

However on the way back from Heathrow to Ohare, there were a number of difficulties. When we were shopping for perfume at the airport, we saw the sign that said the flight was closing, so we rushed to the gate hoping we wouldn't miss the flight. Then on the plane, I the seat was dirty. Then we had to wait for an hour for them to pass out headphones and turn on the TV, and when they did turn on the TV it was only commercials for another half an hour. The headphones were broken, and the pads were not clean. My TV had horrible reception, so I switched seats the remote for the new seat had a number of difficulties. And they were giving instructions on how to operate the entertainment system, but when you actually got to use it it was a completely different system and you could not watch the movies on your time, of pause or fast forward them. And there wasn't a good selection. Only 15 and all R rated movies.

The games were horrible, and there was only one channel for kids that didn't even work. Only 5 music channels, none of which were American. The food was absolutely horrible, and they gave us a sandwich as a snack about an hour before landing. They had 2 vegetarian options. One was mainly lettuce and repulsive yellow tomatoes in a tortilla. The other was a 'cheddar cheese and sweet pickle' sandwich. Even if it actually was a cheddar and pickle sandwich it would have been a horrible combination. But it was only 17% mild cheddar cheese, so it tasted like butter, and the pickles were brown and they weren't even pickles. In the ingredients it said it was mainly tomatoes and carrots. At least the check-in people were very friendly and helpful.

I think if the just try to live up to their expectations it would be a much better flight. And also when we were buying something from the plane catalog they said that they didn't except change so we had to give them exact money and we had to go threw out whole suitcase to find the right amount. And we had to wait half an hour for them to find the item in their stock because they couldn't find it. If you have a choice, don't choose Virgin. Although they might be contemporary, it's not worth it.
     
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Anonymous on 2008-07-20:
Why would a European carrier provide American Music? The world does not revolve around the USA
Hugh_Jorgen on 2008-07-20:
If a limp pickle and poor TV reception are the biggest problems you encountered, then you had a pretty good flight.
Ben There on 2008-07-20:
Virgin has several types of entertainment systems, depending on aircraft type and age. It sounds like you had "V:Port" on the way to London, and one of the older systems on the way back. Pretty much every transatlantic airline has a mich and match of entertainment systems.

As for the pickle sandwich comment, you are one of the many Americans who does not realize that "pickle" refers to any vegetable that has been preserved in brine, not just cucumbers. The crisp green things we eat here are really "pickled cucumbers" which we have shortened to "pickles"... In the UK, they like the brown onion substance you ate with cheese. In Germany, they eat sauerkraut.

As for the lack of "American" music, you should have tried listening to "English" music. It is actually quite good, and if you try hard enough you might be able to understand the language, or at least tolerate it for a few hours. Joking aside, Virgin has always had artists from all over including the USA, on their music channels when I have flown them.

I suggest that you travel on a US airline next time. The service normally is not as good as Virgin, but they will feature American food and entertainment and it sounds like this is something you can not live without for a few hours.
Anonymous on 2008-07-20:
What an ordeal! How will you ever find the strength to go on?
DCGirl on 2008-07-20:
Cheese and pickle sandwiches are as common in England as ham and cheese sandwiches. You were flying a British carrier -- why is it odd that they would serve British food?
Ben There on 2008-07-20:
This reminds me of a my first trip to Vancouver on Air Canada that I took with a couple co-workers. On the way to the airport we were joking that the in flight radio was just going to be all Alanis Morissette, Barenaked Ladies and Celine Deon. Funny enough the playlist on one of the chanels had all three in a row.
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Virgin America Airlines Horrible Customer Service
Posted by on
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA -- Dear Customer,

I felt compelled to write this letter after the thirtieth birthday trip my partner and I planned was foiled by the apathetic attitudes we experienced when dealing with Virgin America Airlines. Initially we booked this flight because we were told this smaller trendy airline was fun and slightly more personable than the typical “box them up and shove them through” airlines most of us experience when we fly today. Initially we had some problems booking through the airlines web page so I called them directly and had a representative their book our trip. The day before our departure arrived and everything was set to get off the ground when we hoped it would. However things quickly took a turn for the worse after we realized they had made a scheduling mistake with our flight. Aware of $40.00 rescheduling fee I hastily called the Virgin America’s customer service hotline to resolve the issue.

What ensued can only be described as the most painfully time consuming and frustrating experience I have ever had when dealing with an airline. Not only did Virgin America charge me the $40.00 rescheduling fee outlined on their webpage but they also added the difference in prices between the flights. A fee of $272.00 was accessed by the airline to change our departure from San Diego to San Francisco and an additional charge of $272.00 for our return flight as well. The customer services representatives were blatantly indifferent to our situation and staunchly insisted the $544.00 total fee difference was “my only option”. I was disturbed that the representatives I dealt with (three separate individuals) seemed to deliberately and maliciously leave me on hold for fifteen minute increments for nearly two hours. I felt as if each time they picked up the phone they were only doing so to ensure they were operating within company consumer holding protocol (assuming of course they even have such policies). At no point did they offer me options or give me professional feedback regarding the status of the issue while I was holding.

