Virgin Atlantic

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Consumer Complaints and Reviews

on
Satisfaction Rating

I flew to London Heathrow. Unfortunately someone else picked up my bag. But, that person returned my bag to Virgin within a day and a half. Virgin completely failed to deliver my bag to me so that I was on vacation for 10 days without my suitcase!! The incompetence of unable to deliver my bag was unreal. The real horror of it all is they have denied any reimbursement for my 10 days without a bag. They claim that since someone else originally picked up my bag, it is not their fault.

What they fail to understand and this is where the absolute terrible lack of customer service, is that they held my bag for 8 days. Yes, I understand for those couple days when someone else takes my bag, they will not reimburse, BUT what about all those other 8 days!! Really? Unbelievable. Not only do I have clothes expenses but also cell phone charges because had to constantly keep it on hoping to get a good update from Virgin. I had to call them daily and incur international phone charges. They never called me. Not flying Virgin again.

on
Satisfaction Rating

My 16 y/o daughter was travelling this Wednesday June 8, 2016 to Ghana, West Africa as part of her school project. She left at 7:00 a.m. SF. The flight was suppose to JFK at 3:00 P.M. E.T. and the connecting flight was with Turkish Airline at 6:40 P.M. We had followed the itinerary that was suggested by the organizers. The flight arrived at 6:40 P.M. and my daughter informed the crew of the flight to contact Turkish Airline to inform them about the delay but they ignored her. We had made several calls to Virgin Airways asking them if they can make some arrangements since the next Turkish Airline is the same time next day.

I may add Turkish Airlines charged her additional $675.00 to rebook for the next day flight. Virgin Airways employees had lied to us on several occasions, suggesting the delay is for the reasons beyond our control. Initially, they had told us, the delay was due to weather. When we had told them that can't be the case, they change their position to be mechanical failure. That meant my daughter had to spend at Starbucks for 36 hours. This is the ultimate of any parent. The entire time we were treated like dirt. If you a person of color, stay away from Virgin Airways. Trust, we know what we are talking what.

on
Satisfaction Rating

After booking a flight from JFK to London Delta -- code shared with Virgin Atlantic, when it came time to check in, the website informed us that we could not check in using the Delta website but had to go to the airport to get our boarding pass. Having gotten used to the seamless, smooth and technologically up to date world of Delta, this is a throw-back to the dark ages of technology on Virgin. Travel is enough of an unpleasant experience that additional, unnecessary impediments are to be avoided. Last time we'll fly Delta to London on Virgin.

on
Satisfaction Rating

My bag didn't make it on my flight on Wednesday and it was known before the flight left Heathrow - however - I had to find out by scurrying around JFK to find out what was happening and thereafter followed a long list of false information, no information and misinformation, which resulted in me thinking the bag was about to be delivered any minute and therefore I didn't purchase stuff and get on with it. There is no ownership with any one person to help me get across this line. Virgin is treating me like no customer I have treated in my professional life and I think people should start to vote with their feet. They just don't care!

on
Satisfaction Rating

We have been trying to use our air miles at Virgin for an upgrade. All throughout Virgin site it boasts and brags about air miles and their use but when you try to use them it's a no. The site says you can get an upgrade subject to availability. In normal English one would understand that to mean that if seats are available then you could upgrade to one.They use this subject availability term all over the site - BUT tucked away in the small print it says that mileage seats availability is at the sole discretion of Virgin. In other words you do not get to upgrade unless we say so and that will usually be towards the fight date when we know we can't sell the seat. Frankly we the customers are being misled to believe we can use our air miles easily which is frankly wrong.

How many of us have not been able to use our air miles? On top of all this one must question the whole system of air miles. Presumably once the miles are issued they become a liability in the company accounts which means they reduce the company profit which means the airline pays less tax. Over the years this liability must get to a very high figure which will never in fact be expended because we can't get to use our miles in the first place because the airline stops us and controls that expenditure. In other words it is a massive tax saving to the airline. Perhaps the Government should investigate these schemes where we are it seems given a gift that cannot be used whilst they get tax saving on that same gift that will probably never be used. I have found that frankly I have been misled by the site and I am sure thousands more have too. The travel industry should investigate this too!

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on
Satisfaction Rating

My problem with Virgin was fairly trivial but it has revealed a couple of interesting points that might relate to some of the previous posts. I found that if you are booking flights with Virgin it can be a lot cheaper to make the booking through the Delta website. Apart from the fact that it's a much easier booking process, Delta don't add 1.5% credit card surcharge to everything and in some cases you'll find they are still selling off heavily discounted seats that Virgin themselves have sold out on. The difference can be pretty impressive.

