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Beware Virgin Atlantic!!!

Beware Virgin Atlantic!!!

Old Dec 3rd 2005, 1:21 pm
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Default Beware Virgin Atlantic!!!

On May 22nd 2005, I purchased a regular Premium Economy ticket for my wife, and a miles plus money premium economy ticket for myself to travel on VS16 19th November 2005 and return on VS27 Friday 2nd December 2005.

On 3rd November, I called Virgin (US)and asked if I could change my outgoing flight to a week earlier due to a family problem. I was told that this was not possible since I was travelling on miles plus money ticket and no changes are allowed. Further, I was told that I would have to purchase a new single ticket if I wanted to travel on 11th November.

Fair enough.

I made other arrangements and travelled to the UK with BA.

My wife checked in as planned, with both tickets in her possession, and informed the check in staff at Orlando that I would not be travelling with her on 18th November, but would be returning with her as booked on 2nd December. Funnily enough, they stuck her baggage check on my ticket.

When we arrived at Gatwick yesterday to check in to return, I was told that I could not travel on my ticket as I had not completed the outbound journey, the ticket was therefore cancelled, and I would have to purchase a new ticket to travel.

I told the Virgin representatives at ticketing the complete story, and stressed that I had not been told about any issues when I called Virgin here in the US, and further, my wife was not informed of any issues when she checked in.

The ticketing staff at Gatwick made three assertions which are untrue:

1) They said there was no record of me calling Virgin to enquire about changing my ticket to a departure one week earlier. Since returning home, I have called Virgin and they do have a record of my call on 3rd November exactly as I stated.

2) They said that my confirmation states that if the first segment is not used then the ticket is void. Since returning home I have read in detail all emails received from Virgin and there is no mention whatsoever of such a condition. I have also read the terms on their website and again can see no mention.

3) They said that this was ticketing fraud in order to obtain a cheaper oneway ticket. I paid in May $980.38 plus 10,000 miles wanting to travel both ways with Virgin and so am at a complete loss to understand their logic.

With just minutes before they closed check in for the flight, and with the manager refusing to come down to the ticket desk to speak to me, I reluctantly parted with £492 by credit card, the lowest they would accept.

I have now looked at the receipt I was given, and although they have taken £492 from my card, the ticket receipt is for $492.

Let battle commence!!

Martin
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Old Dec 3rd 2005, 2:29 pm
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Default Re: Beware Virgin Atlantic!!!

You can't use your return part of the ticket if you haven't used the outbound on any airline so it's not just Virgin being arsey. It wouldn't put me off using Virgin though, they're the best to fly for US flights IMO, especially if you're sitting up front

Good luck with your battles
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Old Dec 3rd 2005, 3:34 pm
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Default Re: Beware Virgin Atlantic!!!

Originally Posted by Russ&Jayne
You can't use your return part of the ticket if you haven't used the outbound on any airline so it's not just Virgin being arsey. It wouldn't put me off using Virgin though, they're the best to fly for US flights IMO, especially if you're sitting up front

Good luck with your battles
You're right that all airlines would do this but it doesn't sound as if Virgin handled this at all well. The problem should have been pointed out when Mrcusa's wife checked in if not earlier. I've travelled on Virgin a lot (I was a Gold card holder for three years before I moved over here) and they have always been great - I wish my company would let me travel with them now but I would not have been happy to receive the treatment Mrcusa seems to have got. I'd suggest gathering what documentation you can, detailing everything that happened in a calm way and sending it to their customer relations department - if they don't give you a satisfactory answer then send the same thing to the Head of Customer Services at their offices in Crawley.

Good luck
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Old Dec 3rd 2005, 3:50 pm
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Default Re: Beware Virgin Atlantic!!!

