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  #1  
Old Dec 18, 2012, 5:29 AM
Renato Renato is offline
 
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Angry Virgin Airlines shame on you

My 17 year old son went to Fiji on a schoolies holiday last week. Cyclone Evan was due to hit Fiji the day after my son was due to depart Fiji so he was glad he had a booked flight to leave on that day. When the 500 or so kids on the holiday went to nadi airport to fly home Virgin airlines allocated the seats of 11 kids to Virgin staff and left these 11 kids stranded. These kids had booked this holiday almost 2 years previously and did not expect to be treated in this way by Virgin.
After hours of complaining to Virgin management in Australia and the Tour operator arguing with the Virgin staff in Fiji, the kids were booked on a late flight to Melbourne although they needed to get to Sydney. The kids flew to Melbourne, had to stay overnight in a hotel at their ouw expense, then flew to Sydney the next day.
Shame on Virgin Airlines for nearly leaving 11 kids stranded in Fiji with a cyclone on its way the next day. It is appauling that this Airline put adults ahead of children and took booked seats from children to give to their staff.
  #2  
Old Dec 18, 2012, 6:13 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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If the facts of this case are as you describe, including the seats being allocated to their staff, you should go to the media. This is outrageous....
  #3  
Old Dec 18, 2012, 8:13 AM
Gromit801 Gromit801 is offline
 
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Not disagreeing with you, but curious about one bit here. How did you know the other kids were family members of staff? Not the kind of information that's made public.
  #4  
Old Dec 18, 2012, 10:06 AM
lostinlondon lostinlondon is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Renato View Post
These kids had booked this holiday almost 2 years previously and did not expect to be treated in this way by Virgin.
My understanding is that airline tickets cannot be booked more than 12 months in advance. Can anyone confirm?
When reporting an incident involving overbooking, a similar comment tends to come-up: '' but... I booked my ticket(s) X months before the flight...". Unfortunately, the selection of who to offload in such situations is not linked to the date of purchase but, AFAIK, to the time of check-in, status within the carrier's FFP or even price paid.
  #5  
Old Dec 18, 2012, 10:13 AM
lostinlondon lostinlondon is offline
 
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Question: Was the group late checking-in? My experience (both personal and second-hand) is that airlines offer some sort of compensation and assistance (hotel, food...) when offloading someone from their flight unless the passenger was late. Sounds strange that it was not the case here... Hence my question...
  #6  
Old Dec 20, 2012, 10:15 PM
Renato Renato is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lostinlondon View Post
Question: Was the group late checking-in? My experience (both personal and second-hand) is that airlines offer some sort of compensation and assistance (hotel, food...) when offloading someone from their flight unless the passenger was late. Sounds strange that it was not the case here... Hence my question...
All the kids were at the airport 3 hours before the scheduled flights as they were a large group of around 300 that stayed at Plantation Island. There were so many kids that travelled from Sydney to Nadi and return that Virgin Airlines put on 2 extra flights that duplicated their normal flights both going to Fiji and return and that is why what they did was so wrong.
  #7  
Old Dec 20, 2012, 10:25 PM
Renato Renato is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Gromit801 View Post
Not disagreeing with you, but curious about one bit here. How did you know the other kids were family members of staff? Not the kind of information that's made public.
The people that were given the seats instead of our kids who had paid tickets were Virgin Airlines staff not their kids. I have since spoken to a couple of kids that made the flight and they commented on how there were a lot of Virgin Airlines staff travelling (not working) on the flight back from Fiji to Sydney. The Tour operator who organised the trip and was also negiotiating to get these 11 kids on a flight out of Fiji confirmed that the seats that our 11 kids should have been on were reallocated by Virgin to their staff in lieu of the cyclone.
  #8  
Old Dec 20, 2012, 10:34 PM
Renato Renato is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lostinlondon View Post
My understanding is that airline tickets cannot be booked more than 12 months in advance. Can anyone confirm?
When reporting an incident involving overbooking, a similar comment tends to come-up: '' but... I booked my ticket(s) X months before the flight...". Unfortunately, the selection of who to offload in such situations is not linked to the date of purchase but, AFAIK, to the time of check-in, status within the carrier's FFP or even price paid.
I cannot confirm when the tickets were actually purchased as we booked the package through a tour opperator called Unleashed Travel. Most of the bookings along with payment were made in May 2011 for travel in December 2012. Unleashed Travel negioted with Virgin Airlines to put on 2 extra flights to Fiji and return because there were 300+ kids booked on this package. The Tour Operator was in Fiji personally trying to get these 11 kids on flights as well and he was totally disgusted with what Virgin Airlines had done.
  #9  
Old Dec 21, 2012, 12:58 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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You should consider suing... if you incurrred extra expense for a confirmed booking you should be entitled to the additional costs. Go to the media...kids stranded on an island as cyclone approaches, whilst Virgin staff abandon their posts is a good story!!
  #10  
Old Dec 21, 2012, 1:49 AM
Renato Renato is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimworcs View Post
You should consider suing... if you incurrred extra expense for a confirmed booking you should be entitled to the additional costs. Go to the media...kids stranded on an island as cyclone approaches, whilst Virgin staff abandon their posts is a good story!!
Luckily our only extra expense was 50% of a hotel room for one night and some phone calls to Fiji. But we have contacted the media and have received some mixed responses so we will see how that goes.
  #11  
Old Dec 21, 2012, 10:36 AM
lostinlondon lostinlondon is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Renato View Post
Luckily our only extra expense was 50% of a hotel room for one night and some phone calls to Fiji. But we have contacted the media and have received some mixed responses so we will see how that goes.
Sounds bad for the kids... Before going to the High Court, the media or the Pope as some on this forum always recommend, why don't you contact Virgin with a factual, non-emotional claim listing whatever expenses you incurred and your expectations? You might find that this approach works quite well with most businesses... Posting on their FB page is also a good option. Now if they give you the run-around, then you can consider further action.
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