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COMPLAINT: Virgin Australia - beware

 
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  #1  
Old Oct 9, 2009, 7:14 PM
jbarb jbarb is offline
 
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7 months ago I booked a flight for my friend and I from LAX to Brisbane Australia on Virgin Australia. My friend was hesitant because they were a new airline. I talked him into it. I regret that decision. Our flight was booked for November 7th with a return flight on November 22. I went to check my flight into to find out that the airline had canceled our booked flight without contacting me to confirm or inform. They did rebook us on a flight that was totally unacceptable as it would cause us to miss our international connections out of Brisbane and then also causing us to miss our domestic connections on the way home.

I called the airline and they said that there was nothing that could be done about it. That they are not responsible for making connections and that they are not responsible for change fees, accomodations due to the cancelation of flights. In fact the customer service rep told me that they were not responsible for anything.

He said that I if wanted to call back in two days and talk to a supervisor that I might be able to change my flights with out a fee but on promises.

I called back two days later and was told the same thing. The took absolutely no responsibility for any inconvenience for the cancelation of our flights. He did however rebook us on a flight a day earlier. I suggested that he give us an upgrade for the inconvenience and the additional costs that were incurred by change fees on the other airlines and having to stay in hotels two additonal days to be able to make the connections work.

He again said that they were not responsible for anything. Then he said that I could either make it work or not it was up to me.

I told him that I fly internationally several times a year and that I had never exeprienced such poor customer service. That I would certainly consider that before I ever flew on Virgin Australia again. His repsonse was " well that is your choice isn't it!?

Anyone considering booking a flight with Virgin Australia should make sure that they can afford to have their flights cancled or changed with no notice or notification. After researching complaints agianst this airline, this seems to be a common occurance with them.
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  #2  
Old Oct 9, 2009, 11:45 PM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
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If you book connections on separate tickets and there is a change to one or the other or both itineraries then the airlines are not responsible for how their schedule change or cancellation affects the other ticket. Virgin Australia was only responsible to transport you from LAX to Brisbane on Nov. 7 and that's it. Whatever connections you booked either prior to or beyond that is your responsibility.

It seems that they offered you another option to fly from LAX to Brisbane on Nov. 7 but that wasn't acceptable as it would cause you to miss your onward connection which Virgin Australia had nothing to do with. They then offered to get you out of LAX a day earlier so you could meet those connections and that still wasn't acceptable because it would cause you an extra night in a hotel. Then what DO you want? If you indeed fly internationally several times a year you must be aware that sometimes schedule irregularities happen and if you've booked things separately and too close together there can be consequences. Take the flight from LAX to Brisbane on the 6th, pay for a hotel and be done with it. Or you could just have your tickets refunded and re-book your travel on another carrier. What the Virgin agent said was true. It's up to you.
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  #3  
Old Oct 9, 2009, 11:51 PM
jbarb jbarb is offline
 
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Originally Posted by PHXFlyer View Post
If you book connections on separate tickets and there is a change to one or the other or both itineraries then the airlines are not responsible for how their schedule change or cancellation affects the other ticket. Virgin Australia was only responsible to transport you from LAX to Brisbane on Nov. 7 and that's it. Whatever connections you booked either prior to or beyond that is your responsibility.

It seems that they offered you another option to fly from LAX to Brisbane on Nov. 7 but that wasn't acceptable as it would cause you to miss your onward connection which Virgin Australia had nothing to do with. They then offered to get you out of LAX a day earlier so you could meet those connections and that still wasn't acceptable because it would cause you an extra night in a hotel. Then what DO you want? If you indeed fly internationally several times a year you must be aware that sometimes schedule irregularities happen and if you've booked things separately and too close together there can be consequences. Take the flight from LAX to Brisbane on the 6th, pay for a hotel and be done with it. Or you could just have your tickets refunded and re-book your travel on another carrier. What the Virgin agent said was true. It's up to you.

