Virgin Atlantic Airways Complaint - Virgin Atlantic appear not to need customers anymore
Thank you for opening this thread as I am furious with the service I have received from Virgin Atlantic and now am looking for ways to air my displeasure.
I am also very saddened at the change in attitude that Virgin Atlantic are now displaying when dealing with their customers. Up until this year I was a great champion of the Virgin brand and rather naively believed that Richard Branson actually did care what his customers felt. Virgin Atlantic have demonstrated to me that their customer services organization have very little regard for how their customers feel and even worse place an extremely low value on customer retention. I initially sent a complaint (copied below) to Virgin Atlantic on the 14th January 2009, I actually believed because of the way I had been treated Richard Branson might be made aware (I know it was a stupid wish). What I didn’t expect was the complete disregard I experienced. I sent many e-mails pleading for help, however I was ignored or received replies from people who either couldn’t understand written English very well, or couldn’t be bothered to address the issues I had raised. Finally I wrote a paper letter to Steve Griffiths (Virgin Executive) to which I actually received a reply from somebody who had actually read and understood my complaint. I was amazed though to find that Virgin Atlantic claim they are unable to compensate me appropriately for my suffering because “they must remain consistent in the gesture they offer or else it would be unfair on other customers” In a nut shell, If their attitude is if we treated appropriately everyone else would expect the same.
My family of five are all members of the Virgin Flying club and no longer wish to be associated with Virgin so asked if we could close our accounts and transfer the miles, in response we were informed that we couldn’t transfer the miles but could close the accounts and give our air-miles to a charity!
Here is a copy of the mail that I sent to Virgin on the 14th Jan 2009. It has taken 11 follow-ups and over 4 months to receive a reply that basically says Virgin are sad to loose my custom, but are not prepared to give me appropriate compensation to keep it.
I have never written to a Chairman of any company, let alone somebody like you because I believe that the customer relations departments in large companies probably ensure that the men at the top do not have to spend time dealing with customers. However I have a feeling that Virgin atlantic may be different so it’s worth a try.
I am (and have been for some time a champion of Virgin atlantic)
I have had enjoyed many fantastic holidays in Virgin resorts and for me and my family a huge part of the holiday is the “getting there” part.
In my opinion Virgin atlantic has the best service to the Caribbean & USA. A few years ago we were fortunate enough to enjoy the experience of “Premium economy” as a result we have not been able to consider booking a flight with your competitors or even in a Virgin standard cabin and therefore for me (until I Win the Lottery (and can upgrade to Virgin Upper Class)) Virgin Premium Economy is the only way for us to travel.
I perform as a singer and my girlfriend works in a Marks & Spencer’s. All of our disposable income is saved to be pay for the highlight of our year which is a fortnight away somewhere sunny.
Last year we chose Barbados and obviously we chose your airline to get us there. The flight experience out was (as expected) superb. All your cabin staff are just fantastic either you have a great recruitment section, great training or both. The crew really do seem pleased to welcome you on board and want to make your flight as brilliant as they can, one of your flight crew on the way out even gave us his contact details so that I could send him some comps to come to the Dover Street wine bar to see me sing.
We had a fantastic holiday and on the 16th November had to come home (flight VS030 seats 33D&E). Your crew welcomed us on board and (on the quite, I ordered a bottle of champagne to be put on ice as I had a proposal planned for my girlfriend).
As the flight prepared to take off an announcement was made that the crew had been made aware pre-flight that the entertainment system had developed a fault and therefore it would not be available.
We were seated in a bank of four seats in the center of the cabin, a teenage girl who was sitting next to my girlfriend immediately started to cry and complain to her mum that there was something wrong with the plane. To make things even worse the fault with the entertainment system meant that we could not control the reading lights (in our bank of seats three out of the four were off while just mine was on). The upset teenager stood and without asking re-adjusted my light so that it illuminated her area, as the kid was already playing up I did not make things any worse and let her have the light.
Because we were looking forward to watching the films on the way home we had left our i-pods in our cases (which were in the hold) so for many hours my girlfriend and I sat listening to a whining teenager who spent the whole journey whinging to her mum that it was unfair not to have the TV, she was scared that there was a problem with the plane, the light (that should have been directed at my position) was inadequate for her to read by, and later in the journey that she was unable to relax because she could not turn the light off. My girlfriend and I did not have a fantastic time coming home, in actual fact it was miserable.
We spent many thousands of pounds on our holiday and for us the journey home was spoiled (that’s the last bit we remember of our holiday). We were told that we could claim a £25 discount token/duty free voucher each as a measure of compensation for the spoiled flight.
We could have chosen a much cheaper way of getting to our holiday destination but we are not only loyal Virgin customers but actually champions of your company so chose Virgin atlantic. I feel that £25 does not reflect realistic compensation and hope that you will consider offering a more acceptable compensation. I realize that you do not travel Premium Economy, however if you suffered the same as my girlfriend and I, I believe you would also being sending a mail similar to this to the person you felt might help.
We do intend to travel with you again next year, please offer us reasonable compensation.
I am sorry it has taken me a while to send you this mail but since my holiday my life has been a bit traumatic.