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Rudest Customer Service from CATHY in lost Baggage Department
Posted by Nichol of San Francisco on 06/01/2010
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 and foremost 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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Posted by yoke on 2010-06-01:
How did you get her passport if the agent had it last?
Posted by 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 Nickybolton on 05/01/2010
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 accross the forecourt, weigh it and then then take it back again. "Your appology 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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Posted by 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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Virgin Atlantic Is A Thieving Organization
Posted by Dane37 on 12/11/2009
I meant to transfer 94,000 American Express points to Virgin America and I accidently transferred them to Virgin Atlantic instead. The fine folks at American Express tried for ten days but the thieves at Virgin Atlantic WOULD NOT RETURN the points! I will NEVER fly Virgin Atlantic and I will tell everyone I know not to either. I will, however, be a loyal (Platinum Level) American Express Member as long as I live.
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Posted by goduke on 2009-12-11:
So exactly how many times have you flown Virgin Atlantic in the past?
Posted by dane37 on 2009-12-13:
What does my extensive flying history have to do with stealing points?
Posted by PepperElf on 2009-12-13:
well i wouldn't really call them thieves... if they'd taken it from you yes, but you gave it to them.

how did you accidentally transfer them over to the wrong airline?
Posted by dane37 on 2009-12-14:
I confused Virgin America with Virgin Atlantic. Did you even read my post or do you just like to be picky?
Posted by PepperElf on 2009-12-14:
just wondering what process was for picking
you still can't call them thieves technically

if they took your points w/out your permission then yes, but you gave them the points

that's a bit like my first navy ship. i got to my rack after taps, felt a hat on my rack and figured it was mine (it was dark), so I put it underneath my pillow for the night. The next morning some woman asked me to return the hat that I "stole". Kinda ticked me off. i was being called a "thief" yet.. she was the one who decided to store her gear on my rack and leave it there.

anyway check their online policy for any "no refund" clause
that doesn't make them thieves however
Posted by dane37 on 2009-12-15:
Now the discussion has turned to your Navy days? I will continue to try to donate the points to charity and I will hope that the people at Virgin Atlantic stop blocking my efforts to do so.

I posted a warning to fellow consumers in the spirit of this website. You seem to be picking apart my vocabulary and making excuses for Virgin Atlantic rather than trying to help consumers make choices.

I wish you and our fellow three centers a happy holiday season.

I will now step back (I hope you note that the phrase "step back" is being used in a figurative sense; none of us wants to hear about how you wouldn't exactly say I was "stepping back" nor how the phrase reminds you of your days as a missionary in the former Rhodesia) and allow you to have the last word as I have grown tired of this discussion.
Posted by goduke on 2009-12-15:
The reason I asked about the flying history, Dane, is because that's the leverage you are trying to use to bend Virgin Atlantic to your will. If you have flown with them a lot, it may be a good tactic. If you've never flown with them, they're going to say "what's our loss?"

Sorry you had the bad experience, and sorry you're so very angry about it.
Posted by PepperElf on 2009-12-15:
good point goduke

and my example was to show that
just because someone calls someone else a thief does not mean it's actually true
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Ain't no love at LAX
Posted by Irrate of Santa Monica on 12/05/2009
I'd rather walk than fly Virgin Atlantic.

The ticketing staff at LAX are officious and obnoxious. If they can make your circumstances worse, they will go out of their way to do so.

Take Air New Zealand - they have staff who actually want to help you....

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Posted by PepperElf on 2009-12-05:
i think what james meant to say is .... there's not a lot of data here in this review.

it would be more meaningful if you actually said what happened

as is it, right now it just looks like a "they suck" message without actual examples
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-12-05:
I just didn't think that people should express an adverse view about a company without stating any fact in support, so that members could form and express their own opinions. But apparently the moderators think otherwise
Posted by PepperElf on 2009-12-06:
i think it was jsut cos your post was only "this is worthless"

they've cracked down on attacks etc.

just be glad it's not pfb. they are really strict there about stuff.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-12-06:
Calling someone's opinion worthless may be an attack, but the word I remember using, unless I am mistaken, was "meaningless". If Virgin Atlantic corporate read this thread and phoned their LAX office and asked "Why is our ticketing staff officious and obnoxious"?, the answer from LAX would correctly be, "We have no idea what you mean" That is because "officious and obnoxious" is an opinion that does not state any fact.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-12-06:
Wow, I'm convinced. I will never fly Virgin Atlantic again!?!?!
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Tired of being treated like cattle? So many airline complaints, but not as many for virgin!
Posted by Wld8hrt on 12/02/2009
I was just browsing the airline reviews and saw nothing but complaints. With the exception being that I did not see one review for virgin airlines.
So, instead of a negative, I felt it was time people heard of an airline that provides consistently clean, comfortable, enjoyable travel.
I have flown all of virgins US airlines including Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America and V Australia. Each trip has been pleasant and enjoyable. When wad the last time you could really say that about air travel?
My only complaint is that when I changed a flight I was not given the difference back on my credit card. I was issued an airline credit. Well it had an expiration date. I am a firm believer that credits should not expire.
I hate to give up this "secret" but check them out next time you need to fly. You will be glad you did!
And don't forget, they are starting space travel via Virgin Galactic in just a few months!
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Posted by goduke on 2009-12-02:
Trying putting "virgin" in the search bar on the top of the page. You'll see a few discussions about virgin airlines come up.

