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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 09/25/2010:
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 09/25/2010:
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 09/25/2010:
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 09/25/2010:
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 09/25/2010:
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 09/25/2010:
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 09/25/2010:
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 09/25/2010:
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 09/26/2010:
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 09/26/2010:
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 09/26/2010:
james, someone will correct me, but I believe 2hrs ahead is recommended for international flights.
James_236 on 09/26/2010:
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 09/26/2010:
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 09/26/2010:
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 09/26/2010:
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 09/26/2010:
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 09/26/2010:
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 09/26/2010:
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 09/26/2010:
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 09/26/2010:
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 09/26/2010:
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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Tired of being treated like cattle? So many airline complaints, but not as many for virgin!
Posted by on
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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goduke on 12/02/2009:
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.
Anonymous on 12/02/2009:
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 on
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 someone 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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Ben There on 10/16/2009:
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.
PepperElf on 10/16/2009:
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
BEJ on 10/16/2009:
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.
Anonymous on 10/16/2009:
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.
DCGirl on 10/18/2009:
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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They Just Don't Care about Medical Emergencies
Posted by on
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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Anonymous on 08/02/2009:
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.
Ben There on 08/02/2009:
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.
Eloise on 08/02/2009:
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.
Anonymous on 08/02/2009:
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?
Ben There on 08/02/2009:
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.
Ponie on 08/02/2009:
Ben, that's what I thought, too. Thanks for clarifying.
Eloise on 08/02/2009:
I was wondering that too. Thanks again, Ben!
jk2001 on 08/02/2009:
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.)
jk2001 on 08/02/2009:
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.
Anonymous on 08/02/2009:
All emergencies are unexpected. That doesn't change anything.
PepperElf on 08/02/2009:
and I am thinking "canceled within time"
by whose rules?
jk2001 on 08/02/2009:
I canceled by their rules. I canceled a week before their deadline.
jk2001 on 08/02/2009:
@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.
jk2001 on 08/02/2009:
@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.
jk2001 on 08/02/2009:
@Ben There - thanks for the tip about transfers
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Canceled Flights
Posted by on
I recently booked a flight from Dulles, Washington, to London, Heathrow, on Virgin Atlantic. The flight was at about 6pm. 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 11pm) 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 7am and 1pm 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 6pm flight until they are over capacity and then move everyone to the later flight. It cannot be a coincidence that our 6pm 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 tel EVERYONE I know that Virgin Airlines truly sucks.
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Ben There on 05/24/2009:
If the flight was oversold, they would not lie to you and tell you that it was cancelled. This would be too easy a lie to get caught in as the flight would still be operating, and there is a good chance that some people booked on the flight will change plans before departure. More likely one of their planes has to go out of service that week or they are getting rid of the flight for good.

As for having seats assignments, no airlines promise that you will have seats next to each other. Every single airline will move people around, especially if they have to cancel a flight. Regardless, Virgin does not have any planes that have 5 seats together, so someone would have been odd man out no matter what. Lots of people fly alone on long flights, so sleeping next to someone else is not a big deal.
rudybjr on 05/26/2009:
I can tell you from experience that an airline's least concern is the actual seat assignments you get.
Anonymous on 05/26/2009:
You don't pay for the seat, you pay for the airline to get you from one place to another. Seat assignments are never a guarantee and the airline reserves the right to change your seat
Anonymous on 05/26/2009:
Rudybjr, what airline did you work for?
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Do Not Fly This Airline
Posted by on
This was one of the worst carriers I have ever flown with (I have been to Europe 5 times). The seats are very uncomfortable and cramped. They lost our luggage for 2 days. We were told we could spend $100 (GBP 50) each for "essentials". We submitted our documentation for reimbursement and 6 months later - we still have not received a check. They are very unhelpful. Coming home, the Virgin Atlantic flight was late so we missed our connecting flight.

They were unhelpful. We waiting 10 hours in the airport for another flight and had to argue with the airline to be placed on it. I will try not to fly with them ever again.
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Anonymous on 04/22/2008:
To be fair, what you describe has become the norm for air carriers. So long as 'cheap' drives the bus, quality service will always ride in the back.
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Lost Luggage - No Resolution
Posted by on
I hope you will make sure that Sir Richard B. gets to see what some of our bitterness carries towards his airline. I said this because his airline is full of inefficient and morally bankrupt staff that cares more about themselves than the reputation of the job which earns them daily bread. It was in October 2007 that I lost my luggage on the way from Johannesburg to Boston. I tried filling a complaint immediately, followed it with many phone calls. I was told to wait for 20 days and asked to make a formal claim. I'm writing this complaint on February 25th 2008; they did not care to even tell me where my case is in the pile of similar questions like mine.

I will never forgive this airline and Richard if they ignore me. They will only add cents to my compensation request. Remember the court case of a guy whose jacket was trimmed in the laundry?
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FoggyOne on 02/25/2008:
All airlines lose luggage. At best they will give you the amount for international travel (I imagine their lost luggage limitation is on their Website). You're implying you're going to sue - don't bother - you may get the satisfaction of suing but you will not win. The airline will pull out all the 'fine print' lines that you agreed to by purchasing their ticket. Very frustrating I know.
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Avoid Virgin Atlantic
Posted by on
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY -- On feb 15th 2007, my wife and son and my parents were supposed to be traveling on Virgin Atlantic flight from Newark to Delhi with a stop in London. When we got there and went through the boarding process all was well. After about a 2 hr delay the flight took off and there was smoke coming out of one of the wings and the plane was redirected to JFK. When the passengers were asked to get off the plane at JFK they were all confused and no one was helpful to them and told them what to do next. After a lot of confusion they were told to go back to Newark (at their own expense) and talk to the crew at that airport. When they got there no one seemed to know what to do. They were told that they will be put on another plane in the evening and given hotel rooms for that time. That evening when the passengers went back to the airport they were again sent back to the hotel. After all said and done most of the passengers got to travel almost 48 hrs after scheduled departure. Meanwhile Virgin Atlantic personnel handed out letters to all the passengers which clearly states that Virgin will provide them with a round trip ticket equal to that day's trip or a full refund. I have been trying to get the refund from them for the last 5 months and I have been communicating with them through email and fax. I have sent in all the information they need and they are not willing to honor the letter. Last thing I got from them was a form to fill out for lost tickets, after trying to explain to them that that form does not and will not help me in this case they have stopped responding to any of my emails. I am entitled to full refund of 4 tickets and I expect to be compensated for all the trouble my family had to go through because of them and the domestic flights that we lost.

