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Is good customer service only skin deep at Virgin Blue

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.


  1. Virgin Blue stay away from those bastards

    I had a misfortune to organize a flight from Brisbane to Melbourne with them on 31.03.08 .

    Due to problems , of not my fault , I had with getting to airport I managed to arrive still within reasonable limit to board the plane .
    When I got to the Virgin Blue counter it was 4.53 am ( 27 min to the flight ) . The girl tried to book me in but the system did not let her do it .
    She asked me to go to the “ service centre “ next to counters and this is where trouble continued .
    I asked the person ( later I found out that his name is “ LEE HADEN “ ) “ can you get me on this plane , I do not have check in luggage so I can go straight to the cabin “ – without even pretending of making any effort he said “ you pay $50 and you will go on the next plane “ . Since I had to attend urgent matters in Melbourne – I said “ can you just try to put me on this one , still over 20 min to the departure “
    I was surprised ( to say the least when in an aggressive and arrogant tone he replied “ pay $50 or you will not travel at all “ .You do not expect such attitude here in Australia from the company which claims to be “ reputable “ .
    I said “ why don’t you try to help me “ .- and that moron feeling the power he possessed at that moment said “ OK , YOU WILL NOT TRAVEL AT ALL “ .
    I asked “ Who do you think you are ? “ and when he replied with his own question “ Who are you ?” I told him – “ I am the customer of your company and it is your job to help me “ .
    Few word exchanges followed and he was absolutely determined that he will not let me to change the ticket to the next flight .
    Since I had to go to Melbourne as soon as possible without having time to ring the travel agency , etc – the only thing I could do was to go to Qantas and buy ticket from them . So I paid $ 261 and had a flight at 6am .

    I wonder who was stupid enough to employ such creature in “ service department “ or may be this is the unofficial policy of Virgin Blue to treat customers with contempt and that parasite was doing good job .
    I got the message and I do not intend to use them again and so all my friends , neighbours , acquittances , people I know and I do not know .

    Peter M .

  2. As a regular Virgin blue traveller I was extremely disappointed on Sunday morning with their usual fantastic customer service. I was 1 MINUTE late for check in and heard the announcement that my flight had ‘commenced boarding’ when I was told rudely by the gate keeper at the aisle entry that my flight was closed and to go immediately to the service desk to pay the difference of the flight etc. When I approached the service counter they asked that I pay a fee of $50 for my flight change from 6:30 am Sunday 18th May to 7:45am same day, and the reason they could not let me on was your ‘paper work takes 15 minutes to process before they can let me on the flight’. In the meantime however they had taken 15 minutes to explain this to me, even though they understood this was an emergency. I agreed to pay this ridiculous amount, although was extremely furious in doing so and proceeded to line up to check my bag in. The payment had not gone through due to your credit card system being down, which again took another 15 minutes and the nerve of your staff to ask me to pay with cash or Eftpos- money I had budgeted to travel with!
    The most interesting point I wish to make is that your staff were prepared to wait 15 minutes for my card payment to be processed but could NOT process paperwork in order for me to board my flight on time –let me stress again that I was 1 minute late!!

    I had to be in Adelaide at that time to see my sister off to the UK who will be going there to live for 2 years if not longer, we are extremely saddened by this incident.
    I will not be travelling virgin blue again, and neither will my family and as you know word of mouth can do a lot of damage.

    We are all extremely upset particularly as your entire marketing campaign headed by Richard branson is about fun and friendly staff at virgin blue and that was not the greeting I received on Sunday 18th May.

  3. I had the same experience. I was a couple of minutes late because of traffic and had only carry on luggage. They told me to go to the service desk and pay up where I found the line to be longer than any at the check in desks. It seemed awfully convenient that they would have so many free seats on the next flight to accommodate all these people lining up at the service desk. It’s a scam and I wouldn’t be surprised if they overbooked the first flight of the day then under booked the last to make room for everyone who “got there too late”.

  4. stephen scott

    July 21, 2008 at 8:05 PM

    virgin blue sucks

  5. I have a complaint about virgin blue airlines.I recently moved to queensland to make a fresh start but due to some misfortune I had to go back to Tasmania.On saturday the 26th of July 2008 I booked my flight to tasmania one way one person and that $235 that I paid for the flight was nearly all the money I had left,anyway on Monday the 28th of July I cancelled my flight as there were a change of plans so I called the flight centre on Chevron Island to cancel my booking and I had given them 24hrs and a bit more notice,I asked the woman on the phone when will I get my refund back and she informed me that the airlines take $50 for a cancellation fee and the rest is not refundable and the airlines keep it and you can use it within 12 months of the cancellation and that is not good enough money is tight at the best of times and you have airlines not refunding your money in hope that you do not fly within the 12 month period and they get to pocket your refunds what a scam and shame on all the airlines.No wonder all the airlines are doing o.k cause they make their profits out of everones money.I will never fly again and virgin blue have lost yet another customer.I say shame on the airlines shame!

  6. Unfortunately that’s standard practice with airlines in Australia, Selina. It’s the same procedure with Jetstar and Quantas, with only minor differences.

