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Not happy with Virgin Atlantic

Brisbane, Australia
posts: 50
Not happy with Virgin Atlantic

We flew from Sydney to Heathrow with Virgin Atlantic September and returned New Years Eve. My travel agent was rapturous about their level of service, food, everything. Our experience was the opposite. We found the food very average, leg room much the same, and the attendants attitude to service was less than professional. The toilets were dirty, and I had to ask for more toilet paper in the one closest to the galley during the night (given they were all seated there for most of that time, you might have though they would have used it and noticed?)

Others I have spoken to also enthused over VA, however every single one of those people and the travel agent, flew Aus/LA or LHR/LA.

So why would the Hong Kong route (which is the stop over for Sydney/LHR) be treated differently? We are not normally whingers, and have travelled quite a bit internationally, so we know what the norm is.

All in all, our experience was that as if we had flown a bad cheap budget airline. I have made my thoughts known to VA, and wonder if I will get a reply?

22 replies to this topic
Lancaster, United...
posts: 2,529
reviews: 30
1. Re: Not happy with Virgin Atlantic

Your travel agent "rapturous about food"?? On an aircraft?? Have they ever actually flown:-)

In my experience aircraft food is at best (very) average & disgusting at worst.

That said I cannot stand the smell, so avoid the food if at all possible & usually take my own.

Poor service though, by anyone, is not acceptable. We feel Virgin's legendary service has been on the slide for a while now & more comparable with some of the budget carriers, but for premium carrier prices:-(:-(

I have found found US carrier staff more "professional" (if that's the word) than Virgin staff. But we fly mainly to the US.

I also know people have had the same or similar issues with many other airlines, so the staff you get, can/will impact on your enjoyment of the flight greatly.

Edited: 2:47 am, January 08, 2014
Manchester, United...
posts: 273
2. Re: Not happy with Virgin Atlantic

Your travel agent may have had an incentive to sell you a Virgin ticket, though travel agent commissions are largely a thing of the past.

However, undeniably the Virgin brand (across all the companies) relies a great deal on the hype that Branson generates. When it comes down to it, Virgin Atlantic is a good airline but that's about it. It doesn't really have any 'difference makers' that distinguish it from the pack.

I don't think the SYD/HKG route is treated much differently to others. You should travel Virgin to Lagos (Nigeria) to see how crew really feel about certain destinations. Quite possibly you had unrealistic expectations which made things more anti-climactic when you had an ordinary flight?

UK
posts: 39,510
reviews: 81
3. Re: Not happy with Virgin Atlantic

Perhaps when you see the current ads for Virgin, its so far removed from real life that perhaps you are even more disappointed than you if flew with someone whose adverts are more "down to earth" to coin a phrase :-)

To be fair I haven't flown them for a few years now but when I did, I didn't find them anything special in economy. PE up in the 747 bubble was good.

Lewes, United...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
posts: 7,923
reviews: 40
4. Re: Not happy with Virgin Atlantic

I've only had one long haul with Virgin in the last 12 months, to blow some mileage, as we've mostly stopped using them. I think overall they've gone downhill significantly over the last few years. I did the LHR to SYD via HKG run with them, but that was 3 years ago now. Can't remember it being especially bad but can't remember it being memorably good either. I've never been a fan of their food, it's stops you from going hungry and passes some time.

I rather think the glam ads only make first time passenger more frustrated as the reality is far away from those ads.

However, I don't think the less than stellar service these days is unique to VS. Few airlines provide much service if you fly economy.

SWT

London, UK
posts: 1,076
reviews: 109
5. Re: Not happy with Virgin Atlantic

I agree that Virgin has gone downhill. I used to fly with them quite often on the US and South African routes where they compete directly with BA, but I now always choose BA, apart from a couple of Virgin flights to use up miles and one when BA cabin crew were striking and I couldn't risk a last-minute cancellation. I think Virgin are still OK in upper class (although I've experienced them promoting upgrades to UC at check-in, leading to a UC cabin full of very non-UC passengers) but I wouldn't fly economy or prem ec with them unless I had no other choice. The glamorous ads are entirely unrepresentative of modern day air travel and devalue the brand even further in my opinion.

UK
posts: 39,510
reviews: 81
6. Re: Not happy with Virgin Atlantic

The glamorous ads are entirely unrepresentative of modern day air travel and devalue the brand even further in my opinion.

=======

+1.

London
posts: 1,089
reviews: 73
7. Re: Not happy with Virgin Atlantic

What's a Non-UC passenger?

Manchester, United...
posts: 273
8. Re: Not happy with Virgin Atlantic

UC = Upper Class. Virgin's business class cabin.

London, UK
posts: 1,076
reviews: 109
9. Re: Not happy with Virgin Atlantic

No doubt I'll be condemned for being elitist but by non-UC passenger I mean one who doesn't remotely look or behave as you would expect someone who had paid for a UC ticket to look or behave. On the flight in question, the night's sleep I was looking forward to and needed and which my employer had paid over £4000 for was disturbed by a group of youths in grubby shorts & t-shirts carrying filthy rucksacks and assorted hiking/camping gear who proceeded to party nosily at the bar until refused more alcohol and sent back to their seats by the crew. I expect they were celebrating their great good luck in scoring the cheap upgrades Virgin were advertising at the airport and I probably would have been the same at their age in the same situation. But that sort of cabin atmosphere is part of what you're paying to avoid when you buy a business class ticket, and the airlines who value their high-spending customers and frequent flyers know that and carefully restrict access to the premium cabins as a result.

London
posts: 1,089
reviews: 73
10. Re: Not happy with Virgin Atlantic

Thanks Pink. I was aware of UC=Upper Class.

Was more interested in the other bit!

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