To a large extent, I'm pretty convinced that a person's happiness with a particular airline is related to their consistent use of the same airline. You get to know the policies, the workarounds, how it all works, etc. Glad you found one you like. It makes travelling a lot easier.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-12-02:
Few complaints as VX is tiny in comparison to most US airlines, thus proportionally fewer complaints.
Virgin America is a foreign owned airline flying under the guise of being American - illegal under US cabotage laws. Currently there are formal complaints filed against Virgin America which could lead to its demise or sale.
I'm personally not a protectionist however this sector viability is important to national security, commerce and hundreds of thousands of jobs.
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Terrible Customer Service
Posted by Jc9090 on 10/16/2009
While on our way to Heathrow Airport, we were stuck in traffic for 2 and half hours because of an accident and me and my wife were 7 minutes late before the baggage closing time which I found later as being 60 minutes prior to the actual flight time. They refused to do anything at all. We requested to let us fly without our baggage and they still refused. We were directed to the booking section where the representative told me that there was a 200 pound change fee per person but had no seats until the 26th of October. She suggested us to come to the airport every morning and stand by just incase some one doesn’t show up or buy a one way ticked for the next day for $1500 each. We were basically stranded at the airport. We basically were forced to take a United Airline flight back for $1200 the same day.

What kind of airline is this? Are they trying to make money off of people who had no control over the situation at all? I will never fly Virgin Atlantic again.

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Posted by Ben There on 2009-10-16:
Did you call the airline to let them know you were running late? The reason for the cut off is not because they don't feel like checking in any more bags, but they have to have them over to security by a certain time or they risk delaying the flight for hundreds of other people. Most airline charge the change fees for missed flights because you are basically getting 4 plane seats for the price of two - the ones you purchased plus 2 new ones which they could sell for very expensive walk up fares. Sure it would be wonderful customer service if they waived the fees, but in these hard times for the airlines they just are not going to give away things for free like they used to.
Posted by PepperElf on 2009-10-16:
plus if you're flying and leaving your bags behind or on another flight
the bags will most likely require more screening

why? simply because some bombers don't actually want to die with the plane. just because you know you're not a danger, it doesn't mean the airline automatically knows

it's one thing is the airline is late on the luggage.. but when the passenger is the one doing it, they don't automatically trust.

nor should they
Posted by BEJ on 2009-10-16:
I do not see how this is terrible customer service because you did not get what you wanted. The cut off times are related to sending off the bags to be screened. Their hands, so to speak, were tied and nothing could be done It was not your fault or their fault because you got stuck in traffic--it just was.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-10-16:
It's not their fault you were late (no matter what happened). If the flight is closed out, its closed out. All they did was advise you of the policies that you should have already known about.

As for flying without your luggage, that could easily be done by someone with a bomb in their luggage. I know you didn't cause the accident but this wasn't Virgin Atlantic's fault either.
Posted by DCGirl on 2009-10-18:
I have vivid memories of sitting at the gate for two hours at Heathrow because someone who's luggage was on the plane had not actually boarded it, causing a security incident. They are very strict about people and their luggage flying on the same plane at Heathrow.
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Old 747-400 and poor service and support
Posted by Virgin old style on 08/08/2009
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 usally 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 tryed 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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Posted by 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!
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-08-08:
Try reading it with an English accent on your mind and its even better.
Posted by 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 it's legal. If they wanna drink themselves into oblivion, up to them. They don't care what you do on your holiday, you shouldn't care what they do.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-08-08:
The best way you could have started on this would have been with a dictionary in your hand.
Posted by 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.
Posted by 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).

Posted by 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?
Posted by 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!
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-08-08:
Have not heard the phrase getting pissed since I was at a pub in Ireland.
Posted by Skye on 2009-08-08:
My heads hurts from reading this.
Posted by 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.
Posted by 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 Azadian on 08/05/2009
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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Posted by MSCANTBEWRONG on 2009-08-05:
It's their policy and apparently plainly stated.
Posted by 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.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-08-05:
Why would they NOT do exactly as described? Seems like common sense.
Posted by Soaring Consumer on 2009-08-05:
Azadian, unfortunately you arrived at the airport too late. This is not Virgin America's fault.
Posted by 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.
Posted by 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.
Posted by 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.
Posted by 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.
Posted by 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.
Posted by 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?
Posted by 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
Posted by 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.
Posted by 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?
Posted by 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.
Posted by 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?
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-08-05:
Littleyaya (BA)
Posted by jktshff1 on 2009-08-05:
face it, ya blew it by bad planning. YOUR fault
Posted by 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:)
Posted by 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.
Posted by 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.