  7. HORRIBLE Customer Service! Calling +61 7 32395 2296 International Services – Hopefully you do not suffer the same misfortune of speaking to rep. Polo – he is is by far the worse rep I spoke to. JR is the supervisor over at this Manilla office – she was a little more helpful. However I cannot believe the amount of Hold time! I called nearly 8 times to get my issued resolved. All times I was put on hold why the reps tried and scurry around to find answers for about 5 minutes and not just once, but placed on hold several times during a single call! Rep Chaf was the only helpful person to me, but even he couldnt get my credit card through, just a flight confirmation. Warning— this is a basic call center – good luck if you’re having any SERIOUS issues – getting through to these low level drones is extremely frustrating! btw – F U Polo!

  8. I AGREE WITH JAMES 100% – Virgin Blue Call centre staff need training on how to pick up a phone 1) within a half hour 2) with manners – You’d think finally an airline with cheap airline tickets – We should’ve guessed that would come with cheap service.

  9. maybe selina should read through her fare rules next time, most airlines offer a variety of different fares some refundable some not, read the fine print and remember you get what you pay for!!!!

  10. On 29th August, 2008 I booked a ticket from Brisbane to syndey. The Virginblue flight no. was DJ 236 scheduled for 14.00hrs and reacheing Sydney at 15.30hrs. I was connected with the SQ flight at 17.35 hrs from Sydney to Singapore and thereafter from Singapore to Mauritius on the following day at 12.30hrs.

    After having boarded the pane DJ 236, all passengers were informed that the flight was cancelled and we had to catch the next flight DJ 242 leaving Brisbane at 15.30hrs and obviously to reach sydney at about 17.00hrs. I therefore proceeded to the customer service and met two ladies Mrs. Linda and Fiona and informed them of my predicament that is I would miss my both flight and as there is flight only once a week from Singapore to Mauritius, I did not really know what to do. To my great surprise the two ladies informed me that they had already spoken to the Singapore Airlines and that the Singapore flight from Sydney would wait for me. What a bluff, the two ladies did not realise that I am a frequent flyer and I knew very well that they were lying and just wanted to get rid of me. They have even refused to check my luggage in up to Singapore.

    I took the 2nd flight DJ 433 and reached Sydney (domestic Airport) at about 17.15 hours. There and then I met with one Mrs. Louisa from Virginblue and I must say that I am really thankful to her for what she did for me. She tried all possible ways and means to get me to Mauritius and finally there was an Air Mauritius Flight from Perth to Mauritius at 2.55hrs. To have my trip rerouted I had to make serveral international calls to Air Mauritius and my travel agent in Mauritius and paid the necessary extra fees. Mrs. Louis got me a free ticket from Sydney to Perth DJ 433.

    What shall I say of the two ladies from refused to shoulder their responsibilities and trying to get ride of passengers by telling them all sort of lies.

    What shall I say to Virginblue who could not provide for necessary assistance like telephone for international calls, etc.

    Should I request such an Airline company to friends

    My warm thanks to Mrs. Louisa who is a really good customer care person and a pearl in her job and whom I would recommend to any airline company

  11. VB cancelled two flights I was booked on within a week of each other. The first from MEL to Syd they put us up overnight in a CBD hotel, but did not pay for our transfers back to the airport?!?! Hopeless – and we all had to get back to work after the NSW long weekend. Then the following week I went down and they cancelled the flight again! And because they couldn’t put me on a later flight – I was stuck in town and had to get a friend to take me at 6am the next day. Come on VB – it’s on SYD-MEL it’s non-stop and one hour – simple yet the way you are treated as a passenger is shite – I suppose budget airline – budget service – that’s if you ever get any service. That first name basis they use when you board or call makes travelling with them even more irksome and insincere.

  12. Due to adverse weather conditions, our Pacific Blue (PB) flight made 2 aborted attempts to land at Wellington airport and then returned to Auckland. Our family found the whole experience very traumatic as well as a number of other passengers who were vomiting and crying. The Air NZ flight due to land at Wellington airport at the same time as DJ3024 landed successfully at the time DJ3024 aborted, as well as a number of international flights landing safely. On return to Auckland, we were assured that families with children would be given priority – this was not the case at all. After 1.5hrs of waiting, I was told that we had been transferred to the 4pm flight that afternoon – however given the weather conditions there was no guarantees that the flight would be able to land. I then agreed with the staff member that we would instead be transfered to the same flight (11:30am) flight on 2nd November, as we were incredibly traumatized by the 2.5hr unsuccessful flight and queuing for extensive periods. The staff member instructed to arrive for the 11:30 flight – and that although she was writing our names down and not booking us into the system, that it would be discussed with colleagues later and that flights would be booked as promised.
    As we were preparing to leave for the airport the next day, I was contacted by a airline representative who informed that we had not been booked on the 11:30am flight and that we were now on standby. This was completely unsatisfactory to me – I was not prepared to bring my children to the airport to sit around in the hope that other people booked on the flight might cancel. I am infuriated that having been terribly mucked around on 1st Nov we were subject to further incompetence. Despite PB’s assurances that families would be prioritized this was most definitely not the case – when I suggested that someone else be removed from the flight so that PB met its obligation to us, I was told that it would not be possible. I was then directed to speak to guest relations department in order to discuss a refund. I feel we have been dreadfully let down by the staff of Pacific Blue and would not use this carrier again as a result of this level of incompetence. I was told that despite repeated incompetence by the airline they would not consider a refund. I strongly believe that in this case of gross incompetence Pacific Blue should accept a level of responsibility and show some level of commitment to customer relations. It amazes me that other airlines were able to land safely and competently during the increment weather – it makes you wonder re the competence of PB’s pilots and air-worthiness of its planes!!!

