I have only recently tried Virgin Blue, the airline started by Richard Branson started in Australia five years ago, having switched from Qantas. Last week I had my first bad experience. Having used their web check in service I boarded and settled into 2C on a flight from Adelaide to Melbourne. One of the last passengers to board also had been allocated seat 2C. The Virgin Blue person rudely told me that since my seat was a web check in seat it would be wrong. Sure enough, I was forced to pack up and move to 10A (I hate window seats). This was handled poorly by the Virgin Blue person with no acceptance that my seat had been allocated 24 hours earlier using their system. Then, before take off, they offered me row 12, an exit row.
Unhappy, I used their website to make a complaint. In the complaint I provided specific details. I’d like to publish their response but the disclaimer on the email does not afford me that right. Suffice to say that Christa Wyder, Guest Relations Coordinator at Virgin Blue Airlines sent me an off the shelf response which did not address my specific concern. It only served to increase my frustration with their poor customer service.
Sure they have attractive employees. Based on my experience, this attractive exterior is where good customer service ends.
My complaint raised valid questions which they have not even attempted to answer. Christa’s email also reminded me that they are a “relatively young airline”. Nonsense. They’re five years old. They actively promote web check-in. My experience is that web check-in is flawed and their employees rank it below an airport check-in.
The test of any company is how they respond to a complaint. Anyone can choose an off the shelf letter number to be sent in response. It takes commitment to customer service to engage with a customer and actually respond to their complaint.