Virgin Atlantic Airways - Page 2

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I used to rate Virgin Atlantic quite highly but no more!
Posted by on
My elderly parents visited me from the UK and I tried to use the online check in to ensure they got seats together for their overnight return flight. The system does not allow you to check-in more than 24 hours ahead of the flight departure but as soon as the clock passed the -24 hour mark I logged on but got an error message saying the system was unavailable. After several more attempts, I called by phone and after 20 minutes or more on hold was told there was a problem with the sysstem and to try again later. I tried again and again over the following 2½ hours without success so I called again but gave up after 30 or more minutes on hold. I hung up and called again for another 35 minutes on hold before someone assured me they could help and transferred me back into the menu system where I managed to navigate my way to a hang up. Calling back it only took 20 minutes to get an answer out of New Delhi or wherever. The eastern gentlemen informed me that all online seats were already allocated so the only remedy would be to check in 3 hours ahead of the flight instead on 1½ hours. I asked how the online check in seats could be taken if the system had been down. Not surprisingly, he couldn't provide an answer.
Unfortunately, instead of asking to speak to a supervisor, I ended the phone call (politely). It was then I decided that I was unsatisfied enough that I wanted to escalate the problem - two calls and 1¾ hours later, I finally talked to someone who refused to put me through to a supervisor but couldn't do anything about the situation except notify the airport departure desk about the issue - to what end remains to be seen.
All that money and they can't provide a consistent online check in system or reasonable customer service!
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Ben There on 2010-11-30:
I have always been able to pre-assign seats on Virgin well in advance by using my confirmation code on their website. Next time I suggest you do this as soon as you buy your tickets so you don't have to wait to see what is left at check in. There is always a chance if you wait there might not be any seats left together, regardless of site issues.
warddw1526 on 2010-12-01:
Were they able to get seats together for the flight home?
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Rudest Customer Service from CATHY in lost Baggage Department
Posted by on
My daughter flew on Virgin America on May 29th as unaccompanied minors and were flying to New York to connect to Emirates International flight EK204 to Dubai. Upon checkin the agent forgot to give her back her passport and Akeza flew to newyork with Virgin America by the time it was recovered. On arrival to Newyork she did not have her passport to board the international flight. Further more, Virgin America left one bag in San Francisco. Emirates also insisted that there was no way for them to transport the bag to dubai without a passenger. When I called Baggage claim 650 821-8485 I spoke with Paula who seemed caring but needed instructions from someone named CATHY. Cathy instructed Paula to let me know there was absolutely nothing they could do and I needed to call guest care on Tuesday June 1st. I spoke to Cathy who was the most rudest person I have ever spoken to. She basically told me to shut the F off and she did not give a D...n about my child and it is not her responsibility because she was not the agent and she had nothing to do with the delayed bag. Cathy also said that Virgin America does not take responsibility for anything lost or missing. She insisted that bags can be delivered at anytime as long as they are delivered. I asked if they could bring back the children to California, but she ignored that question. I asked if Virgin would take responsibility for the missing bag and she said no because she was not handling the bag. She then banged the phone on me. Meanwhile, I have an 11 yr old traveling unaccompanied stuck in New York because of their mistake. First I had to change the connecting flight because of the missing passport and missing laggage. The change was $1,400 and the cost to fly to New york with United Airlines to hand over the passport the agent did not had over when checking in.
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yoke on 2010-06-01:
How did you get her passport if the agent had it last?
Ytropious on 2010-06-01:
I don't think I'd let my child fly internationally without me anyway. Also aren't baggage claim and the area that handles lost luggage two separate entities? Do the people from baggage claim also file lost luggage claims and try to get them back to their owners? I don't know. If this woman told you she wasn't the right person to talk to about this, then why did you keep hounding her? It sounds like you needed to be talking to a different set of people entirely.
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Penny pinchers
Posted by on
CRAWLEY, UK -- My flight was cancelled because of the volcanic ash situation. At this point I have no grievance as the decision not to fly is for all our own well being. The flights we were allocated we decided to give up for another more desperate family than ourselves, since we have our own house in Orlando. The Virgin Atlantic representative said “thank you very much, no one else has offered to give up their seats”. No big deal. We then went to check in 10 days later, the first available date they could re-allocate seats for us. The lady at check-in at Downtown Disney made us weigh our bags and sure enough they were over weight. We had the choice of paying $50 per case or taking stuff out. I mentioned that we had given up our seats and could she do us the courtesy of allowing our bags. At the end of the day, if the weight restriction was for safety or some kind of baggage handlers policy, Id understand. However it is a monetary issue, they want more of it from me! That stinks. Having refused to pay the $50 extra and having had to empty some of our belongings, we now have to travel with them as hand luggage. That’s clever, Virgin! After we left the weighing station and stood at the check in desk, the representative then came over to us and asked us to come back to the weighing station. She said"you can't put stuff in your case after its been weighed" I told her that I hadn't, but she still made me drag it across the forecourt, weigh it and then then take it back again. "Your apology is accepted", I told her. Youve now lost us as customers and the rest of our friends and family, who all fly with you at least twice a year.
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Weedwhacked on 2010-05-01:
From my experience working for an airlne, giving up your seats never had any correlation with not paying for overweight bag fees.
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Old 747-400 and poor service and support
Posted by on
UK -- How to start on this??

