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The Worst Major Airline
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I have sent a complaint letter before and stated that I had a very bad outgoing flight experience and was regretting the flight back as you can read in this previous letter which was sent to you Virgin Atlantic on 5/31/2011.

(I and my two kids flew Virgin Atlantic from LAX to Amman Jordan connecting in London with BMI. The flight was on time, that's the only positive thing I can say about this flight. The entertainment, what entertainment? There was no service on the TV screen the whole flight to London. The food service was awful, and the food portions were very small. Only two food serving on the whole [11 HR] flight, and when calling the flight attendants were very rude. In other words very poor service. I still have to fly back for the return flight. I'm really concerned about that flight. I will never fly or recommend Virgin Atlantic Airline to anybody!!!)

On the return flight back I called Virgin Atlantic airlines to confirm the flight 3 days before the flight date. They told me, "OK you'€™re confirmed." Great so far so good until I went to check in at the airport ticketing desk, where they told me that I don'€™t have a ticket - that my ticket was canceled. That'€™s when I called my husband in California and then he called Virgin Atlantic airlines to find out what is the problem. He was told at the first call that there was a flight change, that somebody had called and changed the flight number and that in order to reissue and release the ticket he had to pay $600.00 first.

He told them that, "Neither me or my wife had called or authorized or did any change on that flight at all at anytime." They put him on hold for about 15 to 20 minutes to find out what had happened to cause this. After about 15-20 minutes they came back saying that the person that did the change was our travel agent. At that time he called the travel agent while Virgin Atlantic was still on the line but he had to leave a message because it was after hours here in California.

Because of the flight time and that my flight was about take off in approximately one hour his hands were tied and had to pay the $600.00 in order for me to catch my flight so my kids can get to school the following Monday which I told the ticketing desk and of course they did not care and did nothing to help. After he paid 600.00 they said that to give them about 5 minutes for them to process.

After about 5 minutes they did not reissue the ticket my husband called Virgin again, they re-checked the ticket validation and reason for the hold or cancellation of the ticket again and said that the credit card number was not correct and they need a different card number which he gave them another card number so that I can make my flight. After it was processed and approved and my ticket was issued he asked them again why the extra charge.

After putting on hold for another 20 minutes they came back and gave him different reason for the flight number change and the reason for the extra charge. This time they said the reason is that BMI airlines had changed the flight number only and that even though Virgin Atlantic charged HIS Card for the extra charge they told him, "You have to take it up with BMI airlines." This flight was the worst airline experience I have ever encountered from departing to the amazing heartless return flight. This would be the last time I travel with or recommend Virgin Atlantic to anybody I know and I will email copy to customer relations and post it online reviews.

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Horrendous Customer Service
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I had originally booked a flight from New York JFK to London Heathrow for the 10th of April (last week). A couple days before the flight, a close family friend passed away. I had to postpone my departure to attend the funeral. So, on Thursday the 9th, I spoke with one of your service representatives (who did not provide me his name, but sounded to be in a South Asian call center). I asked for the next available date of comparable fare. This was apparently too confusing for him, so I had to give him a specific date. He did some typing and responded with "I'm sorry sir, but there are no available flights that day. Would you like me to search another date?"

I took a deep breath to calmly prepare for what I realized was going to be a very painful phone call. Several minutes later, we had found that the next available flight would be about two weeks later (approaching my return date). I realized that, considering the $200 change fee, I might be better off just booking a one-way flight with another airline. The representative said, "Sir, I can make this an 'open ticket' and you can call back once you've decided on the date." "Great!" I thought. "Thanks, I'll do that."

Today, the 13th of April at 3:40 PM EST, I called back in an attempt to finalize arrangements. I spoke with a woman named **, but from the quality of the connection and her accent, I figured that I was again connected with a call center and her name probably wasn't ** anyway. I gave her my booking reference and quickly brought her up to speed. She informed me that there was no note or anything to indicate that I had an "open ticket" and, in fact, I had been listed as a no-show for my flight.

Understanding that the first representative had apparently taken no action during our call, and was instead probably organizing his post-its or photos of his family, I sighed and figured we'd press on and see what could be done. She said that I could re-book the outbound flight as part of the same trip but that in addition to the change fee, I would likely have to pay an additional no-show fee. I gave her some dates to search and she kindly put me on hold... for about 10 minutes.

When she returned, she let me know that in addition to the $200 change fee, there would be a $350 no-show fee (note: my original round-trip fare was about $460). Additionally, the difference in fare would be about $980. SO, to re-book this flight, I would have to pay over $1500. The sheer stupidity hurt my brain.