I will "DO" what I want and that is to warn people about booking a ticket on this airline. But then again seeing that you are flagged an "airline sympathizer" by the moderators pretty much says it all.
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Old Oct 10, 2009, 12:07 AM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
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Originally Posted by jbarb View Post
I will "DO" what I want and that is to warn people about booking a ticket on this airline. But then again seeing that you are flagged an "airline sympathizer" by the moderators pretty much says it all.
Really? And just what does it say?
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  #5  
Old Oct 12, 2009, 4:07 PM
Gromit801 Gromit801 is offline
 
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Another case of a passenger who didn't plan their travel properly, and refuses to take responsibility for their own bad planning.
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  #6  
Old Oct 12, 2009, 5:47 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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Yes, another stupid passenger Gromit, booking a flight and expecting the airline to actually do what they said they would do. How ridiculous. We should all have multiple back ups.

I assume you do that for all your purchases do you Gromit. If you book tickets for a concert, I assume you book back up tickets in case the theatre cancel your tickets.

Why is it that airlines are different? Who decided the same consumer laws and rules don't apply to airlines?
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  #7  
Old Oct 12, 2009, 6:51 PM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
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Originally Posted by jimworcs View Post
Yes, another stupid passenger Gromit, booking a flight and expecting the airline to actually do what they said they would do. How ridiculous. We should all have multiple back ups.

I assume you do that for all your purchases do you Gromit. If you book tickets for a concert, I assume you book back up tickets in case the theatre cancel your tickets.

Why is it that airlines are different? Who decided the same consumer laws and rules don't apply to airlines?
I'm sure that a refund was an option in this case if the airline had been able to provide acceptable re-accommodation. In your example of a canceled concert, which has happened to me, they offer refunds as well. Where's the difference?
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  #8  
Old Oct 12, 2009, 7:36 PM
AirlinesMustPay AirlinesMustPay is offline
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I didn't see the OP say anything about a refund offered. The CSR told him to call back and he may get a date change without a fee, but no promises. Then he was offered the earlier date, but with having to overnight before his connection and no hotel.

This is international travel which falls under the Warsaw/Montreal convention. But even if a refund had been offered, he could choose to proceed with the earlier flight so as to make his connection. In such a case the OP is not entitled to any upgrade, but the airline has to compensate him for any damages suffered as a result of their change in flights, and there is absolutely no defence for them to such a claim. If I was the OP, I would just proceed to pay for my hotel and then later claim against the airline all additional expenses such as hotel/taxis/meals.

Last edited by AirlinesMustPay; Oct 12, 2009 at 7:40 PM.
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  #9  
Old Oct 12, 2009, 8:15 PM
Gromit801 Gromit801 is offline
 
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Jim, are you mental or just a troll?

If I buy something from say Sears, and something from Target, I am not going to gripe to Sears about what I bought at Target.

Two separate bookings, two different airlines. If it was one booking through one airline, then the airline has a problem. In this case, the OP decided to split their travel between two different airlines and tickets. Virgin has no responsibility for what the problems caused by the other airline.
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  #10  
Old Oct 12, 2009, 9:08 PM
AirlinesMustPay AirlinesMustPay is offline
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Originally Posted by Gromit801 View Post
Virgin has no responsibility for what the problems caused by the other airline.

Virgin is in breach of its contract with the OP. They enter a contract for a specified flight between two specified points. Virgin changed the flight putting it in breach of the contract. Based on that change the OP will no longer reach in time for his flight on the other airline.

To decide if Virgin is responsible for the loss to the OP, the question is, Is it within the contemplation of Virgin that when they changed his flight he may be late for another flight? If the making of a connecting flight is something that is outside of the reasonable contemplation of the airline making the change, then it is not liable. I cannot see that any Judge (if this went to court) would think that is it outside of the reasonable contemplation of an airline who unilaterally changed a passenger's flight, that he might miss his connection albeit on another airline. The making of connections is an everyday occurrence in the airline industry. It has to be within the contemplation of any airline that if changes are made, a passenger will lose a connection. But it does not end there.