What can I do to get help in this matter?

Please advise me.
Thank You
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Pomona Guy on 07/24/2007:
I think you should be happy you are alive and quit being so greedy.
jktshff1 on 07/24/2007:
fill out the forms, thank the pilot for putting the plane down. Stuff happens and you have to deal with it.
familytravel on 07/25/2007:
Be happy they landed the plane before there was a real emergency. You have a legitimate complaint though. Have you tried to contact Virign Atlantic over the phone?
kevinajm on 07/14/2008:
Keep on fighting and good luck getting a reasonable response from Virgin..Their Boss tells the world he cares, but sadly he does not see our complaints..Read article on hot cabin Airbus a340
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Customer Service!
Posted by on
On August 19th I traveled from Dubai to London and then London to JFK. On arrival at JFK (3 1/2 hours late) one of my pieces of luggage was missing. I was told that it had not been loaded in London and it would come the following day. I was supposed to transfer to an American Airlines flight to Toronto but due to the late arrival I missed that flight and was put in a hotel for the night. I traveled on to Toronto on the afternoon of August 20th. On the 21st I called Virgin at JFK to ask about my bag. Nobody was able to help me and there was no record of the file number I was given. Over the next week I continued calling several times a day with the same response. My call was constantly forwarded to various Virgin personnel, none of whom were able to give me any answers. I finally called the VP of Swissport baggage handling services to see if they could help me. He told me my bag had been at JFK since August 20th but he could not understand why it had not been forwarded. He arranged for it to be shipped to Toronto by FedEx the following day which it was, although Canada Customs would not release it so I had to rent a car to drive to Toronto airport and pick the bag up myself. After receiving my "lost" bag (12 days late!!) and unpacking it, my digital camera was missing!

I then returned to Dubai via the same routing on September 21st with an eleven hour layover at Heathrow. On arrival at Dubai the following day both pieces of my luggage did not arrive! They came in the following day and were delivered to me at home.

I have sent several letters to Virgin Atlantic over the last six weeks, including to the Director of Customer Services. I have incurred a lot of expense in the form of many long distance phone calls, car rental and had to replace my digital camera. A month ago I submitted a claim form to Virgin Atlantic (London) but have yet to hear a response from them. There has been no offer of any kind of compensation for my losses. In fact I have had NO response from anyone at Virgin Atlantic since this whole episode began on August 19th!!!!!!!!
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Timboss on 10/04/2006:
I be furious too that it took 12 days to get your bag. But, you should NEVER pack valuables in your checked bags, you really don't know how many hands touch that bag on the way to/from the plane. My bags only have my clothes and toilet articles which I'm sure nobody else but me would ever want.
DebtorBasher on 10/04/2006:
Lost luggage isn't anything unusal with happens no matter what airline you use...I understand your frustation, lost luggage isn't something people think about until it happens to them...If the luggage was sitting at JFK all that time, the claim number they gave you should have showed that when you called to trace it...Timboss, we have to remember that airlines, especially on flights overseas have strict rules on what can and can not be carried onto the plane...I've flown on several different airlines and Virgin Airlines is by far the best airline I've been on when I went to London and they would be my first choice if I should have to opportunity again. Richard Branson (owner of Virgin ) is a very down to Earth ordinary (billionaire)...who does care about the people who uses his airlines...I know they do have very strict rules and training for their employees...I'm sure if you reach the right person, the problem will be settled to your satisfaction.
Anonymous on 10/04/2006:
I agree with DB, lost luggage isn't that unusual. Funny story: My daughter was returning from San Diego(summer with dad)with her usual cargo: her luggage, and a smaller piece of luggage containing, of all things, frozen(at least at the beginning of the flight) lumpia, which her grandma makes every fall to send back here. The airline lost the "lumpia", and, after 6 days, we were contacted since they finally located the luggage. Ummm...I KNOW this stuff is bad at this point, and, I asked my daughter, "Did you have ANYthing else in that luggage?" She said no, and I let them keep it.
familytravel on 10/04/2006:
I understand your frustration! But NEVER EVER place expensive electronics in your checked baggage!
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Virgin Atlantic Is A Thieving Organization
Posted by on
I meant to transfer 94,000 American Express points to Virgin America and I accidentally 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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User Replies:
goduke on 12/11/2009:
So exactly how many times have you flown Virgin Atlantic in the past?
dane37 on 12/13/2009:
What does my extensive flying history have to do with stealing points?
PepperElf on 12/13/2009:
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?
dane37 on 12/14/2009:
I confused Virgin America with Virgin Atlantic. Did you even read my post or do you just like to be picky?
PepperElf on 12/14/2009:
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". Kind of 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
dane37 on 12/15/2009:
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.
goduke on 12/15/2009:
The reason I asked about the flying history, Dane, is because that's the leverage you are trying to used 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.
PepperElf on 12/15/2009:
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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