I've just booked flights for a trip in March and the whole package (including Delta Comfort+ on three legs of the journey) was less than the quoted basic Virgin economy fare. Using the Delta booking I was then able to reserve an exit seat on the only Virgin flight for $65. The other bonus if it anything fouls up in the USA I'll be dealing the Delta agents not Virgin.

As for poor customer service? Sadly, that's just typical of all UK airlines. If it's any consolation BA are far worse. The airline attitude to passengers here is that they are simply 'walking cargo' and until that changes your experience flying on any UK-based airline is likely to be less than satisfactory. I've just flown on a BA transatlantic route that was so short-crewed. The passengers in the exit rows (I was in one) were told they were in charge of evacuation in an emergency - the crew jump seats by the exits weren't occupied.

on
Satisfaction Rating

We were travelling from South Africa via London to Miami. On arrival in Miami we were notified that our luggage has been left behind in London and we would receive in the next day or so. We were also advised to use 100 dollars per person to buy all essential things needed! Our luggage got delivered to the hotel where we staying in about 4 days later after our departure and were unfortunately not present when it got dropped off! Luggage was returned in an unacceptable state for an airline like Virgin. The bottom of the suitcase was destroyed .The wheels were torn off and the base was broken. The second item of luggage was a backpack. This was wet, as were the contents of the bag. The locks, inner lining and zips were all broken and there were items missing from the bag as well!

We contacted the baggage services with all necessary papers within the time frame but had maybe 2 replies and solution and that after over a year of the incident! My travel partner is travel agent as well and has never seen or heard of anything similar. Consequences are for myself that I can certainly not recommend an airline like the aforementioned and that I will never use them again!

on
Consumer Increased Rating!
2

After my previous posting, Delta gave me my SkyMiles benefits for the Virgin Atlantic portion of my trip: miles, medallion miles, and medallion dollars. Thank you, Delta!

I complained directly to Delta and got results, but I do not know if I ever would have seen those benefits without filing a complaint. My only complaint now is that Virgin Atlantic does not fully honor Delta's baggage policy when it comes to certain levels of SkyMiles membership (extra bag for Silver booking with Delta's AMEX card).

Jeanne of New York, NY on

Original Review

Virgin Atlantic did not honor Delta's baggage allotment and I received neither medallion qualification miles nor medallion qualification dollars for the Virgin Atlantic portion of my flight. The people at the Virgin Atlantic check-in/baggage check counter were not helpful at all! I later found out that the baggage rules were at the bottom of my six-page receipt. I could not choose my seat or check in through Delta's Website and also had to pay Virgin Atlantic to pre-book a window seat (bad hip - helps to lean against the wall). So far, I have not received any Delta medallion qualifying miles or dollars for the Virgin Atlantic leg of my trip. The next time I fly Delta, I will make sure not to book any portion of my trip on a Virgin Atlantic flight unless it is the only way to get me to or from where I have to travel on time.

on
Satisfaction Rating

Traveled twice on Virgin Atlantic from US to Scotland. Both times luggage was lost resulting in a HUGE inconvenience and disruption of our trip. The airline misrepresented multiple times as to when the luggage would be delivered. We were informed by the rental car company that this is an ongoing issue. I strongly recommend other airline choices unless you absolutely have to fly Virgin Atlantic.

on
Satisfaction Rating

Cairns, Australia - Virgin Australia. Slipped on wet mat going to plane. Lost my job which paid 127k a year, offered me 50k. Has been 3 years already. Have to go to court. That's a insult to my working life. No help from bhp and union. They say we don't try hard enough. This is why.

on
Satisfaction Rating

Spent over £1100 for a return flight to Vegas for a trip of a lifetime. Booked my window seat a week in advance as I suffer from claustrophobia & anxiety. When I got to the airport they decided to change my seat with no notice & sat me on a different row from my family. Then they wanted to put me on a later flight that was grounded from the previous day because of a dodgy wing. Their aircraft is very old & have not been updated for about 20 years! Staff were rude & refused to help. Had to endure 2 hours delay then 9 hours of hell on the plane. Complained when I got back. They tried to fob me off with some vouchers that I will never use! Lynda from customer relations phoned me, offered no solution then started shouting at me down the phone. When I asked for a copy of the call, it suddenly disappeared! Horrible, horrible company. They used to be so good. I've even met Richard Branson who was a lot more polite to me than his staff!

on
Satisfaction Rating

My daughter Tshiamo ** was flying with Virgin Atlantic from Johannesburg to Chicago Illinois O'Hare airport. She is 17yrs of age thus she was classified a minor in the airline. This way she was allocated a child minder from Johannesburg to Chicago. Coming back at O'Hare, they said USA cut off minor age is 16 thus she will travel alone from O'Hare to London. I expected her to have a minder from Heathrow to Johannesburg but that was not the case. When she landed at OR, Tambo, she discovered that her luggage bag is been ripped off, the inside and outside zip has been broken and the lock is in situ still locked. The case had an orange Virgin Atlantic tape around it written" checked baggage" and the case is inserted in a plastic bag.