  13. I would have been more traumatised in the planes landing in the bad weather below the minimas than in Virgin following the guidelines. Than you change your bookings and expect every one to jump to attention and offload passengers to suit your whim.!

  14. Two mouth ago, we arrived to the air port late due to heavy raining in the way to the airport.
    Staff of virgin blue request new payment as we missed the fly, thought on the board the plane still on the ground, after long negotiation by my wife, they requested a $50 dollar for each passenger to catch evening flight 6 hours from now.
    Recently we were in Canberra trying to come back to Sydney, the flight suppose to departure at 14:20 and we were there an hour earlier. After 30 mins, they announce that it will be a delay 80 mins due to ATC. I went to customer services demanding consultation as there were no problem with Qantas.
    They said, “you will loss you money, because the delay is less than 4 hours”, flight from Canberra to Sydney is 40 mins and we are here delaying 80 mins, how come air traffic controller problem does not affect Qantas, but virgin blue? Or they don’t want to tell you that we don’t have enough passenger to go, so you wait till we got enough passengers.

  15. VIRGIN BLUE – lost our luggage this week…
    Everyones christmas presents included. So we returned home embarrassed that we would be the only ppl at our family xmas with no present for the others!


  16. I had the worst experience with virgin blue and i do not recommend anyone to travel with them ever. With such a cheap fare over the internet I booked my flight to fiji .I rang up after for confirmation and they confirmed the time, name but forgot to mansion that we had to catch a cab or bus to go to the international airport(connecting flight via syd from melb).Then on the day of travel we woke up 3am, got ready and went to the airport in Melb, checked in and the staff forgot to mansion which gate to go to in Sydney(wasn’t on the ticket).As the first time in Sydney airport, also travelling with 3 children we were running aroung searching for our connecting flight.When we finally reached the gate still in domestic were then told to take a bus to the international aiport and we only had 30 mins. We again running with children made it to the bus and the international terminal . Finally there we were told that we had missed our flight and couldnt board at all. The staff were so rude and didnt even care we had kids aged 5 4 and 2. we were so tired , fustrated and kids who were starving stayed at the airport till 1 pm (flight from Melb arrived at 7:30 am) because we were told to pay $2044(booked fare was 2500 ret) one way to get to Fiji reason being it was our fault we had missed the flight.I was crying on the phone telling them we were not told and it wasnt even mentioned on the ticket about the gate no. nothing at all about how the connecting flight will work when i rang up at the time of confirmation. After all that running around we took a cab to the nearest hotel and from there I made calls to speak to the supervior and yelled at them and after 4 hrs they decided to give me a flight to Fiji the next day.Its a shame that these businesses only think about money and they dont care about customers like us who are paying them in order to receive good service.we had kids with us and they didnt care.There are no priority given to anyone being kids or disabled. we better to pay a little extra and receive the kind of treatment you wish for and not be treated like someone with no value or dignity. When they first started they advertised as cheap maybe they should have also mentioned their service will be as low as their fare. I wont be surprised if they stop employing fight attendents to save on that and be as low grade as they are.

  17. It has been two years and nine months since I blogged here about Virgin Blue. My biggest gripe remains how they handle a complaint. The hoops one has to go through to try (and fail to) recover items left on a place are extraordinary. I have seen the other side – how they handle a staff member leaving something on board. In the instance I saw, they went to extraordinary lengths. It is this double standard which frustrates me.


  18. Virgin has a policy of not allowing parents travelling with young kids to choose their own seats like other passengers. Instead you are relegated to back whether you want to be or not – ‘for your convenience’. The online check in system is also geared this way so the only way to get any change of seat is to make a really big fuss at the check in counter – if you can be bothered and even then, you may not win out.

    I’ve been travelling Qantas lately for work and I have to say the older experienced staff make a difference.

  19. Complaints dept is run by meatheads thats if you can get them on the phone. tried 5 times, there just a bunch of morons. no one wants to take the blame for there own mistakes. because policy says if we damage your 15 year old daughters guitar while in fragile baggage area tuff , no responsibility for our meathead baggage handlers ,hey its not our fault she has a flaming great hole through her new guitar, so no worries im sure she will get over it at our expense and heartache, all tears are gone now but we shall remember ,hope your plane runs out of fuel say over sir big heads house your all a bunch of dropkicks. back to Air New Zealand for us, real service with a smile. good on ya”s NOT!
    PS i aint finished with ya yet mr Branson ya big twat.