OK, lets say when I finished my flight from hell and got to hotel in St Lucia (Royal, Rex resort)to find the Virign crew later that day getting pissed around the pool for two days did not make me any more in love with Branson and his staff!
From Gatwick on a 747-400 that must be on the old girls last legs made me to say the least unimpressed. The planes sytems are so outdated that other airlines I usually fly on over to Asia must be thinking Virgin are taking the total 'mikey mouse' on investment and customer care.
The seat entertainment system was broken on 2 of our 5 seats. I paid £500 each for those buckets. The seat recliner on one (1) moved from 'interrigation position' to forward only and tried to break my childs 6 year old back. The staff were so arragant and indifferent to the customers in coach that I felt we were a sub species of human that did not deserve even basic interaction and care. Mr Branson your adverts on 25 years are such a lie (unless your on your uppers).Actually I am so fed up with Virgin I am going to start blooging some more sites now.
Your staff in St Lucia on the Thursday 30th July (we arrived on the 19th flight)was a total joke on your image. Buying in booze to a 4**** star hotel and then sitting round a family pool for 4 hours getting pissed and talking loudly was not what I as a Virgin holiday customer wanted to see or hear. I paid over £8000 pounds for a Virgin holiday of relaxation and calm. I got nothing of the sort and my next blogg will be on the hotel your company offers. In TOTAL need of refurbishment and modernization as your planes.

Any journalist wanting to contact me can do so on (00)447595563224

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Anonymous on 2009-08-08:
Gawd I love the way you good folks across the pond tell a story! I wish this were longer. Sorry it sucked for you, but thanks for the chuckles!
Anonymous on 2009-08-08:
Try reading it with an English accent on your mind and its even better.
Anonymous on 2009-08-08:
I too am sorry your experience was not up to your expectations. Flight entertainment systems should work. It's a long flight without them. The seat issue stinks too. Hate to see a little person not able to enjoy the ride.

However, what the crew does on their own time is their business, as long as its legal. If they want to drink themselves into oblivion, up to them. They don't care what you do on your holiday, you shouldn't care what they do.
Anonymous on 2009-08-08:
The best way you could have started on this would have been with a dictionary in your hand.
Ben There on 2009-08-08:
Like the Judge said, what the crew is free to do whatever they please when they are not on the clock.

As for the 747s, I have heard that the planes they use out of Gatwick are less desirable than the ones they use on the much more lucrative flights from Heathrow.
Anonymous on 2009-08-08:
The 400 is the latest variant of the 747. Ben correctly (as always) pointed out many a/c out of LGW are configured for "leisure market." There are new "zero/zero" seats(bottom slides out, maintaining constant seat pitch that many airlines are using. The seatback PVE was probably disabled replaced by aisle located IFE (in flt enter.) to save weight - again leisure configuration.
Employees of real airlines are granted "interline" benefits that extend to very deep discounts at resorts/cruises etc - putting up with pax all day, they deserve it...they, like you are paying guests (just paying less).

virgin old style on 2009-08-08:
God you must all be Virgin PR reps on Astroturf. LOVE the flurry.Anyone in the UK COMMENTED yet Egencia?
Eloise on 2009-08-08:
I didn't realize that the crew needed to live in the bowels of the plane while on their holiday. If you didn't want them near you or your children then move. I'm sure there was plenty of room around the pool. I'm sure reporters will be breaking down your door to get this nonstory!
Anonymous on 2009-08-08:
Have not heard the phrase getting pissed since I was at a pub in Ireland.
Skye on 2009-08-08:
My heads hurts from reading this.
PepperElf on 2009-08-09:
Yep. The airline employees need to remember they're not really humans. they're just animals set upon the earth to meet the needs of the person who wrote this complaint.

*rolls eyes*
this is one of the most self-centered complaints I've read in a long time.
RedDazes on 2009-08-11:
While it sucks that your actual flight wasn't up to par. The complaint about the fight crew was completely uncalled for.