This is disturbing because if there was anything the airline was querying or suspicious about, I feel she should have been there when her bag gets ransacked and her clothing items being roughly shoved into the bag as anything which she did not pack could have landed in that bag e.g. drugs or any illegal stuff and she gets implicated in something she did not do/know. Her shopping she did at Chicago is not in the bag. When we get to open and check the bag on arrival at home, a pair of her shoes is missing and she got 1 shoe from the other pair.

I'm disappointed by this and will think twice to fly Virgin Atlantic again or refer anybody to fly with your airline. My daughter was so excited and looking forward to this trip. Going, she was fine and happy and the care she got from the crew who flew out of SA with her was amazing but after leaving Chicago, she was not impressed. I've lodged a complaint with the customer relation and got automated message that someone will get back to me in 14 days. I haven't heard anything from anybody up to date 16 days down the line.

on
Satisfaction Rating

Virgin Atlantic and Delta check in in London Heathrow was chaotic. Before get in line to the check in counter, passengers have to get through security check in. However, the check in stand is set up in a way travelers can easily miss it. No one will stop you when you pass through the security check in. You only find out after you wait a long time and get to the counter. Now you have to go back to the security check in. And they ask silly questions like what do you do? Where do you live? Describe your neighbourhood. Where are places to go in your neighbourhood? After going through this, you have to go back in line to check in - yes, they want you to wait from the beginning again. After that the check in counter tells you that you have to check in from the machine first. Then you back to a machine, check in and get in line again! Very poor management.

on
Satisfaction Rating

Horrible Customer Service! The airline damaged my 1 year old son's stroller on my way to a vacation destination. At the airport they assured me that the issue will be resolved as soon as possible. However, it has been 3 months already and I am still waiting for a refund. Throughout this time, I emailed multiple times and I get a response each time after 2 weeks. I am very disappointed at how they handled this issue especially that it is their crew who mishandled and damaged my stroller. This is just beyond outrageous. No explanation, no keeping me in the loop of what is happening, 3 months has gone by and I have no money and no stroller.

on
Satisfaction Rating

I try to figure out why I can't print my boarding pass on my second leg of my flight with British Airway. I called customer service and was camp on some noise elevator music for about two hours. I don't know if Sir Richard Branson ever listen to your own on call music. It sound so distorted that nothing can be understood. Lousy message plug British accent make the message impossible to understand. Richard, try dialing into your own customer service and find out what a screw up operation you have. Sadly it was great 20 years ago when we tried it but it has evolved into some of the worst experience I had. Thanks a lot to Sir Richard Branson.

on
Satisfaction Rating

I have two complaints, but will list them separately... On a transatlantic flight, Virgin's baggage handlers broke our stroller by bending the frame on the right rear wheel so stroller can't be pushed straight or without enormous effort now. They also lost our cup holder attachment and a bag that went around the handles for storage. I made the claim at the baggage desk with a person named Gerald and he said to call back in 7-14 days to see about the status, but usually 'they just say to purchase a new one and submit the receipt.' I waited about 10 days and called the 800 number he provided me with.

The person I spoke to, named Ian, told me that a claim was never made and that they only allow claims made within 7 days. I DID make a claim, or I thought I had, as that was what the person at the airport told me. I'm now having to submit the claim by email (hoping I still held on to my ticket and luggage tag, which they require as additional proof) along with the receipt for my purchase and an estimate for replacement. Ian (who claimed to be the only manager available at the time of the call) was defiant that they only accept claims sent within 7 days but I could try to email their baggage claim team anyway and they would investigate it.

I am so livid with this, given all that we spent to fly premium economy so our child could meet his British relatives, to have his stroller and my trust in Virgin completely ruined. I doubt I will hear back from anyone at Virgin but I wanted to put it out there as I hope no one else has to suffer like I did. And last but not least, I would have forgotten all this and put it behind me if I had our claim handled as I was lead to believe it was, and we had our new stroller in hand.

on
Satisfaction Rating

Flying from Heathrow to Delhi on 15th of June 2015. On Virgin Atlantic VS300, we waited for a good two hours where they first said the flight got delayed and then they said it’s cancelled. We were patient and alright, in the Virgin Atlantic lounge they were all very sweet and apologetic but once we got out of there we were just being passed on. Business class passengers were given no priority. I'm sorry but we do pay a hell of a lot for your tickets. We had to wait for the coaches to arrive to take us to the Hilton hotel in terminal 5. We had to carry our own luggage. It was 1 at night we all were tired and I'm sure your ground staff was not expecting this either but some priority or consideration should have been given.