A passenger must take reasonable steps to minimise his loss. He has advance notice of Virgin's change. Can he change the connecting flight? If so he should. Alternatively he may take an earlier flight which it appears is being offered. However this comes with incurring hotel and related expenses which did not come through his fault. So to whose door should this additional expense be placed. The passenger who is not at fault, or the airline who made the change after entering a contract for one flight?

An easy question with an easy answer.

It is not only the law, it is plain simple common sense.
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  #11  
Old Oct 12, 2009, 9:26 PM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
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From Virgin Australia's Conditions of Contract:

Quote:
4. V Australia undertakes to use its best efforts to carry You and Your Baggage in accordance with Your Ticket or Itinerary/Receipt. However, times shown in timetables or elsewhere are not guaranteed and form no part of this contract. V Australia may without notice substitute alternate airlines or aircraft, and may alter or omit stopping places shown on the ticket in case of necessity. Schedules are subject to change without notice. V Australia assumes no responsibility for making connections.
(emphasis mine)
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  #12  
Old Oct 12, 2009, 10:26 PM
AirlinesMustPay AirlinesMustPay is offline
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Originally Posted by PHXFlyer View Post
From Virgin Australia's Conditions of Contract:



(emphasis mine)

I have already dealt with those conditions of carriage printed on tickets. They provide no defence to the airline.

Words printed on a ticket given to a customer after the purchase do not bind the customer. This is clearly established law. You can ask your granddaddy if you like PHX.

A contract is made when people agree. In some situations they both sign a printed contract. Now the passenger does not sign the ticket. If I go to an airline ticket counter, I ask the price of a flight, and the agent quotes it. If I accept, I pay. The contract is concluded here. The ticket is handed to me after. It is only if its terms were brought to my attention before I paid and I agreed to them, then i could have been said to be bound by them.

This applies to many kinds of contracts where the merchant tries to rely on printed conditions on tickets issued after payment. I have already referred in another thread to the case of Lisi v Alitalia.

The principle has been applied In England where a hotel guest lost valuables from his room and the hotel sought to rely on a notice at the back of his door saying the hotel was not liable for losses from the room. The Court found that when the guest signed the hotel register, he had obligated himself to pay for the room and the contract was entered into then. What the hotel should do is to post a notice at the reception area saying that safety deposit boxes are availalble and that the hotel was not liable for loss of valuables from the room

Again it was applied by the House of Lords, the highest court in England where a vehicle was damaged in a ferry crossing. The ferry owners relied on writing at the back of the ticket given to the driver when he paid, and just before he drove on to the ferry. Again the Court found that the ferry owner could not rely on writing on the ticket which said that the ferry owners were not liable for damage to vehicles while on the ferry. In this case the court said the writing in a catalog is not sufficient notice to the passenger. Writing on a website likewise will be like writing in a catalog in the old days.

I would like to hear someone say, "I asked my granddaddy who is a lawyer and he said that there is no such principle of law." All lawyers know of it.

Why do airlines continue to use these printed conditions on tickets? One poster, Airhead, has been telling us over and over the past few days that the airline he worked for lied outright to him about what was the law. We are not listening. Airlines have no problem in fooling customers. Those words are there to fool passengers. When the passenger complains, the agent says, look at your ticket. The passenger says, "Oops I really didn't read it. Its my fault"

Airlines know full well that those conditions of carriage printed on tickets are not valid unless they have been accepted and agreed to by the passenger.