  20. 12 May 09

    Flight to Launceston from Adelaide via melbourne (DJ 234 and DJ 1380) and got charged over $120 for excess baggage…that’s ok…its for work and even though I am gold FF with Qantas so would not have got charged but thought I would give Virgin a go). Good connection times in Melbourne, so plenty of time to get bags on the plane, and then get to Launceston minus all my luggage!! Needed it for work tomorrow at the local hospitals (first thing) and they can’t tell me where the luggage is until tomorrow. DAMN I want the excess baggage refunded!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is extremely poor! I am going back to Qantas and put up with the longer time between flights in Melbourne. I am so glad I booked with Qantas to get back.

    I made the mistake of choosing Pacific blue ALK-WGN return. not realizing they are a one plane show. The flight was cancelled due to a lightning strike (found this out later as the counter staff were well over helping people by the time it was our turn). the next available flight was possibly 36 to 48 hours later. to quote the counter staff ” not our concern”. When I asked about a refund so I could use another airline, I was told it isn’t company policy to refund. Apparently not company policy to help either. We drove the distance overnight and now the help desk fobs us off as its not company policy. Three days and no response to the online complaint(s) They seem to be exempt the fair trading laws in NZ, so they can do as they like.

  22. Just spoke to the Pacific blue help desk (oxymoron) and they deal with all complaints in between 40 and 50 days. They seem to think this is responsible customer service. So glad my wife could be proactive and cancel all of her companies involvement with Pacific Blue (not that the loss of a few thousand seats a year will affect them). I’ve managed to convince my company to remove PB from the amex approved company travel options so little wins.

  23. I read all 22 comments, some uneducated, some uninformed, some think they should receive special treatment and some think the world revolves around them. There is in total 2 people who I genuinely feel sorry for, the rest need to learn a lesson and get over it.
    The airline industry is a business just like any other, they have schedules which they have to maintain, its NOT a bus service that waits for you.
    If you don’t plan your trip properly then don’t fly, if you don’t have a back up plan then don’t fly, if you get travel sickness then don’t fly, if you can’t show up early for a flight then don’t fly, if you can’t read the “conditions of carriage” then don’t fly, if you can’t afford to fly then don’t fly and if you still want to fly then please, please don’t sit next to me on the plane and complain about it, get a life.

  24. Virgin downgraded me because of a plane change. The promised me a free upgrade to premium economy. When it came time for me to use this they say this was never promised and that I would not be upgraded. I had the flight details and the reservation number against which they recorded the credit. No it’s not in the system so I miss out. When I complained at the velocity lounge they said I need to call. So I call and get the run aorund. Aften 45 minutes getting nowhere I give up. They say to complain on the website. I have done that before and received nothing from them.

    They may look pretty and smile a lot but peel back the veneer and they are aliens looking only after themselves.

  25. I will never fly on any Virgin-owned airline, ever again. They tout themselves as a discount airline and the ticket I bought (round trip from Brisbane to Townsville, in July 2009) was, indeed, cheaper than the competition– at least when I bought it. By the time I actually flew, they had charged so many fees that the ticket was more expensive than some of the others I considered. Virgin nickel and dimes you to DEATH. I willingly paid the fee to bring checked luggage at the time I booked the ticket. However, at check in they have the scales set artificially low, they charge you $10 per kilo over the allowance, and they rush you to make a decision, saying “I am only allowed three minutes to check you in. What do you want to do?” This was after I had spent over an hour waiting in line to be checked in for a domestic flight, I still had security to go through, yet, and my flight was scheduled to be leaving in half an hour! I smell a racket. Adding insult to injury, the flight crew actually announced– over the intercom, no less– that they were there for your safety, only. What that means is that unless you want to give them money (you don’t even get a glass of water included with your ticket price), paying for food or drinks, then they aren’t interested in what you think or how you feel. It’s not about you, basically; it’s about the money. Period. I flew on three different airlines while on my trip to Australia and New Zealand. Virgin Blue was by far the worst.

  26. I fly frequently all ’round this beautiful country of ours and I’ve gotta say, I really think Virgin are the way to go.

    If you guys think you’ve had a rough deal with Virgin, try flying Tiger… seriously. Bugger all time to check-in, which closes 45 mins prior to flight times, very rude staff, dirty aircraft and terminals made of demountable sheds.

    Then, the smart idea of making a show about how their company shafts customers. It’s called Air Ways – on Tuesday nights – check it out… Great for a laugh and a reminder of whats good about Qantas, Virgin and even Jetstar.

  27. Sick of Airline Standards in this Country

    September 1, 2009 at 6:01 PM

    My husband has had his flight canceled twice today. On his way to Melbourne for a meeting they canceled his flight and made him go later which meant he was late for his first meeting and thus the rest of the meetings all day having to apologise at every one. He gets to the airport now and his return flight has been cancelled moving him onto a later flight. This is a joke. If they haven’t got enough business to afford a plane to leave the tarmac then don’t sell tickets for them in the first place. Let them fly Qantas, which will actually fly with a non-full plane because that’s what the customer booked and needed. Oh and they show all the fees inclusive so you are not stung at the end. Jetstar is also a junk airline. They are NEVER on time & the flight attendants only care about clocking into the next shift so they don’t have to work. Oh and the ghost flight from Adelaide which just did not exist on their schedule on the night it was meant to fly, but had accepted bookings for a whole plane full of people two weeks out. Frankly McDonalds casual employees show more commitment .