Had it just been a random group of people drinking you would have said nothing more. If they were being rude, yeah that sucks, but once they are off the clock and the uniforms come off they are customers just like you and me and they no longer represent the airline, but rather themselves.
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No Show Policy Is Out To Lunch
Posted by on
We had a flight for 6:20pm. 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.
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MSCANTBEWRONG on 2009-08-05:
It's their policy and apparently plainly stated.
Anonymous on 2009-08-05:
Just like hotels... if you make reservation and not show up... they have the right to give your room to someone else.
Anonymous on 2009-08-05:
Why would they NOT do exactly as described? Seems like common sense.
Soaring Consumer on 2009-08-05:
Azadian, unfortunately you arrived at the airport too late. This is not Virgin America's fault.
Anonymous on 2009-08-05:
This policy is no different than any other airline. And if you don't show up for the first night of your hotel reservation, your reservation is cancelled - for the entire week.
Anonymous on 2009-08-05:
Of course they cancel your return flight if you no-show for the outbound flight. They can re-sell thoses seats since you obviously won't be using them.
Suusan B. on 2009-08-05:
This has nothing to do with business models, global business or anything of the like. And it is certainly not theft or witholding a pre-paid service. You missed your flight - - plain and simple. Virgin makes it very clear that passengers who do not show up prior to the specified check-in time will have their reservations canceled. You showed up at 6:15 for a 6:20 flight - - case closed.
Ben There on 2009-08-05:
As others mentioned, hotels will cancel your entire week if you miss the first night too. Also, hotel rates are based on your exact dates, so if you have a rate based on arriving on Saturdays and you call ahead to let them know you are not showing up till Sunday they can charge you a higher rate.

As for the "cute No Show policy", almost all airlines have them. When you buy a restricted coach class ticket, you are paying for the exact flight you are booked on, not any flight you want from point A to point B. The flight before and the flight after could have always had a much more expensive fare.
yoke on 2009-08-05:
If you knew your flight was at 6:20 why did you not give yourself enough time to get to the airport. If you were calling at 6:00 you were already past the cut off time anyway.
Eloise on 2009-08-05:
All of the above, Best Answer! It amazes me how many people think that the rules don't apply to them. What makes the OP so special?
PepperElf on 2009-08-05:
and I am wondering what the multitude of factors are

I mean if it's an emergency that's one thing
but if it's something like "junior was dragging his behind" or "I just didn't feel like getting up early" etc... the it's not the airline's fault
Ben There on 2009-08-05:
You might have had some luck if you had called at least an hour before the flight. While you still would have had to pay a fee to get on another flight, your ticket would probably still be valid. You called 20 minutes before departure, and they are already boarding the flight at that time.
spiderman2 on 2009-08-05:
Can you only imagine if they start holding flights for people who just can't manage to get on the airport on time?
Anonymous on 2009-08-05:
I'll tell you what would happen Spiderman. Not only would all passengers miss connecting flights, but airline pilots can only work 16 hour shifts (including ground time). If they go over, they can be fined by the FAA and lose their license. If airlines held planes for passnegers, then every pilot would go over their 16 hours and the airline would need to re-crew the plane, which would cause even more delays. The airline itself wouldn't meet the on time departure percentage that they must meet and would also get a hefty fine. Passengers such as the OP don't think about any of this when they fly. They just think that the world revolves around them.
PepperElf on 2009-08-05:
omg yes. that would be hell

and why should the rest of the flight be punished just because 1-3 people can't get there on time?

I mean heck, the rest of the flight got their stuff straight and got there on time ... why should they be punished for that?
Anonymous on 2009-08-05:
Littleyaya (BA)
jktshff1 on 2009-08-05:
face it, ya blew it by bad planning. YOUR fault
Anonymous on 2009-08-05:
At a large or busy airport (which I'm guessing you were gong to because of the airline), just getting through security can take 30-45 minutes and that doesn't include check-in or checking luggage beforehand. Every city Virgin America flies into has miserable traffic--especially during rush hour--the time you were traveling before your flight. All the airlines seem to have similar rules when it comes to being late, so there is no way to get around that. I think Ben's suggestion of calling an hour in advance may have been the thing to save you. In the future, you'll know what you need to do. Hope your future travels are better:)
Eloise on 2009-08-05:
Airlines suggest that ALL passengers arrive at the airport two hours before their flight.
The OP failed to do so, the OP misseds the flight, bad OP.
azadian on 2009-08-06:
I didn't mention it, but I also did call an hour before take-off to explain the situation. The situation happened because the taxi was late (40 minutes), then the next bus (an hour later) was late (20 minutes), then we got stuck in unusually heavy traffic. You can't plan for every eventuality.

