Virgin Atlantic Airways Complaint - Virgin Atlantic: The Very Worst
To my great misfortune, I flew Virgin Atlantic Airways from London Heathrow Airport to JFK in New York on August 2nd, 2004. My travel agent booked the flights for me and I was enthusiastic about the low fares. Well, that quickly disappeared. I have made many, many international and domestic flights, and this was, hands down, the worst flight I have ever had.
I arrived in Heathrow in the morning, whereas my flight was due to leave in the evening, so I actually went to the check-in counter to see if I had to check in right then. They said I could leave and check in later if I wanted to. I left the airport, walked around London, returned to check-in, and was ONLY THEN informed that my flight was running three hours late. After an entire day of killing time, particularly when I had been there just a few hours before inquiring about the flight, I was annoyed that they hadn't informed me of the delay. You see, the flight that was late was a long overseas flight, so by the time that I went to inquire about checking in, it was in the air. They could have easily told me about the delay, and they could have very easily made some calls to other passengers to let them know of the delay- especially the many families traveling with small children. Most other international airlines will do that if there's a substantial delay... but not Virgin!
Anyway, they "generously" gave me a 5 pound food voucher so I could get myself a meal, and if any of you have been to Heathrow, you know that 5 pounds won't even buy you a sandwich. For three hours I and the other passengers waited and waited for them to announce our gate, and finally they did. Well, when at the gate, after alllll the security procedures, they did more random security checks according to airline policy, and then all of us sat at the gate for another 45 minutes, for some unknown reason. We FINALLY boarded, and 45 minutes later were still sitting at the gate. The reason? Technical difficulties. And then, a lady on the flight got sick and couldn't make the trip, so they had to unload all our luggage from the plane (I kid you not) and reload it all back on.
Finally, about 4 3/4 hours late, we took to the skies, and about 20 minutes into the flight, the stewardess announced that she was terribly sorry, but the in-flight entertainment system was broken and that there would be no movies, music or games on the flight. They handed out apology letters giving us 10% discounts on our next tickets because of the in-flight entertainment failure, but what I really wanted was an apology about the delay!
We arrived at JFK and somehow landed on the wrong runway- one that was under construction. So, we had to wait for a tow truck to come and tow the plane to the gate. Another hour's delay. We ended up arriving in the middle of the night, when we should have arrived at 9 pm. And because they hadn't informed us ahead of time, the people there to pick us up had been waiting for over 5 hours.
There was no apology made for the entire fiasco, and an airline with good service would have at least given us some sort of refund on the flight or a substantial discount on the next one. Well, I guess it wouldn't have mattered had they done so, because I will NEVER, EVER travel Virgin Atlantic again! Pay the extra 100 dollars and fly another airline.