Last edited by AirlinesMustPay; Oct 12, 2009 at 10:30 PM.
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Old Oct 12, 2009, 11:35 PM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
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There you go quoting a case that is ancient, was a split decision in the Supreme Court, and can no longer be used as precedent since other cases have superceded it. Most ticket purchases are done online. Before one purchases a ticket one is required to agree to all terms and conditions by ticking off a box which reads something like this: (Using Continental Airlines verbiage as an example)

Quote:
Purchase of this ticket means you agree to all fare rules associated with this non-refundable ticket and the terms and conditions in Continental's contract of carriage.
If one doesn't indicate agreement then the purchase does not go through. If one chooses not to read the fare rules and contract of carriage (hyper-links are provided for both) then it's the fault of the purchaser for agreeing to terms which he or she has not read.
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Old Oct 12, 2009, 11:49 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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Gromit..

Are you just a troll, mental or can't you read?

I never said that Virgin were responsible for the actions of another airline..so the Sears Target analogy is ridiculous and completely irrelevant.

I said that Virgin were responsible for their failure to deliver the contracted service and was therefore responsible for the consequent losses. The other airlines did not breach their contract, Virgin did. Do you get it yet Gromit?

Phx

The concert analogy you describe is more like this. You book to see Madonna on a Thursday. Without notifying you, the day before you check online and find the Madonna concert has been rescheduled to Friday night. You call up.. they offer, as a "courtesy" a free transfer to the Friday concert. This doesn't suit, so they offer you vouchers for another concert, to be used within the next 12 months or your lose your money.

That would be outrageous.. especially as Madonna has no plans to come back to Phoenix, and you only wanted to go so you could do vogue poses in the aisles and Celine Dion is just not the same.
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Old Oct 13, 2009, 12:15 AM
AirlinesMustPay AirlinesMustPay is offline
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Originally Posted by PHXFlyer View Post
There you go quoting a case that is ancient, was a split decision in the Supreme Court, and can no longer be used as precedent since other cases have superceded it. Most ticket purchases are done online. Before one purchases a ticket one is required to agree to all terms and conditions by ticking off a box which reads something like this: (Using Continental Airlines verbiage as an example)



If one doesn't indicate agreement then the purchase does not go through. If one chooses not to read the fare rules and contract of carriage (hyper-links are provided for both) then it's the fault of the purchaser for agreeing to terms which he or she has not read.

Lisi v Alitalia was never overruled. It was a Court of Appeals decision. When it went to the Supreme Court it was a 4-4 split decision as one of the 9 judges had to abstain. As a result, the Supreme Court had to uphold the decision and it remains good law.

Perhaps you will let me know of the later case that superceded it. There have been later cases that have referred to it and said that in the context of the Warsaw convention, the fact that the writing on the ticket is not brought to the attention of the passenger, would not invalidate the Convention provisions because the Convention must be followed. However insofar as the case found that writing on the ticket that is not brought to the attention of the passenger, will not bind the passenger, that remains good law until today.

With regard to the clicking on the box for internet purchases, the conditions again will not bind the passenger unless they are clearly before the purchaser either when or before he clicks the box. The conditions must be before him at the time otherwise that clicking on the box to allow the transaction to to through will not bind him. On some airline websites, you can make the booking and then next day go to the airline ticket office and pay for and receive the ticket. No clicking of any box. The conditions are on what they hand you after you pay. Are you saying that the position of the passenger who sits in his home and clicks the box to agree and pays for the ticket and prints it on his printer, is any different to the passenger who makes his reservation on the internet then goes to the airline office the next day and is handed something after he pays?

This principle was again expressed in the notice on the hotel room door case I refered to earlier which was Olley v Malborough Court which is good law today, never having been overruled. It is available on the internet and you should read it. This is a 1949 case and still good law. case law does not get worse with age. Some judges take the view that if the principles have stood so long and not been overruled, they become stronger with time, unless one can show that they have become so inapplicable with the passage of time that they can no longer stand. This principle of the invalidity of writing on a ticket, are to be found in the most recent texts on contract law.

Just consider this. Article 19 of the Warsaw convention provides:
"The carrier is liable for delay in the carriage occasioned by delay ..."