Originally Posted by Russ&Jayne
You can't use your return part of the ticket if you haven't used the outbound on any airline so it's not just Virgin being arsey. It wouldn't put me off using Virgin though, they're the best to fly for US flights IMO, especially if you're sitting up front

Good luck with your battles

Agree with you 101% but sorry for Martin's troubles - hope Virgin can be reasonable about this moving forward.
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Old Dec 3rd 2005, 5:57 pm
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Default Re: Beware Virgin Atlantic!!!

Thanks for your support!

I am hoping the fact that Virgin in Newark, NJ, also seem to be unaware of the rules will help my case.

Had I been told when I called that the ticket would be cancelled, I would have stuck to the original schedule or perhaps extended the stay this end.

I think my best shot is the fact that Virgin did not mention anything about the cancellation, indeed, they tried to sell me a single ticket to use in conjunction with the ticket I had.

Martin
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Old Dec 3rd 2005, 6:16 pm
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Default Re: Beware Virgin Atlantic!!!

Same old story, why are they called Virgin when they are so screwed up ?

Travelled with them in 2002, would never travel again, I found their staff to be rude, my diabetic meals were non-existant despite asking for them when I booked and had them confirmed when I rang to check the flight was still on a few days before I travelled.

I would always fly BA, they were superb when I emigrated, before we left Heathrow they came up to me to confirm that my pooch was loaded on the plane, and the flight was a pleasure with them.
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Old Dec 3rd 2005, 6:47 pm
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Default Re: Beware Virgin Atlantic!!!

Put everything in writing to them, you could even point out things, just in case you get an idiot reading the letter when it arrives with them, it also makes a clear point of everything that was done wrong. You could even say that if you don't receive a satisfactory answer within a reasonable time frame that you will write to head office, but beware that this could also piss them off, so you may want to save this for later, after you have heard back from them or after a considerable wait to hear back from them.

From the way you wrote your first post with all the points, you seem to have good writing skills, so I expect that you will be refunded some money in way of travel tokens/vouchers.

Good luck!
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Old Dec 3rd 2005, 7:10 pm
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Unhappy Re: Beware Virgin Atlantic!!!

Originally Posted by mrcusa
Thanks for your support!

I am hoping the fact that Virgin in Newark, NJ, also seem to be unaware of the rules will help my case.

Martin
All I can say if you're dealing with Virgin at Newark is 'good luck'. Just a month or so ago Virgin replaced it's own check-in staff at Newark and gave the contract to a company (I think it is Gateway or possibly Swissport) whose staff are being paid less and have fewer benefits than if they were employed by Virgin. One of guys who works in their lost baggage office was telling me that since Singapore Airlines took a (49%) stake in Virgin there has been extensive cost-cutting and he was blaming SIA for instigating that Virgin get rid of as many staff as possible and use contractors instead.
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Old Dec 3rd 2005, 7:11 pm
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Default Re: Beware Virgin Atlantic!!!

Originally Posted by Partystar
From the way you wrote your first post with all the points, you seem to have good writing skills, so I expect that you will be refunded some money in way of travel tokens/vouchers.

Good luck!
Always fly with AA. We're platinum flyers so we get lots of lovely perks. I called them from the UK once and they kept me on hold and passed me around in a loop so I complained. They gave me 1000 free air miles for my trouble.

Good luck with your complaint.
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Old Dec 3rd 2005, 7:24 pm
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Lightbulb Re: Beware Virgin Atlantic!!!

You might want to ask advice on the forums here:

http://www.flyertalk.com (fast-paced boards, try 'Travelbuzz'....extensively used by airline staff and frequent flyers)

http://www.airwise.com - has a board for airline disputes and grievances.
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Old Dec 3rd 2005, 9:15 pm
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Default Re: Beware Virgin Atlantic!!!

Just had a battle with Virgin myself, although not over anything as serious just a number of small things over the last few flights with them that added up to me being sick of them messing things up.

My sister is cabin crew with them and after my letter to customer services in Gatwick didn't really get me anywhere she looked into it for me and advised me to send a letter straight to Richard Branson's office at Gatwick. Did and within 4 days received an apology and enough free miles for a US-UK flight. Not that I think for a minute that he actually read the letter, but seems to be the way to get things done quickly with them.