On reaching the hotel there was no one from the Virgin Atlantic staff to help us. We had no water or food as some of us were really hungry and thirsty. I had to pay 4 pounds for a small bottle of water at the Hilton hotel. There was no one and I repeat NO ONE to help us with our luggage, leave the younger generation the older generation who were anyway so worried were taking their bags off the bus on their own until some of us helped them. A family did not get a room until my father went and gave them our room as we had taken two and ended staying in one. Night ended at 3:30, after being at the airport for hours.

Some of the passengers flew to Delhi in the morning on British airways, while some of us are flying the night Virgin flight same time as the cancelled one. So we woke up in the morning and were asked to check out... hello?!! Our flight is at 10 PM we don't want to sit at the airport from noon! On calling the Virgin services from the hotel they said we can pay for the stay and they will reimburse it but it's a long procedure... I'm sorry Richard firstly I don't want to pay for my day stay and secondly I don't want to go through the process of reimbursement. I have been travelling Virgin Atlantic since the past 4 years and it's been very good and I thoroughly enjoy my time on the flight, but this was really not expected the way we were treated was absolutely upsetting. There was no care given to any of the passengers from first class, premium economy or economy.

Priority should have been given to the older generation and the first class passengers as we are paying you a lot for this, for when a flight is cancelled how it should be your responsibility to take care of us in a better manner, how our luggage should be taken care of, how there should have been assistance given to the elderly. I really feel as my money has gone to waste. I understand it was last minute and was chaos for everyone, thanks for the place to stay but I've really been disappointed and Mr. Richard Branson you really need to fix a plan on what to do when a flight is cancelled. Really really was a bad experience for all of us travelling to Delhi on VS300 as we were not looked after at all and were left in the lurch.

on
Satisfaction Rating

I will post the full analogy after I get some rest, I've been standing for 3 hours, a Service Manager telling me I will not be booked onto my flight and I will have to just make a plan till Monday when offices open. I feel like a criminal, but I've never committed one before. I have followed Richard Branson's ideology and loved his work, but I will not be associated with this flight again, or recommend anyone I consider a friend or family ever again. It's for this reason that I haven't shared my real name here, but I will be vocal in sharing this message. I feel humiliated and incriminated, and I will make sure this experience is shared on all my social boundaries. **, thank you. I'd rather be another airline's customer.

on
Satisfaction Rating

My daughter just got out of the military in January. She wanted to take me on a trip of a lifetime to London for many reasons. I recently became a widow very unexpectedly and I also have MS are among the biggest reasons. We had so much time to make up for and we know how precious that time with the loss of my husband, her father. We also the lost my mother in law, father in law and my father all within 18 months. I have had nothing but a run of bad luck ever since. People tell me what a strong person I am getting through. I got my Visa and we decided to book on Virgin which seemed like the way to go. Seemed classier than the rest. Because of my health we wanted to make sure our seats were together.

Get this. After you book the flight then you find out you can't pick your seats! If you wanted a guaranteed seating together it will cost $40 for each, each way. In other words $160. Should have known then this was a bad way to go. They make it sound so good that all of your food and beverages are included. My daughter just wanted to get me away from it all and enjoy time together. We had so much time to make up for. Well, our flight out of CLE was delayed three times and we called Virgin's customer service line, which takes forever to get through. The lady seemed very helpful at the time. She said if we missed our flight they would reschedule us. That's all she said.

We landed in Boston at 9:41 pm. Our London flight was leaving at 9:50 pm. By the time we got from Concourse B to E, there was no one at the Virgin counters. We continued to the game anyway. No one there to assist. All went home right away. We were stuck overnight in Boston. Called Virgin first thing in the morning. Found out that they could rebook us on the same flight that evening for $1500.00 more!!! Well, we showed up at the ticket counter that evening and explained we should have a booking, then only to find out they lied again and it will cost $3000.00 - Yes, $1500.00 EACH! We were crushed, no exceptions of any kind. We even asked then for a refund. They said they could try but do not know if it would go through. This is robbery in every sense of the word. Even a military person who has served this country.

We never went to London, lost out on our hotel $$, Convention ticket money. Lost a lot of money on this dream vacation of a lifetime. If you have two empty seats from one night that were paid for but were able to get them on the next night's flight, I do not see how they think they lost money. And I would be they probably filled up those two seats the first night. We paid $1640 together for our tickets. Now you are charging up Upper Class prices for economy seats. Are you crazy??? Went from "We can reschedule you" --- to "It will be 1500.000" -- to "It will be $3000.00."