These conditions of carriage are printed on those international tickets for which the Warsaw convention apply. If it was that dates and times are not part of the contract, there would be nothing like "delay" which is word that must refer to some scheduled date and time, and if that writing wa valid it would make a nonsense of the Warsaw Convention.

Further a court deciding this issue would look at what is expected by passengers. When I turn up for a flight, do I expect to be told to come back tomorrow because the date was not part of the contract? What if I turned up the day after the date on the ticket, would the agent tell me, "Sure you can travel, because we all know dates and times are not part of the contract," Most likely I would lose the ticket altogether.

Just ask your granddaddy or that dear old judge. Or if they are not here today, just go into any legal bookshop and pretend you are a lawyer perusing a book and pick up a contract law text and look in the index for "Terms of a contract" or "Standard form" contract.
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Old Oct 13, 2009, 6:29 AM
AirlinesMustPay AirlinesMustPay is offline
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Take a look at this excerpt from page 76 of "The Warsaw Convention Annotated" by Goldhirsch, a 1988 work.

"The Standard clause in tickets today usually states:
The carrier undertakes to use its best efforts to carry the passenger and baggage with reasonable dispatch. Times shown in the timetable or elsewhere are not guaranteed and form no part of this contract

"By including such no time clauses, carriers seek to exonerate themselves from arriving at the scheduled time. Such clauses are in in violation of Article 23 .... Courts have usually agreed that these clauses are not valid for long delays."

Goldhirsch's book is available in full on the internet and you may want to read it. He refers to a number of cases where courts have dealt with that contract of carriage

Last edited by AirlinesMustPay; Oct 13, 2009 at 6:32 AM.
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Old Oct 13, 2009, 7:34 AM
AirlinesMustPay AirlinesMustPay is offline
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An informative decision from the New York small claims court is McMurray v Capitol International Airways [1980] 424 N.Y.S. 2d 88. McMurray purchased two tickets for himself and his wife from Brussels to New York for a total price of US$300. Upon presenting himself in the airport in Brussels for his flight he was told by Capitol that his flight was cancelled due to engine trouble and all other Capitol flights that day to New York were filled to capacity. McMurray then immediately booked an Air France flight from Brussels to New York for himself and his wife at a cost of US$1065. He sued Capitol in New York small claims court for the $1065.

Capitol relied on the same conditions of carriage, which is now being touted as binding, which it had filed with the Civil Aeronautics Board which exempted it from liability, except that it was willing to refund the $300 ticket price.

The Court found that McMurray could not be expected to "languish in a hotel until a Capitol flight became available" and acted correctly to travel on Air France albeit at the much higher fare.

What the airline was doing, the court said was "the equivalent of stranding American citizens abroad, and cannot be tolerated."

In giving judgment for the Plaintiffs of $1,000 (the maximum then allowed for small claims in New York), provided they returned the unused Capitol tickets, the Judge added: "It is high time however that airlines begin to assume the obligations of responsible businessmen."
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Old Oct 13, 2009, 1:02 PM
mars6423 mars6423 is offline
 
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sounds like we are back to where we were in another post

it isn't a breach, if the tickets were booked SEPARATELY than it would be as though Virgin Australia would have no idea about the connections, they are not liable for the passangers not making the connections if they were not in the same booking referance, and it is NOT a breach (yet again) as we all know that flight schedules due change, and it says so in the conditions of the contract (even you cant deny that)

They even offered to have the passengers fly the previous day, yeah it would mean that they would have to buy an extra night in a hotel, but due to the fact that they booked the domestic flights seperately from the Virgin Australia flights than the airline does not see them as connected, thus therefor do not require to pay for a hotel room or anything since they did what it was said in the contract (getting them to their final destination-according to the contract)

that case you keep refereing to has been changed/editted and is not very applicable in todays practice, as the industry has gone through drastic change and new laws have been in place to protect everyone

either way the passenger agreed to the terms and conditions by accepting the contract by purchusing the tickets, it is the passengers responsibility to read what it says
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