  28. After reading all these comments (and being a Jetstar fan) I “had” to fly Virgin Blue/Pacific Blue on the weekend to Papua New Guinea.

    My return flight was delayed – BIG DEAL; an excuse for a few beers at the bar. See how people live in a third world country and count your lucky stars you can even afford an airline ticket.

    I also agree with Joan’s comment.

  29. Charlie McGuire

    October 15, 2009 at 1:44 PM

    Could anybody advise on what to do about damaged baggage with Virgin.

    Recently I flew from Albury to Cairns with a stack of survey equipment. Somewhere between Albury and Sydney one of my Tripods had one of it’s legs snapped. This is no mean feat and could hardly be considered fragile considering the legs are 20mm solid timber.

    I have filed my complaints etc with virgin and was told that they regreted to hear about my broken Bottle of Wine?. Anyway the upshot of it all is an offer of $200 towards my next flight with Virgin, like F&%@ that’s going to happen.

    Given that these types of items cannot be repared, as there are no “Leica GST120-9 R US” shops, and replacement cost for such an item is $570 where should I go next for full compensation as I am now out of pocket $570.

    Thanks in advance for any response

    Kind Regards

  30. OK people Im here to answer your questions relating to your issues with VB.

    Firstly let me thank you for comments, Let me start with the very reason all of the Australian public can afford to fly was because of the start of Virgin Blue, Since its inception it has carried millions of Australians and foreign tourists across Australia affordably.
    Prior to Virgin Blue many could not afford to fly due to very high ticket prices.

    In saying that there is a reason excess baggage is charged, COST jet fuel is even more expensive than the petrol you use to fill up your car. When an aircraft flies with heavy loads contributing to weight it burns more fuel hence why you are charged for excess baggage.

    Missing your flight and abusing the guest service agent does not help anyone. We want to keep you on time so get to the aiport in time to make the flight and you wont be dissapointed. 45 minutes is the mimimum suggested time you arrive at the airport to check in for your flight.
    Your baggage has to pass strict security screening before any of its loaded onto an aircraft.
    Secondly your bags may have to travel up to 900 meteres to the aircraft to be loaded and thats not just from where you left it at the check in counter…

    2. You have to pass security screening and this too takes time your not the only passenger travelling on the day.

    3. It costs money to delay any aircraft at any airport any time. Airport authorities are private companies that charge airlines for being delayed past their scheduled departure times.

    Delays 3 reasons SAFETY, Air traffic, and Weather. All of these are serious factors for aircraft delays do you think we want to delay your plane just to piss you off infact it actually costs us more money to delay or cancel a flight. I dont know about you but Id want to be 100% confident my aircraft is in safe operation before flying through the air at 900km and 38,000 FT. Although you may not see weather outside the immediate airport your aircraft may come from an effected port somewhere else in Australia. Not all planes sit at the airport and do just one flight a day!.

    Check in baggage, dont bother checking in bottles of wine into your bag. Almost 80% of bags are marked fragile and its virtually impossible to stack all of those bags ‘on top of the pile’ the B737 and E jets are simply not big enough to accomodate that style or method of loading.

    And to the person commenting on the cabin crews attitude about “all they worry about is clocking into the next shift so they dont have to work”.
    WELL Let me say YOU TRY FLYING 9-10 hrs a day and welcome over 80,000 ‘guests’ a year repress all your emotions when it comes to rude and obnoxious guests, keep a smile on your face when your snubbed by 30% of passengers they dont even have the manners to ask rather than just poke you in the rear,
    have minimum rest in almost every port you land at each day and be deprived of your meal breaks because somebody in row 16 decided to had to have a winge/dispute because his or her menu choice was not available on that 1 hr flight to BNE SYD or MEL!

    COME on people think of the bigger picture your not princess Dianna flying from London

  31. If you people think you can get a better airline else where I suggest you try it have you actually been over seas to see what expereinces you can get with overseas operators? As a matter of fact many American Airlines dont even have food on their flights so if you think your hardly done by think again.

    We are also not the only country to have cancelled flights, if you want your 200% on time every time without safety breaches, delays or cancellations I suggest you go buy your own aeroplane and see how you fare!

  32. Virgin Blue scales at the check in counters are NOT set artificially low they are calibrated every week! and scales can not become incorrect in that space of time.

    And please people unless your a pilot or have extensive science background dont bother commenting on aircraft landings, You would not have a clue what it takes to land an aircraft at minimums with 30kt winds gusting from behind!.
    I wouldnt want to see you landing a 70 tonne aircraft! Its actually normal procedure to do ‘go arounds’ in the aviation world. Its standard practice when conditions become worse and unsafe for the aircraft to land.

    Do you think the airlines want to burn another 700KG of fuel costing at least $1,000 in jet fuel doing just ONE go around for no reason?

  33. Saying Virgin Blue is a flexible airlines will be very subjective, so I don’t want to say so. It depends on everyone’s experience w/ the airlines. Some of you have had bad experiences w/ the said airlines, but most have had fun. Your comments on this site would be of great help to the airline as I believe Virgin Blue appreciates feedback to improve it’s services. But just remember, there are no PERFECT AIRLINES. If you think, you are worthy to be given compensation due to the error of the airlines, demand for it, but if you just want to pull it down, it’s not going be effective by bad words of mouth. I know you know what I mean. Airlines help you fly so don’t pull them down.

