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COMPLAINT: Virgin America, Emergency Situation, Possibly Losing $1,500

 
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  #1  
Old Aug 3, 2009, 1:21 AM
jk2001 jk2001 is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
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I purchased 3 tickets that cost around $1,500, and my partner had a serious medical emergency that prevented us from taking the trip. I canceled two weeks in advance, and requested a refund. The refund was denied. I was unable to use the credit due to this ongoing health condition, and because I rarely fly. They were unwilling to refund even after I faxed in a note from my partner's doctor. (I have since faxed in other verification of several other hospital stays.) During one communication with Guest Services customer service rep, I was told that the credit expired in August, when, in fact, most of it expired one month earlier. This led to most of my credit expiring. I have asked for an extension on the credit, so I could try to sell the credit to a third party at a discount. (I wish I could use the credit for flights, but, I'm just not in a situation where we could do that.) So far, the request has been denied and I'm losing hope.

I think Virgin America is being unfair -- I canceled on time, and did not preclude their re-selling the seats. I acted in good faith on the information I was told. I think the policies are unreasonable and the staff and management are being inflexible and inhumane in this situation. Virgin America is profiting $1,500, getting my money without rendering any service.
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  #2  
Old Aug 3, 2009, 3:00 AM
EXCO EXCO is offline
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I understand your frustration, however, Virgin America sells non-refundable tickets just as most every other airline I know of. These tickets are sold at discounted prices and you simply take your chances. If you wanted a refundable ticket, you could have purchased a full-fare coach ticket at a substantial price increase. I purchase non-refundable tickets, fully aware of the consequences if I have to cancel. With higher priced tickets, e.g. international, I usually purchase travel insurance in the event a situation such as you described happens. My wife and I are travelling to Asia next week and I have purchased travel insurance. I sure hope I don't have to use it! I am sorry for your partner's medical condition; however, the rules are clear.
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Old Aug 3, 2009, 3:31 AM
jk2001 jk2001 is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
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Gee, thanks for the kind words.

I'm not a frequent (or even occasional) flyer, and didn't realize there were all these different tiers of privileges with airline tickets. I don't think I've flown in the past decade. I also didn't really understand how travel insurance worked, and didn't know when to buy it.

I'm not one of these crybabies complaining about cancellation fees because their plans changed. This was a more severe situation, compounded by poor communications with their customer service department. Normally, I would have been happy with the credit, alone, and I'd take a trip with it -- but this isn't a normal situation, and I can't take a trip.

I'm not asking for a refund anymore - I'd be more than happy with an extension of deadline on the credit, and the opportunity to sell the credit to someone else. I hope they're amenable to that idea. (I've already requested a partial refund, but they said no. So my odds are probably low.)

The situation is that I'm basically out of the long-distance travel market for, probably another half-year, possibly forever (at least flying together, but I have hope).

Personally, if I were their management, I'd negotiate a reduced rebate. The profit margin could be maintained (because I never actually took the flight) and a potential customer wouldn't be complaining on this website. I'm still open to any offers on their part.
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Old Aug 3, 2009, 7:48 AM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
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Unfortunately non-refundable means just that. It's unfortunate that you were unable to use the credits in the allotted time however most airlines are the same with regard to ticket expiration. It sounds like you've been in contact with Virgin America and you've already received their answer. Why do you keep pursuing the matter? If you think "the squeaky wheel will eventually get greased" you're probably mistaken.

As for travel insurance have you checked with the issuer of the credit card you used to purchase the tickets? Sometimes there is some form of limited insurance when you use a credit card for airline tickets. It might be worth a call to Visa, Mastercard, Amex or whatever"flavor" your card is.

I don't mean to diminish your individual situation but do you realize how many people find themselves in a similar situation as yourselves? If the airlines made exceptions for everyone there would be no reason to have non-refundable tickets in the first place. Don't personalize the issue. You purchased non-refundable tickets that you didn't use. Regardless of the reason you've lost the value of those tickets. At some point it's time to just move on.
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