Never ever again and never will recommend Virgin to anyone. Was so looking forward to their top of the line treatment in any class flown. There was a British Airways flight leaving at 10:30 pm that first night and gentleman at the boarding desk was so much nicer to us when we stopped to ask him a question. We so wish we went with them and we would have been on our way to London. I am more devastated for my daughter and her dream of taking her mom on a trip of her lifetime. If only Sir Richard Branson knew how his employees are representing him. I can't believe he would put up with it. More bad unsettling reviews will hurt his business eventually. London will always be there. Don't know if we will ever get another opportunity to plan a trip like this. If we can, I don't want to be going in a wheelchair. Sadly disappointed.

on
Satisfaction Rating

I didn't think it was possible to get worse customer service than Ryanair, but Virgin Atlantic have gone and done it. This is the absolute worst customer service experience I have ever received. After changing my flight by 3 hrs 10 mins and changing my elderly mother to a different flight from the rest of our family, I have been told that they will do nothing to help us and we have no choice but to accept the changes as they are under 5 hours. I have read and re-read the COCs, and article 9.1.3 states that if a significant change is by the airline, they will change us to a flight convenient for us or a full refund. However Virgin customer services seem not to deem 3 hours 10 mins significant enough, even though it means I will get in too late for a meeting I can't change and mess up the rest of our travel plans, as well as my elderly mother now has to fly alone and get in 4 hrs before us on a Delta flight.

On top of that, as if that isn't enough, I have been on the phone to their so-called "customer services" for 2 days straight. I have been referred to other depts and agents, been quoted misinformation and irrelevant information, I have been hung up on 3 times, been told that I cannot speak to a manager by two separate agents (apparently managers don't want to deal with complaints from customers at Virgin) and been lied to by Virgin representatives. I was also told by one of their agents that they only have a fleet of 40 aircrafts as opposed to BA who have a fleet of 400 and I should have flown BA. Strange thing for a customer service agent to say to a client.

I thought Virgin was an airline which prided itself on its customer service and experience but I have to say this is the worst I have ever been treated by any company. I travel a lot as I am in the process of moving my family to LA and I will certainly never be flying this joke airline again! I am truly disgusted at how they think they can get away with treating customers and how they feel they can manipulate the rules to suit themselves. Their COCs seem to be all about how they deem changes to affect customers not the inconsiderations and problems they cause the customer!

on
Consumer Increased Rating!
2
Although Virgin Atlantic refused to deal with my complaint i have since taken the individual to County Court and won a judgment against her. It was worth every penny to wipe that smug look off of her face.

Thank you Virgin for your great customer service, NOT.

Paul of Lancing, Other on

Original Review

In June 2014 I arrived at Gatwick Airport to board a flight to Las Vegas. On arrival at check in there was no record of my booking and after lengthy discussions and record searching, it transpired that I had become a victim of a scam by a member of Virgin Atlantic Cabin Crew. After supplying Virgin Atlantic with all the documentation etc, they refused to accept any responsibility for their employee's action and would not reimburse me for monies lost. The employee was disciplined and later sacked but still they refused my claim. As soon as they realised I had a valid claim against them, they closed ranks and refused to deal with me. They harp on about their excellent customer service but believe you me, if there is any possibility of discrediting their "Wonderful" image, they try to use their legal might to shut you up.

on
Satisfaction Rating

I was traveling with my wife from Mumbai to SFO. On my ticket it was mentioned that Virgin allows only 1 bags per passenger. So total 2 bags. So I purchased 2 extra bags luggage online. On Mumbai airport, I was told, there are 2 free bags for each passenger for flight that starts from Mumbai.. So I was told, i can get refund for the the extra baggage money. But now Virgin Atlantic is denying to refund my money. I think it's unfair on Virgin behalf, to deny money in this case. I also checked with virgin Atlantic counter on London airport. They also said, file for refund and you will get your money back.

Also on Mumbai airport, they asked us to pack our laptop bags - pack in any of 4 check-in bags only. They said, they won't allow free bag-packs. so last moment, me and my wife had to adjust our bag-pack stuff in check-in bags. Had they not told us about refund, I could have kept my bag-packs and would have checked in as separate bags because I had already paid for my bags. But instead, Virgin people asked me to pack everything in 4 free check-in bags and file for refund.

on
Satisfaction Rating

In June I flew to London thru Vancouver, BC on Virgin Atlantic. When I arrived my luggage was not there and I left for Cambridge that day with no luggage after filing a lost luggage report. For the next two days I called repeatedly to see if they had found my bag. They never called me and each time I waited at least 20 minutes before getting through. They kept telling me "they were chasing it" but never could give me anything substantial that they were doing to help me. In the meantime I was supposed to be vacationing but spent most of my time trying to get a contact prescription from the states, phone recharger, underwear, something to wear other than the clothes I had traveled in, toiletries - always being assured that they would reimburse me for these needed items.