As I explained, it would have taken about 2 minutes to walk from the ticket counter through security to the gate. At least it did the next day.

As I also explained, they schedule 6:30 for a flight that normally takes 5:30. Waiting until the scheduled take-off time would hardly have made anybody late. In fact, it probably would have made no difference at all. On the trip back, we spent half an hour circling over another state because we were too early.

Yes, I do have a hard time with companies that get all pedantic about their rules. Waiting until the scheduled time would have made nearly no difference to anyone else, but it sure would have made a huge difference for us.

As for my hotel analogy, I was discussing a PREPAID room, just like the airline seats.

I know most airlines have similar policies, but that doesn't make it right. There really should be a law against it.

Nohandle on 2009-08-06:
If blame is to be cast should not the late taxi (40 minutes) and then the bus (20 minutes) be factored in?
Eloise on 2009-08-06:
For an international flight airlines suggest that you arrive at the airport two to three hour before the plane takes off. That time period would allow the customer plenty of time to check-in, go through security and customs, and board the plane. Although I would add that a call to the airline to make sure the plane is on time is also a very good idea. I know it's a bore to hang out in the airport for so long but then you will never have to worry about missing the flight. I for one would rather be early than late.
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Worst Customer Service!!!
Posted by on
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 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.
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dan gordon on 2009-07-19:
why is it that everyone that buys the cheapest tix available feel the airlines owe them some enormous debt of gratitude when their particular crisis occurs? Do you think American or any other airline would allow to change the cheapest tix for a flexible fare without an upcharge? Get real people. If you paid for a very expensive ticket they are more flexible but you bought cheap and you got cheap.
Anonymous on 2009-07-19:
You hit the nail on the head, dan. When you book a cheap ticket, the ticket is non-refundable and you cannot change the date of travel. A health crisis is unfortunate, but it is the reason you should buy travel insurance.
Ben There on 2009-07-19:
I bet when you and your husband got "upset" that you said some pretty nasty things. Otherwise why hang up twice, remove your credit and avoid your calls? There are only so many ways you can tell an irrational upset person no, and if they are yelling at you it makes it worse. It is not their fault that you bought a cheap ticket and got sick - they are just obeying company policy.
Eloise on 2009-07-19:
What part of 'nonrefundable' do you not understand?

You are asking for a favor and then behave like a three year old having a temper tantrum when they say no? Great example for your kids!
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Lousy Airline
Posted by on
It began when, a week before our flight, we received an email from Virgin saying our searing had been changed and the new seats would separate all 3 of us. We had booked the seats 6 weeks before. When we arrived at check in, they put us all together - on the same row as the toilets, and in those noisy European aircraft, that meant we got no sleep. It continued with harassment like, after wrapping the minuscule blanket around my legs because as usual the staff set the temp for themselves, not the customers, and it was cold, I was told to take the blanket off for take off. On the way back, we were ordered to open the shade, despite the sun being directly in our eyes, for take off. I have flown for over 50 years, and NEVER run into this sort of hassle.

But the worst was yet to come. I had booked all 3 tickets at the same time. Our 18 year old grandson was going back before us, and we took him to Heathrow, where we had arrived - only to find that Virgin had changed airports on us without any notice. They had switched him to Gatwick! Unbelievable. When I asked to get him on the first available flight, they said they could not do it, as it was our fault. I asked for a supervisor, and got this very aggressive skinhead, who was extremely rude and confrontational. Going to another agent, we were able to list him on stand-by - they refused to get him on the first plane sending him First Class, despite it being entirely their fault.

He eventually got on a flight EIGHT HOURS LATER!

This is the worst airline I have flown in over 50 years, AND HELL WILL FREEZE OVER BEFORE I FLY VIRGIN AGAIN!!!