Posted by 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?
Posted by 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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They Just Don't Care about Medical Emergencies
Posted by Jk2001 on 08/02/2009
CALIFORNIA -- I purchased 3 tickets that cost around $1,500, and had a serious medical emergency that prevented us from taking the trip. I canceled two weeks in advance, and requested a refund. The refund was denied. I was unable to use the credit due to this ongoing health condition, and because I rarely fly. They were unwilling to refund even after I faxed in a note from my partner's doctor. (I have since faxed in other verification of several other hospital stays.) During one communication with Guest Services customer service rep, I was told that the credit expired in August, when, in fact, most of it expired one month earlier. This led to most of my credit expiring. I have asked for an extension on the credit, so I could try to sell the credit to a third party at a discount. (I wish I could use the credit for flights, but, I'm just not in a situation where we could do that.) So far, the request has been denied and I'm losing hope.

I think Virgin America is being unfair -- I cancelled on time, and did not preclude their re-selling the seats. I think the policies are unreasonable and the staff and management are being inflexible and inhumane in this situation. Virgin America is profiting $1,500, getting my money without rendering any service. I feel robbed.

If this situation is resolved, I'll post a followup or remove this review.
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Posted by Anonymous on 2009-08-02:
When you bought the ticket you agreed to their terms and conditions of no refunds allowed. I understand how everyone thinks that their situation should merit an exception, but it doesn't. They're not being unfair, you're being unrealistic.
Posted by Ben There on 2009-08-02:
You might want to invest in some travel insurance next time you purchase a plane ticket, or think about purchasing refundable tickets. They cost a bit more but if you have ongoing medical conditions it could be worth it as you can get your money back and often change dates for free.
Posted by Eloise on 2009-08-02:
Why do people think the terms and conditions don't apply to them? You bought a cheap ticket, you canceled, they offered you credit, you let it expire. This mess isn't Virgin Airlines fault.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-08-02:
Thank you, Eloise. That is exactly what I was thinking. When you buy a cheap ticket, it is non-refundable under any circumstances. Do you want them to add a new condition just for you?
Posted by Ben There on 2009-08-02:
Most airlines do not allow you to sell or transfer ticket credit to other people. Even if the credit is extended, you will only be able to use it for the same people whose names were on the original tickets.
Posted by Ponie on 2009-08-02:
Ben, that's what I thought, too. Thanks for clarifying.
Posted by Eloise on 2009-08-02:
I was wondering that too. Thanks again, Ben!
Posted by jk2001 on 2009-08-02:
The emergency was unexpected, and when I went to purchase traveller's insurance (before the emergency) I learned that the terms have stipulations about when you have to buy the insurance. I don't fly that much, so all this was new to me. Additionally, I called Virgin several months ago to work out some way to transfer my credit to a third party, and the guest services representative told me that I had until August to use the credit. It turned out that most of the credit expired in July, but a portion of it was a refund and that expired in August. Additionally, via email and during one prior conversation, I was under the impression that an exception had been made for my situation, so I thought I would be given a refund and wouldn't have to try to sell the credit. Had I know that they were going to be so stringent, I would have tried to sell my credit sooner. (The idea is to sell the credit, take payment via an escrow account, and then transfer the credit to the buyer, who'd release the funds. It would take a few days and extra work on everyone's part.)
Posted by jk2001 on 2009-08-02:
I would like to add that on one occasion, I did try to sell and then transfer credit, and the guest services rep was having a hard time understanding what I was trying to do.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-08-02:
All emergencies are unexpected. That doesn't change anything.
Posted by PepperElf on 2009-08-02:
and i am thinking "canceled within time"
by who's rules?
Posted by jk2001 on 2009-08-02:
I canceled by their rules. I canceled a week before their deadline.
Posted by jk2001 on 2009-08-02:
@justthefaxx - if one of my clients has an unusual situation that falls somewhat outside of the scope of the contract or faces an unexpected situation, I try to work it out with them. It's a reasonable thing to expect businesses to be a little flexible on things like emergencies. At this time, I'm asking for the opportunity to sell my old credit to someone else, and for them to assist in transferring it. They already have my money.

FYI, this was a real emergency. There are emergencies, like a broken bone, and there are emergencies that preclude someone from flying for a while. This is one of the latter type.
Posted by jk2001 on 2009-08-02:
@financiallyfit - to some extent, yes, I'm asking for an exception to their rules. It would be nice if they changed their rules to be more flexible for everyone. For example, if they issue you credit via Elevate, they should allow you to sell the credit to someone else and facilitate the process. After all, they already have your money!

It would be good if they accounted for the fact that some people have emergencies that don't result in death, but, are still serious enough that your credit is likely to run out before it can be used.

Also, their guest care services didn't work for me. It's not a smooth process.
Posted by jk2001 on 2009-08-02:
@Ben There - thanks for the tip about transfers
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Worst Customer Service!!!
Posted by Somjoon on 07/19/2009
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.
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Posted by 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.
Posted by 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.
Posted by 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.
Posted by 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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