I quickly did a web search and found one-way flights for $500-600. I politely explained to her that $1500 made absolutely no sense whatsoever and I would really have no rational choice but to fly one-way with another airline. Though, as I'm writing this, I am thinking that I better call back to make sure no one has canceled my return ticket and pocketed my money. I have no confidence in the Virgin customer service, so I'm going to have to get on that call now and suffer a bit more.

I'd like to inject an important side-note to this experience, while I'm on hold. The Virgin Atlantic website (www.virgin-atlantic.com) is all but useless. You can't actually manage your booking. "Manage Your Flights" really only means "online check-in." When I first logged in here, there were a list of account actions, including "change your dates," but the actions didn't link anywhere. There was a note next to it, as a question mark image, that also did not click, but I was able to decipher that holding my cursor over it would reveal other useless information.

I tried clicking a "customer service" link, which ultimately timed out and loaded no page. I did some additional searching for fares and promotional fares which gave me some results but also the note "Are your dates flexible? We found a cheaper fare for $**." When I clicked the related link, it just took me back to the original promotional fares/search page. Completely and utterly useless. Overall I'd say this website is so horribly behind all of the competition that there is no real used to even having attempting to use it.

So, I'm back on hold now after speaking to a competent representative named **. I have just learned that when a traveler is a "no-show" for their departure flight, the whole booking gets canceled. This means that I no longer have a return flight. So, had I booked another one-way flight, I would be in quite a bit of trouble! I explained the situation, and the primary problems are that the original agent did not make ANY note on the account, and I failed to get his name (which I really regret, but I had other things on my mind [ie: the upcoming funeral arrangements, schedules]) at the time.

So, they could try to review calls from the date/time I provide them, but without a name, it's quite hard. I understand this. ** also understood that the fees and costs associated with making changes would be 3 times the cost of just booking a new trip through the Virgin-Atlantic website. Why didn't the last representative understand that basic reality of mathematics? So, the minutes are ticking by. We shall see the result. In the meantime, I'm searching flights with competitors. After all, if I have to re-book, I think Virgin has already gotten quite enough of my money, without having to render any service in return.

So, I got off hold. There's nothing they can do for me. There are so many ways in which they could have been accommodating and made some more money off me, but alas, they're not equipped with the knowledge to actually generate revenue for their business. I've just booked a new flight with another airline. I don't think I'll be booking with Virgin again anytime soon. Now I'm exhausted and in need of a drink.

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I Used to Rate Virgin Atlantic Quite Highly but No More!
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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 system 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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Rudest Customer Service From ** in Lost Baggage Department
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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 check in the agent forgot to give her back her passport and ** flew to New York with Virgin America by the time it was recovered. On arrival to New York she did not have her passport to board the international flight. Furthermore, 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 ** who seemed caring but needed instructions from someone named **. ** instructed ** 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 ** who was the most rudest person I have ever spoken to. She basically told me to shut the ** 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.

** 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 luggage. 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 hand over when checking in.

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Penny Pinchers
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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 overweight. 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, I'd 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 it's 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. You've 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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Old 747-400 and Poor Service and Support
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UK -- How to start on this?? OK, let's say when I finished my flight from hell and got to hotel in St. Lucia (Royal-Rex resort) to find the Virgin 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 plane's systems are so outdated that other airlines I usually fly on over to Asia must be thinking Virgin are taking the total 'mickey 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 'interrogation position' to forward only and tried to break my child's 6 year old back. The staff were so arrogant 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 blogging 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 blog will be on the hotel your company offers. In TOTAL need of refurbishment and modernization as your planes.

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No Show Policy Is Out To Lunch
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We had a flight for 6:20 pm. 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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Worst Customer Service!!!
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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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Canceled Flights
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I recently booked a flight from Dulles, Washington to London, Heathrow on Virgin Atlantic. The flight was at about 6 pm. 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 11 pm) 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 7 am and 1 pm 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 6 pm flight until they are over capacity and then move everyone to the later flight. It cannot be a coincidence that our 6 pm 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 tell EVERYONE I know that Virgin Airlines truly sucks.

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Virgin Atlantic Appear Not to Need Customers Anymore
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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. 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 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 "€œthey 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! It has taken 11 follow-ups and over 4 months to receive a reply that basically says Virgin are sad to lose my custom, but are not prepared to give me appropriate compensation to keep it.

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Virgin Atlantic Airways Rating:
Star Empty star Empty star Empty star Empty star
1.0 out of 5, based on 3 ratings and
39 reviews & complaints.
Contact Information:
Virgin Atlantic Airways
747 Belden Avenue
Norwalk, CT 06850
203 750 2000 (ph)
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