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NEVER again Virgin Australia

Sanur, Bali...
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2 posts
23 reviews
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NEVER again Virgin Australia

My experience with Virgin Australia was horrible. I flew with them from New Zealand to Sydney. The airline cancelled my original flight then booked me on another flight making me miss my connection to Bali. I didn't allow that to bother me, but it got worse. Once at the airport they notified me the would not issue my boarding pass because I did not have a visa for Australia. I never needed a visa originally because I wasn't suppose to be staying in Australia! I guess the attendant I had spoke with the day before forgot to mention this, even after I triple checked with him, 'is there any other detail I need to know?'

'No mam, your flight is booked'

After complaining at buying a visa last minute....something that it technically not suppose to be allowed. The lady at the desk recommend I keep all my paperwork until I get to Sydney. Once in Sydney airport find Virgin Australia's office and put in an official complaint. We went to Sydney. Spent 45 min getting the run around to find out the office isn't at the airport. Their office is in another part of Australia far away from the international airport. The Virgin Australia desk offered us a business card with a mailing address and website. I am currently backpacking for seven months so mailing something once I got to Bali seemed pointless. Then the website had a complaint section. I spent 20 mon writing my complaint with as much detail as possible. Click send..,then receive a message stating my complaint is too long it will not send. My complaint was only one solid page on word. I don't think that's too long if you would like the situation to be understood.

Basically Virgin Australia is horrible. Even the flight was long and dull with no in flight entertainment. And stewardess that gave you grumpy looks when you asked for water instead of buying something off their over priced carts. I will NEVER fly with Virgin Australia again!!!!

Atlanta, Georgia
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1. Re: NEVER again Virgin Australia

According to the Australian government website, persons of certain favoured nationalities don't need transit visas if they're going to be in Australia for less than 8 hours.

However, as seems fairly regularly reported here, the airlines sometime will be more stringent as they want to protect themselves.

As delays could easily cause you to spend extra time in Australia, it seems it would have been prudent to get the transit visa anyway.

Do you know why they cancelled your first flight? That might be something worth feeling fed up about.

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17,924 posts
68 reviews
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2. Re: NEVER again Virgin Australia

Transit visas for persons staying less than 48 hours are free so you didn't have to 'buy' a visa.

Airlines are not responsible for ensuring that passengers get the correct documentation so Virgin were actually being accommodating in assisting you at all.

A quick look at their website would have quickly shown you that Virgin offices are not at the airport. No airlines have their offices in a terminal.

All automated response forms such as the complaint one you filled in have a character number limit otherwise some people would submit books. I'm sure you could have explained your complaint factually, completely and succinctly in less than a page of text if you avoided emotive language.

Finally, the distance between Australia and NZ and the fact that there's nothing to see other than water can hardly be blamed on Virgin. Their IFE offerings are clearly shown on their website.

So what exactly is the problem?

South Pole
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15,381 posts
36 reviews
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3. Re: NEVER again Virgin Australia

i can see a possible visa problem here.

a transit without visa applies to those from countries who qualify and are not staying longer than 8 hours in aus, do not leave the transit lounge and have a confirmed onward flight.

maybe the OP did not qualify after the new flight arrangements.

the other transit visa allows u to stay up to 72 hours in the country BUT u need to apply in writing. not an option for the OP i would assume.

but he says he had to 'buy' a visa. so maybe VA arranged an ETA on the spot for $20 which basically is not valid for transit.

all this is supposition of course and we dont know what passport the OP was travelling on.

London, United...
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28 reviews
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4. Re: NEVER again Virgin Australia

As much as it would have been nice for them to tell you, airlines are not responsible to inform you at the time of purchase/ booking or flight change, what your visa requirements are.

It's up to you, as the individual to know and to ensure you have the right documentation to allow you to fly, the error here is yours and only yours. I'm sorry. Writing to complain is pointless, no airlines policy that I know of is to advise on this, all make it clear that it's your responsibility in their terms and conditions that you would have agreed to at the time of purchase.

As Eva says, it's very rare an airline has its offices at the airport.

The fact the flight is dull is irrelevant, virgins role here is to get you from a to b and provide the in flight service as advertised.

Why was the original flight changed? This is the only area where you may have a compliant, depending on the situation, however I doubt it as you tell us you accepted the new flights and it did not bother you.

So other than that, I can't see what your complaint about them is? The flight attendants giving grumpy looks seems somewhat minor to me?

I would urge caution. If your position is you will not fly with an airline unless they advise you on visa requirements, you will not be flying again.

Destination Expert
for Bangkok, Air Travel, Thailand
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15,517 posts
71 reviews
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5. Re: NEVER again Virgin Australia


I have to agree with the others here..

Yes, it would be *nice* if airlines notified you (the passenger) about this potential visa issue.. but.. I also recognize real reasons why they don't..

Chiefly because they (they airline) don't make, right, or enforce the rule-- so an airline commenting on this issue may become seen as being "liable" for the information if it turns out to be wrong, out of date, etc..

So, just from a liability basis alone, I understand why they'd not want to get in the middle of that.. Plus, in some cases (depending on travel specifics, nationality of passenger, etc), the answer can be complicated with several variables needing to be known before a correct and complete answer can be given.

I also agree that it's not very common for an airlines main office or similar to be AT the airport itself..

Yes, most have an operations office where flight specific issues and related personnel are located and work out of, but commonly as on-site airport property tends to be expensive when compared to general office property located off-site, most airlines have their administrative and support offices off-property either in the general town area or nearby.

That said, if you were told to physically go to their office in XYZ, then I'd reasonably expect that you'd be told where it actually is, and/or how to contact them directly.

Travel Safe,

Sanur, Bali...
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2 posts
23 reviews
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6. Re: NEVER again Virgin Australia

I understand it was not their area of expertise to tell me about Visas. But in addition to the visa costs they charged us for the flight change, which we did not voluntarily make. I understand that my complaint will not be heard by Virgin Australia, they made that clear when I was brushed off from person to person. I was simply getting my frustration off my chest. Mission accomplished.

7. Re: NEVER again Virgin Australia

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17,924 posts
68 reviews
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8. Re: NEVER again Virgin Australia

>> not their area of expertise to tell me about Visas<<

Not their responsibility at all.

>>charged us for the flight change, which we did not voluntarily make.<<

What do you mean by this?

What flight change?

Did they cancel your booked flight and then charge you more go out on the next available flight?

I suspect there's a lot of gaps in this story.

Sydney, Australia
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76 posts
9 reviews
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9. Re: NEVER again Virgin Australia

Hey FreshPresh, No gaps in your story , dont know about others though. Its hard to understand why anyone would want to defend airlines for cancelling flights & providing little or no customer service. Your experience with Virgin is par for the course in this deregulated airline world of today. Customer service is a thing of the past. Its a waste of time trying to complain to the airline, they are just not interested. Best thing is to expose their rude & arrogant disregard for customer service on forums like this. What is wierd though is that some people seem to be happy to be treated like that. Funny world eh?

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2,551 posts
17 reviews
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10. Re: NEVER again Virgin Australia

>>>>What do you mean by this?

What flight change?>>>>>>

OPs statement from the outset...

The airline cancelled my original flight then booked me on another flight making me miss my connection to Bali. I didn't allow that to bother me, but it got worse.

>>>>What is wierd though is that some people seem to be happy to be treated like that. Funny world eh?

The mind boggles when you read what people think is acceptable....I heard the ACCC is after the airlines again for charges... not sure what though will have to ask my friend again.