  34. My 9 year old daughter flew in from Sydney to Brisbane as an unaccompanied minor 2 days ago. My parents had her at the airport 1 hour before her flight and there were no problems checking her luggage in.

    On her arrival at Brisbane her luggage did not appear. Virgin still haven’t been able to find it. Despite it having all of her brand new clothes and underwear she got for christmas it also had her teddy bear that she has slept with every night since she was born (irreplaceable) and my 35 year old christening spoon (also irreplaceable).

    As you could imagine my daughter was extremely upset and crying when she found out and to be honest. the attitude of the staff was that they really didn’t care. No phone calls were made or any other attempt to find the bag before we left the airport.

    We have since had 2 courtesy calls to say that they still hadn’t found them. I don’t know what we will do if they can’t find it. I don’t know how we will get her to fly again considering the bag they lost was actually a replacement bag for one that was shredded and crushed by Virgin on another flight she took.

  35. I’ve had it with Virgin Blue and Velocity Rewards. I tried to complain after the Gold Status debacle, and their treatment of the complaint and me was beyond the pale. I didn’t actually want anything but to be taken seriously and they couldn’t even be bothered getting back to me. When they did, they were rude and patronising. Jerks.

    I just created the Velocity Sucks blog. If you want another place to complain, just click the link on my name.

  36. Thanks Virginblue for breacking the neck on my twelve string…Before leaving Brisbane airport I loosened all the strings.
    When I arrived in Melbourne the neck had a large crack in it., consistent with something heavy being placed on the case…and believe me the case is pretty strong…naturally Virgin didnt want to know about it citing the waiver I signed upon checkin.
    So now I have a new guitar with a cracked neck which I will have to get repaired.
    Once again thanks Virginblue..

  37. I am a mother of two young boys. I live in Sydney and my extended family is in Adelaide. I have flown back to Adelaide countless times to make sure my boys get to know my family. Last week, I flew Virgin Blue with my 7 month old son and the Sydney to Adelaide flight was normal.
    5 days later, I will never forget the Adelaide to Sydney flight. I arrived with my son with EXACTLY the same baggage as I had left home with. I was coldly informed that I had too much luggage and I would have to pay excess baggage. I was told the baggage allowance for travelling with an infant is 23 kilos as of Sept 2009. I had to either ‘get rid of’ at least 5 kilos or pay excess baggage.
    When I informed the Virgin Blue staff that I was taking home EXACTLY the same luggage as I arrived with 5 days earlier, they told me that Sydney had ‘obviously’ made an error and I would therefore have to pay excess baggage or I am not allowed on the flight (that I had already earlier checked in).
    I was told I was 10 kilos over the 23 kilo limit. I am positive that every other time I have flown alone with either of my sons Virgin Blue used to allow extra baggage for an infant. Not on Sunday with Virgin Blue Adelaide. I was crying and felt so harassed by the Virgin Blue girls who stared at me blankly and displayed absolutely no empathy. It was very clear to me and all those around me that all they wanted was my money for the ‘excess baggage’.
    The final sting was when one of the Virgin Blue staff said to me ‘you better hurry up and pay or you will miss your flight and then how are you going to get home?’ All I could think of was my husband and 3 year old back at Sydney waiting for us at the airport and I handed over my credit card and raced to the gate. I felt like I had just been conned.
    It then seemed completely expected when I boarded the lunch time Virgin Blue flight that only the first half of the aircraft were able to buy sandwiches and muffins before they sold out !!!! As everyone knows, when you are travelling alone with an infant, you get allocated right up the back of the aircraft. So like everyone else around me, I was offered crackers and cheese to buy for lunch and couldn’t wait to get home.

  38. Unhappy Traveler

    April 20, 2010 at 12:19 AM

    Just returned home from a trip to beautiful Australia. In making reservations, we verified before packing that we were pre-paying for 4 pieces of luggage. Sent a second email (subject = baggage confirmation) to be sure we were all set and pre-paid for the 4 pieces of luggage. We understood this to be 4 pieces of luggage with 23 kg each! On our arrival to Cairns, we were told that we had more than 23 kg for each TRAVELER – NOT PIECE OF LUGGAGE. It cost us over $200 for the second piece of luggage. I would have packed differently if I knew the cost would be $200. The extra items we packed were for “just in case”. We would have been fine without the extras. The aggravating part is the lack of concern by the people behind the counter. I am sure they are tired of being yelled at and seeing young mothers crying and are immuned to those situations, therefore showing no emotions or sense of concern for the individual. Fortunately the $200 + will not be a hardship for us, but I know that it is for others. I feel for them. Again — had I not taken the extra measures BEFORE the trip, I would say it is my fault and I would accept the blame. Based on the comments I have just read, sounds like our treatment (or lack of) is the sad part of the story. I will add . . . when we arrived at the airport in Sydney, we were greeted at the Virgin Blue counter by a smiling face and a very pleasant personality. How refreshing!