Two days later, I was so frustrated that I called the Vancouver airport myself and found someone in "Lost and Found", who took pity on me when I explained my situation and found a baggage handler who worked for the airport. He took my cell number and called me back the next day to tell me he had found my bag in the Virgin Atlantic baggage room. My bag had been sitting there for three days! The baggage handler had it put on the next flight to Heathrow and four days after I flew to London, I received my bag with the handle broken.

I saved my receipts to be reimbursed and was just sent an email that they will not be reimbursing me because they were received past their deadline. I travel a lot and this is the worst airline experience I have ever had. I will never fly with Virgin Atlantic again.

on
Satisfaction Rating

I Decided to fly Virgin Upper Class between the UK and Antigua, because BA no longer have a first class cabin on that route and Virgin Upper Class used to be so much better than BA Club. Big, Big mistake! Virgin now have a new Upper Class cabin on their Airbus A330 planes, that is replacing their 747s. The seats are much shorter, much narrower, and taper to a point at the feet end. It might be 6' long for a broomstick, but not for a human being. It was impossible to get comfortable, and because they were determined to cram in as many seats as possible, the aisles are really narrow too. So you get bumped into all night by anyone walking up or down the cabin. The food was poor and the quality of wine even worse. Cheap screw-top plonk costing under $10 a bottle that bore no resemblance to the fine wine they advertise. It's back to BA for me, and will never use Virgin again if I have the choice.

on
Satisfaction Rating

After my luggage got delayed, following the instructions on the website, I submitted a claim for compensation for the essential items I had to purchase. On the website, they mention that reimbursement could take up to 28 days; however, my first contact was on Aug 30th, and after almost 2 months and a total of 5 contacts, I still have received NO RESPONSE from the company. Could that be because I'm Brazilian and they are not really concerned with international customers, simply because it is harder to complain against the company, or take any legal action? Or could it be simply because the Virgin Atlantic Corporate does not care about its customers? Sad to say that it was the last time I flew with Virgin. Such disrespectful company is not worth my money or my trust!

on
Satisfaction Rating

Our son was held up by immigration and managed to get to the departure gates just as they closed at JFK Airport NY. He pleaded with the woman to let him through as he needed to get on the plane. She laughed and said, "Tough luck. You want to get on a plane, go over there and pay for another ticket." He said he had no money. She laughed at him again and said, "What do you want us to do about it?" He said, "Look, all I've is my phone, the clothes I stood up in & my passport and no money. My luggage is on that flight." She grabbed his ticket, ripped it up in his face and told him to ** off out the airport or she'd have him arrested for vagrancy.

Our son then in the middle of the night was walking the streets of NY & even slept in Central Park. Anything could have happened to him. We didn't hear from him. When we found out from Virgin he wasn't on the flight, we were worried sick. We were phoning NY Police, our home office, foreign office, you name it, we phoned it. Finally, we got a phone call from him at the British Consulate and we then managed to arrange ANOTHER flight, also send him some money via Western Union so he could eat and drink.

I've complained to Virgin and all they could offer was some air miles which I've told them I'm not interested and it's an insult to our son and ourselves. Also there would be an internal matter into the woman who swore and threatened him which we would not know the results of. In other words, they were not going to pursue the matter. I thought British Airways was bad but with the experience we've had with Virgin, if we ever fly again it certainly won't be with Virgin Airways. Rude, arrogant, ignorant and totally unhelpful.

on
Satisfaction Rating

I booked my car hire through Virgin Atlantic for our recent trip to Orlando. I paid for the biggest car, a minivan, and ALL the insurances with Virgin because when you get to Orlando they try to make you take an upgrade in car and insurance. You can't get any bigger than a 7-seater minivan for 4 people, so I was quite happy I would have no problems getting the van. I didn't have any problems getting the van at all. I just had to give my card details for the fuel. I was told everything was paid for (as I knew) and “You have the biggest car. Just go and pick it up. It is a Sienna and get any colour you want.” The man then told the lad taking our luggage to show us where the Siennas were. I was at the desk less than 2 minutes.

I was glad I had paid beforehand. I checked the printout he gave me and found there was a total of $326.12 on it including fuel. I went back and queried this and he said it was just the printout of what I had already paid in total including the fuel. I asked again not feeling comfortable but I was assured Virgin had paid everything except the fuel. After a great holiday, I returned the car and was given a printout receipt for $326.12. I asked the girl what it was for as I had already paid and was told it was just a copy of what I had received at the desk. I said, “You had better not have charged me again.” And she said it was just the receipt, what she had to give me as proof of my returning the car. I wasn't very sure and asked a couple of the people working there. I was assured everything was in order.