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Anonymous on 2008-07-24:
How do you know the guy was a skinhead? Did he make white power comments during the phone call?
jktshff1 on 2008-07-24:
luaan's right....betcha booked through a 3rd party also.
Anonymous on 2008-07-24:
lunaan, I think the OP was talking to the "skinhead" in person at Heathrow airport, since she said they went to Heathrow and then found out the airport had been changed..anyway, he must have shaved his head, that's what gave it away - you did know that ALL white guys with shaved heads are skinheads, right??
jktshff1 on 2008-07-24:
yea just and my grandma wore boxer shorts! LOL
Anonymous on 2008-07-24:
I read the post wrong. He did see the agent in person. If every white guy with a shaved head is a skinhead, then my 7 year old nephew must be one!
Anonymous on 2008-07-24:
LOL jkt, I just love the ignorant comments people post on here, yet they claim they are the ones that received poor service.
Principissa on 2008-07-24:
My dad's a bald white guy he does that mean he's a skin head too?! It is possible this agent had some kind of medical condition or male pattern baldness and decides to shave his head. I'm sorry, but I don't take complaints seriously when the poster's use derogatory terms to describe people. Bald white male would have been much classier.
Anonymous on 2008-07-24:
I buz my head once a week and I am about a far from a skinhead as you can get.
old fart on 2008-07-24:
I'm a "skinhead"... I shave my noggin every othter day! and I'm an old foozle..
Saves a heck of a lot of money on barbers...
Anonymous on 2008-07-24:
You're all part of a secret plot to take over the world, aren't you?? LOL
old fart on 2008-07-24:
Anonymous on 2008-07-24:
First, you're upset about being separated. Then, you get seats together, but now you're upset because you don't like the row. You don't like being told to put the shade up (safety issue), unwrap the blanket from your legs (safety issue), don't like the aircraft, and don't check on your grandson's flight before heading to the airport and get surprised by a flight change. Then you get upset because he isn't offered a first-class upgrade. Sorry to say, the only way you'll not get upset flying these days is by chartering a private jet.
Ben There on 2008-07-24:
This post is a joke. This guy obviosly is racist and anti-European despite taking a trip to Europe. I have flown both Virgin's Boeing 747 and Airbus A340 fleet and both can be noisy JUST LIKE ANY OTHER PLANE depending on where you are sitting.

As for seats, they are never set in stone. If aircraft type changes, sometimes you have to move around.

As for the move to Gatwick, I don't think Virgin has moved any flights from Heathrow to Gatwick in years. IIRC, Orlando, Vegas and the Continental flights have been Gatwick for a long time, and the rest have been Heathrow. If the three of you flew from say Chicago, and your grandson was returning to Orlando or Vegas, this was the itinerary all along and this was really your fault.
Anonymous on 2008-07-24:
I'm not bald, so I have no comment about that ;). If people want special treatment, pay three times more for first class seats. I wouldn't complain about arriving late as long as I arrived. With gas up, staffing cuts, and canceled flights, I'd kiss the ground when I got there, even if it was eight hours later.
DebtorBasher on 2008-07-24:
"Skinheads" in England doesn't mean the same thing as "Skingheads" in the United States. I don't think it was meant as a racists remark. A lot of people and punk groups are known over there as "Skinheads".
Ben There on 2008-07-24:
DebtorBasher, you are correct that "Skindhead" means something slightly different in the UK than here. Stereotypically, Skinhead in the USA makes one think of the KKK and rebel flags, and in the UK it is more of the old Doc Martin wearing punk music crowd.

Regardless, I think anyone that uses one's looks or mannerisms to describe certain events is at the least ignorant and hateful. All Virgin employees wear uniforms and have tidy appearances, so this guy's bald head is the only focus of the OP. Using the word "skinhead" does not enhance the review, nor give readers a better description of the airline.

