Virgin makes me Blue

Friday, 14 August 2009

Imagine this.

You've just spent 9 days touring Tassie. You're tired, the kids are tired, you've gulped down breakfast, you've dropped off the hire car. Your luggage is jammed full and your handbag has so much paperwork from all the meticulous planning you've done for the trip, you could open a papershop. Not only is there planning material, but there's reams of papergoods you've amassed along the way - tickets, receipts, postcards, maps, brochures - you get the picture.

You get to the airport for that all-relieving 09:05 flight home only to be told you've missed your flight. You were booked on the 06:30 flight.

Not on my watch.

We've done masses of travelling and I think our kids have flown at an ungodly hour TWICE - once through the night from Aus to Malaysia and one through the night from San Francisco, and only because we had NO OTHER CHOICE.

I absolutely refuse to add to the stresses, strain and drama of travelling with kids by booking ungodly flying hours if I ever can help it. That's right, I'm just not that stupid. A 09:05 flight suited us just fine and that is the time I originally booked. Home by lunchtime, with an afternoon of unpacking and washing. Perfect.

You can imagine my horror and confusion, then, when told by Virgin Blue that we would have to buy four new seats at full price - $1,600+.

What the?

You see, I didn't have a print out of my itinerary to prove we had NOT been booked on the 06:30 flight. Yes, it's stupid of me, but there are reasons:

a) Virgin failed to send me an itinerary by email; they also failed to do this when I booked a trip in May
b) I failed to call them (as I did the last time we flew) to get an itinerary sent because I was so busy (and should not have had to anyway!)
c) the last time we flew with Virgin, all they said was 'name please' when we checked in, and asked for NOTHING else, not even ID; I therefore got a little slack in terms of providing them with paperwork
d) I did have a print out from the computer screen I had copied and pasted to a Word document, but in all the papery confusion, I had lost it. Typical.

So, Virgin put us through half an hour of hell - with us scrabbling to 'prove' we had indeed booked the 09:05 flight - before finally agreeing to put us on the flight [we had been originally booked on], gratis. Thank God for these lovely customer service officers at Launceston.

When we got home to Canberra, I logged on to the Virgin website and put in my booking reference number. Sure enough, my itinerary came up with the original 09:05 flight. I rang Launceston to confirm this. The guy on the end of the phone looked at our booking and said that Virgin had indeed made a change to the flight, but it was not indicated why - probably for scheduling reasons, he said.

What? Scheduling mental pain and anguish for its customers?

I sent a letter advising Virgin of everything that happened and today received a phone call from a "customer service" officer who proceeded to waste 10 minutes of my life by patronising me and calling on me to show proof we had booked the 09:05 flight. By the time I got off the phone with her, I was purple.

This woman single handedly made this entire drama even worse. The ineptitude with which she handled it was akin to the ineptitude behind this whole debacle in the first place.

So, I am warning you. If you book a flight with Virgin Blue, make sure you get your itinerary and make sure you move heaven and earth to get to a computer (yes, even if you are travelling and don't have access to one) to receive your "day-before-travel flight reminder" email, with flights that may or may not be changed on you for no reason.

In the meantime, I am secure in the knowledge that although I may not be a genius, I'm certainly smart enough to remember what time I book my own family's flights. And yes, I'm so angry, I almost swore in this paragraph, so insert a curse where you will - somewhere between family's and flights would be good.

Honestly, what kind of loser would 'pretend' they'd booked on another flight if they missed their original one? According to Virgin... plenty of losers.

Thanks, losers, for spoiling it for the rest of us Honest-ers.

Qantas, here we come.

4 comments:

stepforddreams said...

And this, my friend is but ONE of the many reasons I NEVER fly Virgin Blue. Ever.

smileybella said...

HOORAY! I'm not alone!!!

Anonymous said...

We have flown with virgin 4 or 5 times in the last few years and they have changed our flights at the last moment every time. The last time we got a phone call at home at 6:30am, the virgin blue lady was very chirpy - are you all packed and ready she said, yes ready for our 7:30 flight we answered, no your not she replys (still very chirpy) thats been cancelled your on the 10:30 now - sorry bye. We thought it was a joke so rang back but sure enough we were on the 10:30 no joke. Lots of re organising and frantic phone calls to the people picking us up at the other end. Yes we are done to, no more virgin blue!!!!!!!!!!
Kelly

perempuan said...

Hmmmmmm..... yes. This brings back memory.
At the end of last month I was stranded at Hobart Airport with two babies, because the Virgin Blue plane was delayed for four hours. Try telling that to an overtired 2 year old and a cranky 5 month old and a super tired and annoyed Mum. Oh no. Not wise. Wasn't happy at all.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...