Seven of us flew from Melbourne to Hobart with Virgin Blue on Tuesday. We boarded the plane with boarding passes printed using their web check in service. On board we found other passengers in six of our seven seats. The flight was delayed ten minutes while the Virgin Blue staff sorted out the mess. Our group was split and spread over the plane and those traveling alone were left in the group of seats together which were allocated on our boarding passes.

This is the second time the Virgin Blue web check in has let me down. This time as then (two months ago) the Virgin Blue staff said that a web check in is not a real check in. Hey, Virgin, if that is the case you need to remove it as an option from your website. Also, what does it say about securing when two people with the same seat allocation are allowed to board? The confusion on board could enable someone to travel when they should not.

Personally, the Virgin Blue system reallocated me to a middle seat. I hate middle seats. I travel around 100 times a year domestically yet this loyalty to Virgin counts for little. They took my preferred aisle, gave that to someone else and stuck me down the back in the middle. This shows little regard for customer service.

Their approach to resolving the problem was appalling.

After we landed in Hobart a passenger from row one (not part of our group) told me that the Virgin flight attendants were complaining about us. They said “look, they’re just standing there” – as we waited for the double seat allocation to be corrected. Well, Virgin, what were we to do. There was a bear in my seat and where should I go? These same gossiping Virgin staff also bitched, apparently, about the web check in service.

We’re flying back to Melbourne today. I have used web check in again. Let’s see if Virgin Blue continue their poor service.