  39. Most of the comments here are hilariously uninformed and plain dense. Oh dear. There are perhaps four TOTAL that would be actually any fault on Virgin Blue’s part here, and that’s a hell of a lot better than most airlines. I’ve had sixteen flights with Virgin Blue so far and with NONE have I had any issues with anything described here … not even a late flight (and by late I mean more than fifteen minutes). I’ve just booked my seventeenth and eighteenth flights and I’m thoroughly looking forward to them.

  40. I also had a horrible experience with Virgin recently. I was in Albury where there was terrible fog, my Qantas flight was delayed (expected, as there plane from sydney couldn’t land). So I paid an extra $360 for REX tickets from Albury to Sydney, as I needed to make a connecting VB flight to Brisbane. After paying all of that extra money which I couldn’t afford, I made it to Sydney in plenty of time to make my 5pm flight home to Brisbane, which was very important as I had an appointment I couldn’t miss that night. I went to check in at 4.15pm, only to be told I had been moved to a 6.30pm flight, because the 5pm plane had been downgraded. I explained of my need to get to Brisbane and the extra expense I had incurred to be sure i got there, and was met with very unsympathetic VB staff, who implied it was my own fault.
    I understand that these things happen, but my biggest issue was with the feedback from Virgin Blue. I contacted them to let them know that the reason I was moved to a later flight was because the plane at 5pm had been downgraded, so the last few people to check in got moved. I explained I had called Virgin Blue before leaving Albury to make sure my plane was on time, and was told NOT to check in online, as there was an issue. I explained in my feedback to them that I was very updet with the cost i incurred, but more upset with how I was treated, and how rude the staff at Syndey airport were to me. I got a generic email back saying sorry, but as per terms and conditions, I wasn’t going to be refunded, they hope I fly with Virgin Blue again soon. No real apology, no understanding, I don’t think they even read my email and I doubt they looked into the staffing situation at Sydney airport at all. No more Virgin Spew for me!!

  41. We recently travelled with vb with 14 passengers booked well in advance but we were allocated seats all over the plane which made no sense at all,but one seat in particular was allocated to my daughter who was traveling with a 12 week old child 20c this seat could not recline even though the seat in front could this left no room when i asked if there was another seat for her and the baby i was met with a curt the plane is full, virgin b had plenty of time to arrange seating together, as a family and have proper seating for mothers travelling with infants .this has cost the airline some customers.

  42. I recently flew from Perth – Cocos Island – Christmas Island and back to Perth. I purchased Premium Economy seats as the flight is long and can be uncomfortable. When I checked in, I asked for a seat in the front row, and was told there were none available. When I got on the plane, I again asked the staff – as there were no passengers left to board the plane and the entire front row was empty – if I could sit in the front row. This time I was told the truth – the front row of Premium Economy is reserved for “crew” because “we are the best in Australia and we deserve the best seats”. I thought she was joking, but sadly she wasn’t. It happened again when I flew between Cocos and Christmas Islands; I had seat 1C, but was moved back to row 3 because a Virgin staff member who was returning from Perth wanted the seat for her husband. It’s simply astonishing to experience something like this in 2010 and I have since gone back to Qantas. Even though the flight was over a month ago, I have yet to recieve any Velocity points despite my constant attempts and I have now learnt my lesson – in this industry you get what you pay for, and Virgin Blue is cheap and nasty because you pay peanuts for the seats. Never again.

  43. Noone helps when you try and claim expenses back that were out of your control in the first place. Everytime I call, I am given the same line of “we understand and are sorry Nicole” to then be given a different response to when I will hear back from guest relations. NEVER FLY VIRGIN BLUE.

  44. Bought a first class (2) tickets from Los Angeles to Adelaide in Australia, with a connection in Brisbane. When we boarded the plane in Brisbane to go to Adelaide, the flight attendant told us that the guitar could not be on the plane without a ticket, even if we had bought ticket in first class, because this particular airplane did not have first class but rather “premium economy” and it was a smaller airplane.

    Now get this, I had called Virgin Australia before buying the ticket to MAKE SURE the connecting flight would not be a problem and they told me “Don’t worry, you are allowed to take it on board in the connecting flight on Virgin Blue, it’s the same company so to speak and you are buying a FIRST CLASS TICKET.” Ok, all right, I believed them, bought the two tickets and thought that I would not need a ticket for the guitar for the hops inside Australia.

    Trust me, I wouldn’t have minded buying a ticket for extra $200 if I had known it was a problem, we were spending tons more than that on two first class tickets and buying a seat for the guitar in the short flights within Australia would simply not have been a problem.

    Well, turns out that they will NOT allow the guitar on the flight, no matter how much you paid for your ticket! And since there was no seat available on that flight, we couldn’t even purchase it.

    So, right now, we’re sitting in Brisbane waiting for the next flight which is at 7:15 pm tonight, we’ve been traveling approximately 33 hours. So, we’ll have to wait for another 6 hours until we can board the flight to Adelaide, because some idiot from Virgin Australia gave me the wrong information!

    Oh and get this, we were willing to simply buy the flights on Quantas who actually have a first class all the way to Adelaide, but didn’t BECAUSE I was told that this would not be a problem.