I never felt as though they were operating to assist me with my problem in any way. The representatives I dealt with were unbelievably disrespectful to me as a customer and highly unprofessional .The changes I did make were painfully time consuming, stressful and costly to our vacation budget. When all was said and done I ended up with the exact same flights I had originally paid for. However a $125.00 charge was accessed on my credit card for good measure due to my changes and their time. Mind you the changes I initially tried to make were canceled and I reverted to my initial flight within an excruciatingly long two hour period. The bargain we thought we were getting to fly on this airline was not at all worth it. Not only did I end up paying $323.00 for the exact same flight that I originally booked for a cost of $198.00 but my total losses due to other cancellations exceeded $500.00.

I would highly recommend that all my friends, family members other consumers not wanting to suffer the same fate consider flying with another more service driven airline. Our best experiences to date have been with Southwest Airlines.

Sincerely,
Unimpressed San Diego
     
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Hugh_Jorgen on 2008-05-16:
That's pretty much standard airline practice these days. They have to be all about making money or they won't survive. You bear some of the responsibility to make sure your itinerary is correct at the time of purchase.

Even Southwest would have charged you change fees to make such drastic changes at the last minute.
Anonymous on 2008-05-16:
It is YOUR responsibility to check and make sure the ticket was booked correctly. If you catch a mistake the same day it was booked the airline will usually change it for no charge. All airlines charge a change fee and the difference in the ticket fare.
Ben There on 2008-05-16:
I like Virgin's flights. Did they not send you an email the day you booked your ticket? It is your responsibility to check your documents as soon as you get them.

If Virgin waived fare differences and change fees for every person who contacted them weeks or months after the booking was made, anybody who had a change in plans would call in and claim "the website made an error" or "the agent got it wrong". It would have taken you seconds to read the email you got.
Anonymous on 2008-05-16:
I've only been on Virgin once, was a tight fit as I recall.
DebtorBasher on 2008-05-16:
Really Mr. Shaw?
Anonymous on 2008-05-16:
Yep, was flying to the himalaya mountains.
DebtorBasher on 2008-05-16:
I think any airline would have done the same. I flew on Virgin when I went to London and they were all very professional and very friendly. They are my first choice of airline to fly with again.
DebtorBasher on 2008-05-16:
LOL Mr. Shaw...I see you haven't been here long...welcome, I think you'll "fit in" quite well!
Anonymous on 2008-05-16:
I think so too!
wgaguy1984 on 2008-05-16:
I agree with everyone else, you should have checked the confirmation earlier. Waiting until the last minute you put them in a tough spot . . . despite the fact that you "never felt as they were operating to assist you in any way" (let me translate, that means, they weren't telling me what I wanted to hear) the fact that they did leave you on hold so long indicates they were probably checking with a supervisor or exploring any options they had to help you out.
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Pathetic Customer Service
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Rating: 1/51
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS -- This was my first time taking Virgin Atlantic from Mumbai to Chicago. The flight was OK but the entertainment system was quite outdated offering limited number of shows and movies. Also, their customer service standards are pretty low, lot of misinformation and miscommunication from their end and no one takes any accountability whatsoever. After my flight, when I landed at Chicago airport, It took me sometime at Immigration. I went at Bag Carousal but could not find my luggage. So informed Virgin Staff of the same that it took me some time at customs. Bayo- the staff, held me for 45 minutes and he told me after checking barcodes that my luggage has not arrived on Airport and it will delivered to my doorsteps in 2 days. I went home with the claim number to follow up with customer service regarding my baggage. After 10-15 times of back and forth with Virgin Staff they told me to come and pick up my luggage from the airport after two days. They gave me multiple reasons of not delivering the bags, a) I lived in city and they do not deliver luggage to place so close to airport. b) The luggage was always on Chicago Airport (but they could not locate it in first place). I later collected baggage from the airport and decided to file a formal complaint online.

I emailed a complaint with Virgin Atlantic and haven't heard anything from the company on this matter till long except for receipts for my email. I would not travel or recommend anyone to travel again with them.
     
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I Can't Book a Seat on a Flight!!!
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
This is the letter that I sent to Virgin Atlantic. I have removed the flight information, but my complaint is obvious.

I'm sorry to say that I am quite dissatisfied with your service and total lack of communication. I TRULY NEED to reserve my seats... Why could I book my seats for my return flight .... but I cannot book my departing flight. PLEASE LISTEN AND HELP. I need two seats together for me and my son; one MUST be an aisle seet. I have tried to call 18008215483 and 18008628621, but IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO SPEAK WITH A HUMAN!! How would you feel in this situation?