Two days after returning home, I checked my account and lo and behold I have been charged again. I have spent the last day and a half contacting Virgin, being passed from one to another and then today I finally got a gentleman to at least check my reference and stating, "Yes, you have been charged twice and you should not have been charged twice. Please hold while I make a check." Needless to say, after waiting for 2-3 minutes, the phone went dead! I tried again and got in touch with a lady who said, "It is nothing to do with Virgin!" After I argued that Virgin were the agents as I had booked with them, she told me to call customer complaint and gave me the number. It was closed until Monday. She hadn't mentioned this. How maddening to try and deal with people after you have paid. At the moment I am a very dissatisfied customer with Virgin.

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It was my first time flying with Virgin and it just might be my last. I was supposed to attend my best friend's wedding in Las Vegas that Friday night. I was told that Virgin was a reliable and up to date airline, and to my surprise, because of your unprofessionalism, not only did I miss my best friend's wedding, I was also threatened by your staff.

I showed up several hours in advance for my flight and was told that the flight was delayed. The staff blatantly lied and said that the delay was due to weather issues, but after checking, I found out that they were the only one experiencing difficulties and delays - all other airlines were on time. Your staff ended up admitting that you had a shortage on crew. So there we stood; hungry, tired, and late, after waiting for many hours. I told the staff that I had my best friend's wedding to go to, and asked if there was any way that I could pay more to go with another airplane or another flight. Her response was "Doctor, don't worry about the wedding. You will be there for the after party!" Can you believe this level of unprofessionalism and disrespect? I not only missed my friend's wedding, but I also lost my prepaid transportation to the hotel and had an overall horrible experience, which, thankfully, was all recorded on video and audio.

Instead of arriving at 7:50, I got to my hotel at 1:00 AM! I missed my friend's wedding, paid $80 for a taxi cab, paid for a hotel room that I barely used, and had an overall horrible experience initiated by Virgin Airlines' horrible service. Your staff then had the audacity to apologize and say that they could give me a $50 voucher if I wanted. Do you think that type of unprofessionalism and disrespect can be resolved with a $50 voucher? Is that the way Virgin Atlantic treated its clients? I anticipate your response and some justification for this horrible experience.

This was the response signed by Paul from Virgin America Guest Relations:

"We are truly sorry for any inconvenience caused by the continued delays you experienced when traveling through San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Unfortunately SFO experiences more delays than the average airport due to low ceilings from that famous San Francisco fog. Also, the shorter runways located right next to the water, combined with the fact that there are only two runways operating at SFO, make for difficult landings/takeoffs in adverse conditions. Again we apologize for any inconvenience this caused you."

There were no refunds, no vouchers, no nothing! They're just a poor excuse for an airline!

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I have been a loyal customer of VA for the past 15 years, recruiting fellow family & friends to fly with the best airline who knows how to treat customers. A few days ago, I was massively let down by Virgin staff. Their sheer rudeness left me angered and frustrated. I had been lied to by one of their agents in their Swansea call centre, and when I called back to rectify an issue with my account, I was told my account is fine. Getting absolutely nowhere on the phone - I spent a further 45 minutes and was still making no progress. I asked if I could speak to a supervisor. I was on hold for a further 15 odd minutes listening to hold music.

When she finally came on the phone, her tone of voice was like a bull in a china shop! She didn't want to hear my complaint and continued to talk over me! Much to my frustration, I said, "This is a joke! You won't even hear what I have to say." To my surprise, she said, "Right, if you are going to call me a joke, then I don't want to continue this conversation." Please! What conversation - a conversation is meant to be when people are actively listening to one another. It was clear to me that she had no time for me. I question how did this lady become a supervisor? Also, she lied to me; she assured me someone would call me back by a certain time and they didn't. Even more upsetting, she encouraged me to speak to the agent who messed up my booking in the first place.

I flatly told her that I did not want to speak to him. Well, this is where it got even more frustrating. I got a callback from the guy who made the error (the one I clearly didn't want to speak to). He was absolutely awful - spoke in such a rude manner that I eventually had to disconnect the call as I was so livid about his behavior. Having already wasted almost 2 hours, I continued my quest to rectify my account. As soon as I spoke to another agent, I asked them straight away that I'd like to speak to a supervisor. Sadly, it took a further hour to finally speak to one after going through the scratched record process of explaining my issues - being told I can call back in a few days, my account is correct, blah, blah, blah.