    And if we cancelled our flights and just took Quantas or any other airline, United, from here on, well Virgin Blue (which is the national carrier of the Virgin group) doesn’t refund your money, they put it into your account with them and you can use it at a later date for up to 12 months – they told me proudly. Well, not sure when we will be returning to Australia, so we’re stuck with flying with them.

    Teaches you not to trust ANYONE that is trying to sell you something – in this case two first class flight ticket on Virgin. Virgin’s customer service agent clearly didn’t know what they were talking about.

  45. Love the apologists for Virgin Blue here. Nice one Joan and sounds like “Anonymous” is worried about her job given that Virgin Blue are clearly on a backward slide. I love how these people feel the need to school people on how businesses are run as an excuse for poor service. Here’s the reality; these are customers complaining and businesses don’t exist without customers. The end.

    My wife has recently been put through the poor excuse for customer service through the call center. Hours wasted to find out that the reason she was having trouble booking a flight for our son was that he turns 2 before the date of the flight. The system would throw up a non-specific error and advise that we call the airline. What a mistake that was. Hours on hold over several days to be told that our ISP was at fault and that we needed to call them, or that we had to delete all the cookies on our system; absolutely not their fault. Rudeness and obstinance on the phone all due to an absolutely sub standard system design error which did not compute that a child under 2 years might turn 2 before the flight was due. We found this out after after the 2nd extremely unhelpful call center drone (who refused to put us through to her manager) asked the person next to her who oviously knew about the fault. Which begs the question why has anything not been done about it and why don’t call center staff actually know about the massive flaw?

    So anyhoo, after falsifying the birthdate of our son we managed to book the tickets. Nice work virgin.

    Can I also say that I LOVE Virgin Blue’s “Feedback” page on their site. First option on the dropdown is “Compliment”. Fair enough. Oh there is also a character limit; but they don’t tell you that until you hit submit (have the designers ever heard of tool tips or even just a bit of text). Oh and the word limit includes spaces. I guess I’ll just use that word limit to say “Screw you Virgin Blue”. And the apologists can get stuffed too.

  46. On Tuesday 12th April I flew from Sydney to Perth on Virgin Blue flight DJ565 and was sitting in 25C. During the first serving of refreshments I purchased a Panini roll with Mediterranean vegetables, Swiss cheese & tapenade for $10. The roll was stale and it tasted strange. On closer inspection of the package the roll came in, I noticed the package had typed in big bold lettering on one corner “DO NOT SELL AFTER 11 APRIL 2011”. A short while later when the cabin crew came past to collect “the rubbish” I pointed out to the crew member (whose name I think was Sharon) that the roll was stale and showed her the expired sell by date. She remarked that it shouldn’t have happened as they are very strict about the quality of their food and she would “fix the problem”. Sharon walked past me several times over the next hour and only when the second round of refreshments were being sold and I enquired what had happened about the stale roll did she inform me that apparently the “roll should still have been fine”. Had I not asked, it appears I wouldn’t have been given “the good news”! I was then offered a free cup of coffee and a biscuit! Unfortunately my experience with the stale roll doesn’t end there. I am on medication called Parnate (Which is an older type MAOI anti-depressant). Taking Parnate comes with strict diet control and food that contains tyramine has to be avoided as a hypertensive crisis can occur. Tyramine is found in certain foods, such as aged cheeses and spoiled foods. I’m sure you can appreciate that a passenger experiencing a hypertensive crisis on a 5 hour flight could be extremely unfortunate. The following day I did not feel well. I use a portable blood pressure monitor and my blood pressure was 182/97. This could have led to a heart attack or a stroke! I am happy to say neither occurred. I am eagerly waiting feedback from Virgin Blue having informed them of the situation via their website.

  47. On the 12th May 2011 I traveled from Sydney to Mackay on a Virgin Premium Economy fare and was forced to pay for both coffee and water. Has Virgin changed the name and the rules for their Premium Economy guests.

  48. Michael Harrold

    June 3, 2011 at 5:52 PM

    Give me Jet Star or Qantas any day over Virgin.
    Virgin flight policy is poorly managed and compensation is like getting blood from a stone.
    Virgin really need to start walking the walk and live up to their image. However for me it one flight too many.

  49. Flew Pacific Blue from Auckland to Brisbane and knew I would need to bring an extra case back. Tried to book it online but no luck. the booking system would only let me book one case each way.

    Rocked on up to the check-in at Brisbane to catch my flight home and was shocked to be told that the charge for my second bag ( a small sports bag weighing 13kg) would be $A195 or $15/kg. What a ripoff!!!

    I weigh 80kg and paid around the same for my seat and 23kg bag giving the airline 203kg to carry at approximately $2/kg. So how do they justify $195 for a small bag that would have fitted in the overhead locker save for the fact that I was carrying a laptop that I didn’t want to check in.

    First and last flight ever on this airline for me!

    BTW I sent the bag via Qantas for $95.

  50. Virgin are now treating their Loyalty program members with contempt. Stay loyal and earn enough points and you can move slowly through their Loyalty program, or better still forget all the hassle just send them a copy of your frequent flyer card with another air line and automatically get the same level of membership in the Virgin program. You dont even need to fly. Loyalty a one way thing?
    Customer service response to this is the usual.

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