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Virgin Airlines

posts: 4
reviews: 20
Virgin Airlines

Was booked to fly from Melbourne to Hobart with allocated seats on a Virgin Airline flight. Arrived 45 minutes before departure only to be told that flight was fully booked - no seats left! Complained to Virgin only to be told that we should have checked in on line. How can an airline allow you to book a flight, allow you to pay taxes, and then dump you at the airport. Our reason to visit Hobart was for a family funeral. This was disastrous and distressing. Has this happened to anyone else?

Fredericia, Denmark
Destination Expert
for Bentota, Beruwala, Sri Lanka
posts: 35,913
reviews: 7
1. Re: Virgin Airlines

All airlines overbook.

posts: 4
reviews: 20
2. Re: Virgin Airlines

How can we stop it happening? It is unprofessional. Virgin Airlines did not even offer to refund all the taxes we paid.

posts: 3,212
reviews: 33
3. Re: Virgin Airlines

You can't stop it. It's standard practice as a percentage of passengers don't show up.

Fredericia, Denmark
Destination Expert
for Bentota, Beruwala, Sri Lanka
posts: 35,913
reviews: 7
4. Re: Virgin Airlines

For a denied boarding you should claim full compensation - provided you turned up at check in before it closed.

Nannup, Australia
posts: 3,605
reviews: 23
5. Re: Virgin Airlines

You need to beat them around the ears with their own words, all of which are on their website.

From their Conditions of Carriage:

13.5 Refusal of Carriage due to Overbooking – Domestic and International Short Haul

If you are refused carriage because your flight has been overbooked, you may be entitled to compensation in accordance with our Policies.

From their Guest charter:

9. If We Cannot Provide a Seat on Your Flight

On rare occasions we may request for volunteers to move to a later flight, or may need to ask a guest to do so. If this happens to you, you will be moved to the next available Virgin Australia service at no additional cost to you. You will also be provided with a credit for your disrupted flight (domestic and international short haul) or a gift voucher (international long haul) as an apology for the inconvenience. If you’re delayed overnight at a port away from home we will arrange and pay for hotel accommodation, transfers and meals for you.

UK
posts: 40,830
reviews: 85
6. Re: Virgin Airlines

Nearly all airlines overbook (a few so-called low cost carriers don't), but for such an important occasion you should always check in online (you should do this anyway for multiple reasons) and aim to get there considerably earlier, you were very close to the cutoff point for boarding in any case, one small hold up and even if the flight was half empty you would likely have not got on.

As you hadn't done checkin, and there was only 45 min to go, Virgin had made you bottom of the priority list for boarding and gave the seats to others who got there earlier than you. Unluckily for you there were fewer no shows than usual, and you were probably just about the very last people to try to checkin.

Not much use to you now but may help you and others on future flights.

Bear in mind the joke about the two people facing a lion in the bush growling menacingly at them and one starts to lace his shoes up tight, and the other says "why are you doing that you can't outrun a lion" and he replies "I know, but I only need to outrun you". Checkin is somewhat like that even if its just for best seats but as you've found, it can be to get on the plane.

In Europe there would have been considerable compensation due, don't know what the rules are in Oz though, you should research that. What did Virgin do? Or did you say that since you were going to miss your occasion you wanted a full refund since you didn't wish to fly, and they denied that? Google for denied boarding compensation Australia.

posts: 4
reviews: 20
7. Re: Virgin Airlines

Thank you for your responses so far. I hope to hear from more people. I am definitely going to push this with /virgin who apologised profusely but offered no compensation so we are still out of pocket. We used frequent flyer points to obtain the tickets - something i forgot to mention earlier. However, the taxes were high and not refunded. I am steaming mad. I am also distressed at missing the funeral at which I was to speak. I will definitely be more cautious in the future. Also the flight was delayed an hour! I'm just upset!

South Pole
posts: 15,408
reviews: 39
8. Re: Virgin Airlines

you would think turning up 15 minutes before the check in deadline would be sufficient.

it is not as tho virgin australia is a LCC.

on line check is not always possible when travelling. if u have a confirmed booking (whether paid for in $ or points) and turn up before the check in deadline u should get a seat.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
posts: 56,069
reviews: 11
9. Re: Virgin Airlines

I thought that the ACCC has ruled that it is "misleading conduct" to provide someone with a "confirmed" booking when no seat is available. I think that a complaint to the ACCC might be in order.

UK
posts: 40,830
reviews: 85
10. Re: Virgin Airlines

<<<I am definitely going to push this with /virgin who apologised profusely but offered no compensation so we are still out of pocket. We used frequent flyer points to obtain the tickets - something i forgot to mention earlier. However, the taxes were high and not refunded. I am steaming mad.>>>

Was the refusal to refund taxes because you didn't want to fly any more? Presumably they offered you seats on a subsequent flight but you said something along the lines if "that's no use to us we aren't going now" ?

<<< I am also distressed at missing the funeral at which I was to speak.>>

I am astounded you cut it so short as 15 minutes before the checkin deadline if you were a speaker at a funeral! I realise its an entirely different issue to you being bumped but even so there are numerous things which could have happened to make you miss the deadline, or the flight itself be substantially late. And I suppose one of those things did happen, which was you were the last ones to check in on an overbooked flight that had a lower than expected number of no-shows.

I know some people cut things to the bone on the grounds they have better things to be doing than hanging around airports and are "happy" to have a missed flight once in a while as compensation for not being at airports so long, but if there is ever a time to get there well in advance ( and indeed on a previous flight to the last possible one to get there in time) surely this is it? Now it may be you had no alternative but I didn't get that impression.

And whilst this is an aside to being bumped and I'd expect there to be set compensation levels this also may come down to what you were offered and turned down. There will be rules but by turning down a later flight you may have lost your chances of compensation. It is up to the passenger to build in enough time to allow for contingencies that are critical to them.