Then I spoke to a supervisor/manager, who finally listened carefully to my complaint. Some of my faith had been restored in Virgin. However, sourness remained at how those two people from the Swansea call centre had spoken to me. I am pleased to say after approximately 3.5 hours of being on the phone in total to Virgin with a croaky voice and a empty tum, finally they corrected my account. I will continue to follow up on my complaint directly with Virgin, as I do not want other customers to experience what I did. Virgin needs to remember that we as customers choose whom we wish to travel with - and especially those loyal customers who choose to fly with you often should be given the customer service we deserve.

Sadly, I was let down by your company. Virgin needs to actively listen to all their customers' complaints and deal with them in an effective and courteous manner. What I see in this forum is not comforting.Please, please, please. Can you sort this out and ultimately respect all customers from booking to check-in to after sales care and in flight. Else, sadly, you will be viewed as one of the worst airlines out there. Do you really want that reputation? You should treat all your customers - regardless of age, race, class of travel, etc. - with exceptional customer service.

I await my official response from Virgin. I recently followed up my complaint with customer relations, and so far, I must say additional faith in Virgin has gone up another notch. But again sadly, it should never have needed to speak to this department. Apparently, there's an approximate time they will deal with your complaint - I believe it's anything from 4 to 8 weeks. Again, this is quite alarming. Are there that many complaints to deal with? Virgin, please can you restore my faith in you by 100 percent? I look forward to your official response. Lastly Virgin, I would recommend that you record every single call between customers and your staff. Sadly, your Swansea call centre calls are not recorded. Therefore, your staff are clearly aware of this and are given free range to speak however they wish to speak - without consequences! Had my calls been recorded, these would be excellent customer training material - lesson 101 "This is how not to speak to customers!"

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Denied boarding & canceled return causing us to purchase tickets: I am contacting you about trouble with our outbound flight to London on August 25, 2012. I had to drive from Sacramento to SF and left my home at 11:30 am for the 4:30 pm flight. There was a 49ers game that day and I spent a lot of time just sitting on the freeway. My son and I arrived at the downstairs gate (which still had the open sign on) at 3:34 pm. They said that we were too late for the flight. Upstairs at the boarding gate meanwhile, they were making announcements at 4:05 pm that we could still make the flight if we were in the building, but your downstairs staff still would not let us go to the gate even though we had checked in on-line! The downstairs staff then put us on the waiting list for the same flight for the next day.

I contacted Virgin on 8/25/12 to discuss what had just happened, only to be told that our return ticket was also cancelled even though we were supposed to fly out the very next day! I had hotels booked and rail service already paid for, so changing the dates of the trip was not an option. I purchased two round-trip tickets with KLM that were cheaper than VA and we left the next day at 2 pm.

I want a refund on the $2808.40 that I paid for the Virgin Atlantic flights that you cancelled due to your staff not allowing us to get to the gate. Your upstairs staff said making the flight was no problem if we were in the building, and we were there at 3:34 pm. I was left with no choice but to buy an additional trip after learning my return tickets were cancelled. A refund should be paid given that VA sold the same seats twice. Can this be legal?

Expert Review

Erika ArmstrongAirlines Contributing Editor

From the front desk of a busy FBO to the captain's seat of a commercial airliner, Erika Armstrong has experienced everything aviation has to offer. She is the author of A CHICK IN THE COCKPIT and her aviation articles can be found at Consumer Affairs, Plane & Pilot, Flying.com, Disciples of Flight, NYC Aviation, Contrails, Mentor, General Aviation News and Business Insider.    More about Erika→

Founded in 1984 by Richard Branson, the owner of legendary record label Virgin Records, this airline started with a single plane. More than three decades later, Virgin Atlantic is now the second-largest long-haul airline in the UK.

  • Comfortable business class: The award-winning business class seats in the Upper Class Suite turn into the longest and most comfortable flat bed in the category.
  • Eco-conscious: Virgin Atlantic recently retooled their fleet with the addition of 15 new planes that use 27 percent less fuel per passenger.
  • Travel worldwide: Virgin Atlantic offers flights to more than 200 destinations around the globe.
  • Free baggage allowance: Depending on the type of ticket, passengers on Virgin Atlantic can check up to two suitcases at no additional charge.
  • Free cancellation: Last-minute flights, anything booked within seven days of the travel date, come with a 24-hour cancellation window for a full refund.
  • Best for Business travelers, holiday travelers and vacationers who have international destinations and long-haul flights.

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Virgin Atlantic Company Profile

Company Name:
Virgin Atlantic
Year Founded:
1984
Address:
75 North Water St.
City:
Norwalk
State/Province:
CT
Postal Code:
06854
Country:
United States
Website:
http://www.virgin-atlantic.com/