We had a flight for 6:20 pm. Due to a multitude of factors, we were unable to arrive until 6:15. They were already pushing back so we missed the flight. It's not like they didn't know we were coming; I was on the phone with the people at the counter from 6:00 to 6:10, updating them continuously of our progress and discussing things like leaving to-be-checked bags for the next flight. The counter is right next to the gate, security is in between, and nobody was in line at that time. Therefore we could have been on the plane by 6:20 if the door had still been open.
Anyway, they had 6:30 scheduled for a flight which normally takes 5:30, so I don't understand why they had to leave early. Virgin America has a cute No Show policy, which they state as follows: "If a Guest fails to show up prior to the specified check-in times described herein for a reserved Virgin America flight and fails to notify Virgin America prior to the flight's departure, Virgin America will cancel that flight reservation and all subsequent segments for continuing or return flights and the fare or Elevate points redeemed for all such reservations will be forfeited."
Now imagine that you paid for a hotel room for a week. You would expect to have the use of that room for the entire week, whether you slept there every night or not. Virgin America seems to think that their seats are somehow different. I think that withholding a prepaid service for no good reason is theft, pure and simple. Obviously what is driving this is that the airlines are pretending that their business is still regional, whereas we all know that business is global these days. This is called "protect my business model" because it's easier than competing.
BURLINGAME, CALIFORNIA -- In my quest to find cheap flights to visit family in Los Angeles, I came across Virgin Airlines round trip from Boston to LA for $177. Totally excited that I can go on a week vacation for so little money, booked 4 tickets. Towards the end of the week in LA my 2.5 year old got sick with some stomach virus which she unfortunately passed on to the rest of us.
I called Virgin immediately when we realized that there was no way we could fly back on the day of our ticket. Virgin's customer service told me, "No big deal. Just fax over a paperwork from your hospital and we will issue a different ticket." With much relief we continued on our day but unfortunately things got worse and my daughter had to be transferred to the Children's Hospital isolation ward. We sent the paperwork as asked via fax and contacted them not long after to get new tickets.
When we called the second time, we were transferred to Guest Services in which they told us they would give us $88 in credit per person that can go towards new tickets. When I asked how much new tickets cost it was upwards of 350 to 500 depending on what day and time I flew. When I got upset and told them that their customer service people lied to me, the lady at guest services said, "Well too bad," and hung up the phone on me. My husband tried calling and the same thing was told to him, when he got upset, they hung up again.
The next two times we called, when we were transferred to guest services, the phone would say goodbye and it would hang up. That's when we realized they had us on caller ID and were purposely hanging up on us. So the next time we called, we used a different phone and somehow by some miracle we got through. When I asked to get new tickets and asked about our $88, the lady told us that it was removed.
It was at this point that I started crying and asked her if she felt good about leaving people stranded across the country with a very sick child and her response was, "Well I guess I will reinstate it...." as if she was doing this amazing service to us. Finally in the end, I decided I would never ever fly with them again and bought American Airline tickets for my return flight.
I recently booked a flight from Dulles, Washington to London, Heathrow on Virgin Atlantic. The flight was at about 6 pm. A day later the airline emailed me to inform me that they had canceled that flight and moved me and my family to a later flight (leaving at 11 pm) but they moved my husband to a seat by himself and put the remaining 3 of us together sitting in a row with 4 seats. (This is an overnight flight where you sleep, did we want to sleep next to a stranger?)
I was not happy about this and went through 2 emails and several intercontinental calls (customer disservice requires you to call between 7 am and 1 pm London time) that I had to pay for, in order to change our flight to a different previous day and in adjoining seats. Eventually we were moved but guess what?? That flight was also canceled. This time we were not informed, I only found out when I went to make sure that we are all sitting together. Just yesterday I had to call them so that I could get an e-ticket issued. They had not yet issued one for the newest flight. I am still waiting!
My family and I loved flying with Virgin Atlantic a few years ago and did not hesitate to fly with them again this time. However, they appear to book people on the 6 pm flight until they are over capacity and then move everyone to the later flight. It cannot be a coincidence that our 6 pm flight got canceled twice. I will suck it up and fly with them this time because getting a refund is virtually impossible but I am going to fly with them kicking and screaming and tell EVERYONE I know that Virgin Airlines truly sucks.
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 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! It has taken 11 follow-ups and over 4 months to receive a reply that basically says Virgin are sad to lose my custom, but are not prepared to give me appropriate compensation to keep it.
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS -- Our flight was from Chicago O'Hare to London Heathrow, then we took a connection flight with a different airline, and then eventually, back from Heathrow airport back to O'Hare. 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 O'Hare, 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, 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, or 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 they 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 accept 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.
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA -- 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. Unimpressed San Diego.
WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA -- On June 24th, I boarded my Virgin Atlantic flight to London (flight VS22 from IAD to LHR). They had been looking for passengers to give up their seats on an overbooked flight. After everyone had boarded, they were still calling for two volunteers. I agreed because my work meeting didn't start for 18 hours after I arrived and they were offering two free tickets anywhere Virgin Atlantic flies.
I got OFF the plane, was asked to sit in the boarding area for another 15 minutes while they got my bags off and did the paperwork. Then it turned out they didn't need both of us and without consultation, I was just told to get back on the flight. I was assured that my bags were being checked back on and would be on my flight. I arrived in London with no signs of my bag and spent three horrible days sloshing in cold, rainy London without appropriate clothing for the work meeting or the starkly different weather. (It had been sunny and warm when I left the states.)
I filed a baggage claim for delayed baggage for the trip and months later still haven't received the baggage office's promised reimbursement of GBP100 (in U.S. Dollars equivalent) nor any correspondence explaining its delay. I had to spend nearly GBP300 to purchase clothes and shoes I could wear to my two day work meeting. Part of the reason it was so high is I would gradually get basic items of clothing to look presentable -- underwear, socks and shoes one day, a jacket the next day, then work clothes the last day. My bag arrived the evening before I returned to the States.
In addition, I emailed a complaint with Virgin Atlantic about the situation that led to my bags being taken off the plane before take-off and not restored, and haven't heard anything from the company on this matter except for receipts for my email. I was literally thrown back on like baggage without acknowledgement for my effort to help the airline deal with an oversold flight. I can't believe airlines are allowed to treat people this way. And to think I thought I was trying to help.
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 4 pm 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!!!
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 through the major inconveniences this has caused to me both personally and professionally. Virgin promised all passengers a complimentary 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 complimentary 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 complimentary 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.
This the tale of how Virgin Atlantic decided to make an extra $600 off of us when its staff knew we had no other option. Don't risk your trip on this airline. This can easily happen to you. We were returning to the U.S. after a four-day visit to London. We were delayed leaving because I had been feeling ill that day. We arrived rushing as best we could, and were even held up by Virgin staff trying to sell a seat upgrade.
By the time we arrived at the baggage check-in, it was 3:05 P.M. and our flight was leaving at 4 P.M. The agent took a few moments to review our documents, then asked someone else whether we could still put our bags on the flight. That person said no. Given that there were other passengers who were already at the check-in desk when we arrived who still were loading their bags, I know it was merely a Virgin policy to not allow us to load the bags and not any other restriction from the airport.
What was the next and only option? They charged us almost $600 more to take seats on a flight four hours later that was 70% empty. It sent an unmistakable signal: Virgin enjoys sticking it to customers who had some bad fortune. Again, don't risk a flight on this airline. It's like the worst of the credit card companies or other shysters in the market - the second they can find a reason and know you have no alternative, they'll unjustly suck as much money out of you as they can.