I hate to threaten you, but I will put this problem on Facebook and other complaint websites if I get no reply. Also, I will make it a point not to fly Virgin Atlantic again. That would be a loss for you, seeing that I travel to London often.
     
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trmn8r on 2012-05-25:
Here is some Virgin Atlantic information on seating:
http://virginatlantic.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/74

Note that it states that a certain *percentage* of seats are available to reserve. After they are taken, I assume you can't choose until you check in. It says to check back periodically to see if you can get a seat.
Ben There on 2012-05-25:
This happens at most airlines... When flights get really full, no more seats can be assigned. As trmn8r pointed out, you should check their website often to see if people have cancelled or changed travel plans as their seats might show up as assignable again. This happens more than you would think.

If nothing opens up, be ready to check in online as soon as possible - normally 23 hours and 59 minutes before your flight. At this point, any blocked seats tend to be released to everyone.

Worst case scenario is that you can't get a seat assignment before you get to the airport. If this is the case, the gate agent will be your new best friend. He or she might be able to ask some other travelers if they can move to accommodate you and your son... However, if you are both in middle seats, that does not always work as people don't like to move from nice aisle seats next to their own family and friends that were booked 8 months ago to a solo middle seat.

If the gate agent can't do anything, you will have to make a call to board the flight and hope people on the plane or more willing to switch... if your son is very young they might not want to sit next to him anyway. Otherwise, you need to decide if you would be willing to pay the change fees to take another flight that can accommodate your wants better.

One thing to note - you say you "need" adjoining seats and it "must" be an aisle - if there are medical reasons for this request, be prepared to share it with the airline. Nobody particularly wants a middle seat, so airlines hear plenty of excuses for why people must be moved... have real proof like a doctor's note.
clutzycook on 2012-05-25:
Odds are she needs to sit next to her son because he is a kid.
danny54 on 2012-05-26:
This may seem odd to say, but if you do end up dealing with agents at the airport, be VERY calm and polite with all of them. They control your future on the flight.
A few years ago, my partner and I were returning from Amsterdam with what I thought were confirmed seats. Turns out my was, his wasn't. We were sent to the gate to try to work it out. When we got there, the couple ahead of us were ripping the poor gate agent up one wall and down the other.
Once they went to sit down, it was our turn. We did our best to treat the agent with respect. Ended up we both got our seats as we'd originally had them. Funny thing is, we never did see the couple that gave the agent the hard time on that flight!
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Terrible Customer Service
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This company has the worst customer service I have ever encountered. My boss went to Australia in September of 2010 and he is a VA flying club member. He was not credited mileage for his trip and we have been trying to get this resolved for the last 3 weeks. Still no resolution. I keep getting different people every time I call and no one knows anything. We have provided the flight number, Flying Club member number, Ticket number, dates of travel and record locator and still no one at Virgin Atlantic can tell us anything. At first they tell me to call at 4pm in the afternoon so that they can get in touch with the Flying Club and then when I call again they tell me to call at 10 am so that they can get in touch with the Flying Club. And whenever I search for a direct telephone number to the Flying Club address where we sent the Federal Expressed letter in Norwalk, CT - no one knows a number!!! This is the worst Customer Service I have ever dealt with!!!
     
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Appalling service from Virgin Atlantic
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I used Virgin Atlantic to Fly to Cuba from London in August 2010. I was struck in La Havana for nearly 3 days because of a mechanical problem with the plane. I will not go though the major inconveniences this has caused to me both personally and professionally. Virgin promised all passengers a complementary flight anywhere in the world (except on their Australia route) valid for 18 month.

It took me 5 months to receive a confirmation letter for this complementary flight. When I finally got it (after continually sending them emails and calling them), I called reservations in February 2011 to try to book a flight for June 2011 to be told "you called too late, no complementary seats are available, you should have called earlier". When I explained that I ONLY just received the confirmation letter, the lady didn't want to hear about it. She was the least helpful person that I have come across. For an airline advertising high standards of customer service and strong ethics, they have a pretty odd way to show it.

Basically, Virgin delivered false promises at the time of the incident in order to keep angry passengers quiet and avoid a considerable amount of complaints but they are now refusing to honor their offer, hiding behind lame excuses.
     
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dan gordon on 2011-02-14:
sue them in small claims court. They will settle. Go to your state's secretary of states office or website and see who their registered agent is in your state. File the paperwork and wait to hear from them. Its a very effective method of 'talking' with them.
Anonymous on 2011-02-14:
mishandled on the part of VS - problem with non alliance airlines and their reluctance to endorse you to other carriers. Another reason not to fly the likes of Southwest, Jetblue, AirTran. Dan's advice isn't relevant as VS is a UK based carrier on an international itinerary LON-HAV... EU has some comprehensive provisions and that's the route I'd take.
Ben There on 2011-02-14:
Keep checking with Virgin to see if seats open up. These types of tickets are similar to frequent flyer tickets - seats will often open up later.
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