The only word that should have followed "this very aggressive..." should have been "employee".
Anonymous on 2008-07-25:
Safety: window shades up in event of an emergency (its a F.A.R - the law) Blankets off, so they know you are buckled as well as its a trip hazard during emergency egress. Firstclass is for PAYING passengers, agents rarely have the ability to comp. upgrade someone on international flights. Schedules change all the time, as airlines struggle with fuel costs - its there right in the contract of carriage. You are nit picking.
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Do not agree to help the airline
Posted by on
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 GBP 100 (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.
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DebtorBasher on 2006-11-04:
It's unfortunate that this happened to you. However, I don't think it is their usual practice. Compared to the other airlines, I think Virgin has the least complaints (I could be wrong, nothing official)...Everyone who travels knows they can not depend on the weather being the same at the place of arrival as it is at the place of departure...Especially if you're traveling overseas. Lost or misdirected luggage is a common problem in the airline industry...and a traveler has to prepare themself before they leave with a "What If..." attitude...slushing around in cold rain for three days? Why didn't you get yourself what you needed, if it was that bad, I would have gone right out and bought the shoes or boots and rain gear...It's Rains!
Tatyana on 2006-11-04:
Virgin Atlantic baggage services said my bag would be on the next flight that was supposed to arrive later that day so I didn't want to spend unnecessary money on boots. Boots are not cheap. My clothes for London were in my bag that was taken off the plane and didn't arrive, duh! My bag was not on that flight or the next flight or the next flight... and wasn't delivered until days later. Why are you turning on me? What a weird misdirected comment. I've given Virgin Atlantic four months (two emails) to remedy the situation and there has been no follow-up.
DebtorBasher on 2006-11-04:
I understand what you're saying...however, after the luggage didn't come on all those flights, something should have told you "I better be prepared in case they don't show up at all"...I understand your main complaint is that you were willing to do them a favor by giving up your seat and they didn't have your bags on the flight they should have been...unfortunately it isn't unusaly for things like this to happen on airlines, people who travel need to prepare themself for things like this...that's all I'm saying...Thankfully you did get your luggage back before your return home, if not that could have set you back for additional days before they caught up with you. But to complain about the weather and the fact that when you left the airport Without your luggage, that is when you should have gotten the necessary things to get you through until you did get your stuff back...yeah, it cost money, but it was obviously your choice to spend the money or get wet.
Tatyana on 2006-11-05:
respectfully, you missed my points: my complaint isn't about being wet in London. let me spell it out for you: 1/ I agreed to give up my seat, Virgin didn't stick to their end of the bargain or even make sure my bags that they took off got back on the flight (the airline has record of taking my bags off the flight when they called down and said they had a volunteer willing to give up their seat. So, I was inconvenienced after trying to help them. 2/ they haven't sent me my baggage claim reimbursement and it's been four months. I'd write a review about London if I was complaining about being wet.
Tatyana on 2006-11-05:
... also I was there for a meeting that was every day, from 8-6. Since they kept saying my luggage would be on the next flight, I didn't see the point in dropping $600 for work clothes and boots for a 2 day meeting. June 25 -- the day I arrived was a Sunday. If you've been to London, you know the stores close very early, if they're open at all on Sunday. Your comments are totally unhelpful.
DebtorBasher on 2006-11-06:
Respectfully, you missed my point...They are still an is normal for this to happen with Airlines...frustrating to the travelers, but it happens...if you have a fool proof solution to lost luggage, please share it with them.
WB on 2007-09-17:
Virgin Atlantic totally sucks - we had such high expectations and heard a lot about them - but our first trip with them is the last. They lost my daughter's suitcase from New York to New Delhi and did not respond to our claims for 4 months. We were told to file a claim at the destination and because we did not have the receipts for everything (you carry receipts for all the baggage when traveling?) - they deducted 50% from the payout - which was half of what is on the Ticket as per the Geneva conventions to start with - basically couple of hundred dollars for a $1000 claim. They were so arrogant and unhelpful - we called EVERY day for 1 month and then gave up - they did not even give us anything in Delhi to go out and buy emergency clothes. My wife is a radio jockey with an listener base of 500,000++ in New York/New Jersey area and we are now constantly advising people to dump this airline - even if we succeed in turning 5-10 people away, it will be a solace.

dj tenn on 2008-05-21:
Yes, NEVER EVER under ANY circumstance offer to help not only Virgin but any of these foul Sky Pirates. I went through the same nonsense on Jet Blue on a flight from Ft. Laud to JFK NY.
I offered to give up my seat having a few days left before returning to work & was told I would be compensated with a free tix on their airline. Well they turned out not to need my seat, then when I reboarded the plane , they proceeded to lose my luggage, which resulted in a 2 day nitemare of going back and forth to JFK to finally have to pick up the luggage @ my own expense. Have yet to reimbursed for "Helping" them out.

Virgin has ROTTEN customer service ESPECIALLY since their Billionaire CEO Sir Richard Branson moved his customer service and reservations to a New Delhi where people are paid 2.00 per hour, cannot speak English properly and on top of it have you on a line with a bad connection ..

I tell you , the entire corporate world is about shafting the consumer any way possible while their profit margins continue to soar & customer service continues to decline.

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Avoid Virgin Atlantic if you are elderly or non-white
Posted by on
Virgin Atlantic staff repeatedly failed to provide wheelchair to a non-white elderly gentlemen at SFO and London-Heathrow while other passengers were readily transported by wheelchair when requested. Avoid Virgin Atlantic if you are elderly and non-white. Virgin Atlantic or the company that manages the wheelchair requests for them are racists.
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spiderman2 on 2011-01-17:
Did you make arrangements for a wheelchair ahead of time? Not everything in this world can be attributed to racism and frankly complaints like this take away credibility from real instances of racism.
trmn8r on 2011-01-17:
This sounds odd. In England they are particularly alert to passengers who need assistance.

What were the specific circumstances under which this happened, at each location? Only knowing them can the cause for failure to accommodate the request be explained.
idontthinkso on 2011-01-17:
Ah.. Because the situation you witnessed/experienced INVOLVED an Elderly Non-White individual, and it wasn't resolved to your satisfaction, Racism is involved. Thank you for updating us on that rule. I wasn't aware of it's existence.