Agree that their upper class is the best but after my flight at Christmas I'm done flying economy with them. Stories that I get from my sister about their cost cutting methods recently and the way they treat their staff raise a few question marks in my mind!

Good luck with your battle!
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Old Dec 3rd 2005, 9:38 pm
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Default Re: Beware Virgin Atlantic!!!

Originally Posted by Glasgowgirl
Just had a battle with Virgin myself, although not over anything as serious just a number of small things over the last few flights with them that added up to me being sick of them messing things up.

My sister is cabin crew with them and after my letter to customer services in Gatwick didn't really get me anywhere she looked into it for me and advised me to send a letter straight to Richard Branson's office at Gatwick. Did and within 4 days received an apology and enough free miles for a US-UK flight. Not that I think for a minute that he actually read the letter, but seems to be the way to get things done quickly with them.

Agree that their upper class is the best but after my flight at Christmas I'm done flying economy with them. Stories that I get from my sister about their cost cutting methods recently and the way they treat their staff raise a few question marks in my mind!

Good luck with your battle!
Thanks!!

What address did you use for the man himself please?
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Old Dec 3rd 2005, 9:55 pm
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Default Re: Beware Virgin Atlantic!!!

Originally Posted by doctor scrumpy
Same old story, why are they called Virgin when they are so screwed up ?

Travelled with them in 2002, would never travel again, I found their staff to be rude, my diabetic meals were non-existant despite asking for them when I booked and had them confirmed when I rang to check the flight was still on a few days before I travelled.

I would always fly BA, they were superb when I emigrated, before we left Heathrow they came up to me to confirm that my pooch was loaded on the plane, and the flight was a pleasure with them.
That's strange, I flew with BA once and vowed that I'd never fly with them again. I thought the "B.A" stood for "Bad Attitude" and have always flown with Virgin. Usually have cheaper tickets, light years better in flight entertainment and they keep you supplied with coke for the bottle of Whiskey you smuggle on board.

Also if you're dressed half smart and say the right thing getting upgraded is a piece of piss. Out of 5 US/UK return flights I've been upgraded three times, but then again, I am a bit of a silver tongued devil and not above flirting with the male check in staff (Hello Honky tonk) to get a better seat.

I found B.A trolley dolly's to have a snotty nosed attitude if you dared to ask for anything other than the in flight gruel. When I want to have some "tart with a cart" lording it over me and making me feel like a pain the the arse peasant, I'll fly B.A again.

Virgin flight crew, on the other hand, I found down to earth, easy going and nothing was too much trouble.

As for AA they can f**k off with their 4GBP for an in flight Whiskey, I'd rather swim.
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Old Dec 3rd 2005, 10:20 pm
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Default Re: Beware Virgin Atlantic!!!

Originally Posted by Russ&Jayne
Virgin though, they're the best to fly for US flights IMO, especially if you're sitting up front
FFS every one of the major airlines is better if your up front thats why its called first class Virgin are crap especially if you're over 2'10" I've never been so cramped in my life. As for AA we had a right snotty ponce looking at us like we were shit bothering the cheek of us. One airline that surprsed me was British Midland excellent value for money and you could actually eat the food
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Old Dec 3rd 2005, 11:01 pm
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Default Re: Beware Virgin Atlantic!!!

Originally Posted by Thydney
FFS every one of the major airlines is better if your up front thats why its called first class Virgin are crap especially if you're over 2'10" I've never been so cramped in my life. As for AA we had a right snotty ponce looking at us like we were shit bothering the cheek of us. One airline that surprsed me was British Midland excellent value for money and you could actually eat the food

I've flown all classes with Virgin and have no complaints... BA and US are different stories.

That said, now we live in Philly I haven't flown Virgin in just over a year - I'll be disappointed if cost cutting measures are cutting down on the service I love with them.
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