Could you inform me whether this was enacted by a UN agreement, or is is a US-only law?
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Robbed of $600 by Virgin Atlantic
Posted by on
Robbed of $600 by Virgin Atlantic


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.
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Ben There on 2010-09-25:
Airports themselves do not have restrictions on when bags can be checked before a flight, but bags headed to certain destinations like the USA must endure extra security screening so they must be checked in earlier. The likelihood of your bag being sent for the additional screening and then making it out to the plane are very slim 45-50 minutes before departure - at that point the flight is already boarding, and bags have to be matched to passengers for international flights to the USA. The choices are kicking you off the flight to fly later with your bags, or delaying 300 other people if your bags are not processed quickly.

It would have been great customer service if Virgin would have waived the change fees of your ticket, but some might say if they did that for you, they would have to do it for everyone. If there were no penalties for showing up late for a flight, probably many more people would risk it. Seriously, who wants to get to an airport 3 hours before a flight if you can do it 50 minutes before a flight.
rockfishing on 2010-09-25:
I've always have shown up on time and have never had a problem. I'm sure everyone would love to show up late with no penalty.
James_236 on 2010-09-25:
It seems you were only late by 5 minutes, and if it was you the agent was trying to sell an upgrade and that made you late, you have a cause of action against Virgin to recover the charges. Write them a letter setting out your intended claim and then it is open to you to file an action in small claims court in your State. To make it more interesting claim not only a reimbursement of your $600 but also damages for the four hours delay. I would ask the Judge for a minimum of $500 per person for the delay. You don't need a lawyer for a small claims court case.
PepperElf on 2010-09-25:
rock ... exactly. I have usually gotten to the airport 2-3 hours early.. once I got to the airport before it was open even... tho the lobby was open at least so I could wait inside.
Ben There on 2010-09-25:
Can you sue a British company about an instance that happened in London in a US Small Claims court? Besides, all the airline has to say is that it takes a couple seconds to ask if you want an upgrade (I have heard it many times)... Its also well known and documented that you are supposed to check in early for flights to the USA. If the judge finds against the OP, couldn't he or she be responsible for Virgins costs?
Anonymous on 2010-09-25:
Knowingly making someone sit at the airport for four hours when they are ill, is pretty insensitive. Then adding $600 on top of that--whew. I'll bet the luggage would have easily gotten on the flight in less than 1/2 an hour, especially since they were also just putting other peoples luggage on the belt. I have been amazed at how some of my transferred luggage has made connection flights.

Alternatively, the airline could have offered to send the luggage on the next flight (since it was nearly empty) and let the passengers leave on their scheduled flight. The passengers could then pick it up at the airport or the airline could have had it delivered for a fee. No harm, no foul.

Sometimes rules can and are broken depending on the agent. I think they could have used a little more compassion in this instance. Everything is not always black and white. I've even been on flights where they hold the doors open for someone arriving late. Rules are broken every day for extenuating circumstances. I guess it just depends on the airline and the agents/supervisors working at the time.
Ben There on 2010-09-25:
singsing, actually bags have to travel with the passenger on international flights - sure sometimes bags get lost and this does not happen, but it is illegal for an airline to intentionally separate bags and passengers when the flight is from or to the USA. Rules can and are broken, but much less often when the US Department of Homeland Security is the enforcer...

Also, just because other peoples bags were going on the belt does not mean they were for this flight... Virgin is hubbed at Heathrow, so other peoples bags could have been going to other cities.
Anonymous on 2010-09-25:
My bags have come without me (because they were not put on the flight), so I guess that's what I was thinking, Ben. I took the OP to mean the other's were boarding their flight too, but, it is possible they were boarding flights to other destinations, as you said.

Using an example. I know that the aircraft doors are supposed to close within a certain amount of time before a flight (15-20 minutes--not sure), but I have seen them left open way beyond that to let latecomers on, so I know they don't always follow Homeland Security rules. This has happened in the US and internationally. I think they still need to use common sense sometimes too, and I've seen the rules broken many times for different circumstances. I think illness would be a good example.
Helpful on 2010-09-26:
It's unfortunate that they couldn't or wouldn't accommodate you. I'd like to hear their side of the story though.
James_236 on 2010-09-26:
Article 33 of the Montreal Convention provides a number of alternative jurisdictions where the passenger may bring his claim and one is the place of destination, so he can surely file in small claims court in his State. Virgin is a British company but if they want to fly in and out of the United States they have to be subject to the juridsiction of US courts even for matters that take place in London if the passenger complains that those matters caused him to be delayed on a flight into the US. A losing Plaintiff in small claims may be required to pay a nominal sum for court costs to a successful defendant, but this is not for the Attorney's fees. It is a very small sum, perhaps under $100. Some jurisdictions don't allow Attorneys and those that do, do not reimburse your Attorneys fees if successful. The OP seems to think that the agent who tried to sell the upgrade kept them back so this is all he has to tell the court. The airline cannot counter with it only takes a few seconds unless they brought to the court the actual agent who tried to sell the upgrade who could give evidence that it took only a few seconds in this case. It cannot be worth the while for Virgin to fly and put up lawyers and witnesses for a small claims case and Virgin will hardly defend this case. On the day of the case the OP will simply set out in his own words what happened and the Judge will make a decision. Although Virgin is not one of main offenders, it is time passengers begin bringing airlines to justice.
jktshff1 on 2010-09-26:
james, someone will correct me, but I believe 2hrs ahead is recommended for international flights.
James_236 on 2010-09-26:
Someone may correct me too, but I think the 2 hours is the "recommended" arrival time at the airport, but the cutoff for check-in of bags is one hour, but the OP's story is that the agent looked at their documents then asked someone else if their bags could still get on the flight, bearing out that they were just minutes out of time and even the agent thought they might have made it.
Ben There on 2010-09-26:
There are plenty of time where I did not feel like getting to the airport at the proper time because I was really tired, had a broken arm, hungover, getting lucky, busy with work, not feeling well, upset because I was at a funeral, eating Christmas dinner with family, etc... There are also times when I paid money to change my flight because I knew I was not going to make the flight or I was sick and didn't want to share germs with other passengers.

However, if I got to an airport right at the cut off time and missed the minimum check in time I would never try to blame someone who was just doing his or her job of upselling a seat, or whatever few seconds diversion I might encounter... The reason I am late for the flight is all on me because I didn't allow enough time to get to the airport.

There is always the chance that something will go wrong the tube or taxi might be delayed, you forget something and have to turn around, you wake up late, but that is life, NOT A COURT CASE! I wish more people would accept responsibility for their own actions instead of suing.
Anonymous on 2010-09-26:
Ben There, I liked your list of reasons (1st paragraph). I had to laugh. It is true. I've had many of the same scenarios and have also changed my flights at cost just because I didn't feel like going yet--for whatever reason.

I still feel sympathetic to anyone who is traveling and ill and it would have been nice if things had been worked out differently by the employees since it was a close call. The $600 and 4 hour wait was the icing on the cake.
Ben There on 2010-09-26:
Yeah, I feel sorry too, but I can see both sides of the story. Risk a delay and penalize the 300 people who checked in on time, or deny boarding and penalize the person who was late.

Because Heathrow is so busy and is slot controlled, if you take a delay waiting for baggage it might mean an hour of extra taxiing if you lose your spot in line for take off. I had this happen to me in Newark - some bags were loaded, but the corresponding passengers never got on the plane. It took 30 minutes to find the bags in the hold, but we were hours late taking off because we got in the back of the line during Europe rush hour.
PepperElf on 2010-09-26:
the case one would have to prove is whether or not the 5 minutes - if it was even that long - caused this to happen.

but in order to prove that you'd also have to prove that the upsale would have caused this to happen if if the OP had been at the airport earlier.

or rather.. isn't it always the case? when you're running late everyone in front of you seems to move too slowly. or something happens that makes you even later? is it the fault of the people ahead of you?

yes going anywhere while sick feels bad, but sometimes you have to do it. and yes I've traveled while sick.. once I pretty much traveled oh... just a few hours after getting out of the hospital. people were nice to me at least. .. I left the hospital tags on until I got home.
Anonymous on 2010-09-26:
Ben, that does sound like a hellish place to fly out of. Haven't been there in years.

When I fly out of Singapore, the airport is so organized that I've started arriving 1 1/2 hours before flight time. I still have an hour or more after check-in. I wish all airports ran so smoothly.
Ben There on 2010-09-26:
Singapore has a great airport, swimming pool and all. Newark and Heathrow are the anti-Changi.

I also like the new Bangkok airport. For a city that is so chaotic, the airport experience is really nice.
Anonymous on 2010-09-26:
Hong Kong's airport is pretty nice too. Haven't flown into Bangkok yet, but at least I know the airport will be decent :) My son hates JFK, Laguardia and Newark too.

I've never seen the swimming pool at Changi--where is it? I'm usually in a daze when I get there--either coming in after all those hours on a plane or getting there at the crack of dawn when I'm half asleep. No time for sight seeing, lol.
Ben There on 2010-09-26:
The pool is in Terminal 1. There is a fee to use it unless you are staying at that airport hotel. Hong Kong is nice - the Cathay Pacific Lounges are amazing.
Anonymous on 2010-09-26:
Oh, okay, Ben. Interesting and I'll be checking that pool out--while I'm waiting for my flight in a couple of weeks. Have only been to Japan Airlines lounge in HK. It was nice too.
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