Old Jan 31, 2008, 1:09 AM
jimrdwarrior jimrdwarrior is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1
Unhappy Virgin Atlantic: burn and shabby treatment

this is long - they totally ignored us.....and continue to do so......unless you have lot's of money to fight them with you get no response!

TO: Linda Thorpe, Claims Manager

Dear Ms. Thorpe Thank you for your response. This has been a very difficult time for my parents. They request that all communications concerning this matter be directed to me. As you can imagine, this incident and the impact it had on their “once in a lifetime” vacation was devastating. They want to put all this behind them and any calls/correspondence will be upsetting. This terrible painful burn ruined their once in a lifetime trip. This was the 1st (and probably only time) for my father to see Europe. It was his 80th birthday celebration trip. My parents saved up to take this trip. They also knew that they needed help to take this trip which is why they brought my sister and me….. To be there to help them. There was no question that they could not take a trip without assistance.

You asked for a description of this accident. I did not witness it. My father indicates hot tea was spilled on him and starting burning. He dumped cool water on it immediately hoping to prevent further burn/damage. The Tea temperature was much too hot…… for it to cause this terrible of a burn. A Male Flight attendant recorded it. We were told an Incident Report was filed. The attendant showed us the form but did not give us a copy. He was very nice and seemed genuinely very concerned.

You stated that the temperature of the water machines is preset so burns such as this will not occur. I have no doubt any business would do this. Unfortunately equipment does malfunction and employees do make mistakes. Regardless of why it happened, it did happen…and we all feel Virgin Atlantic could have prevented it.

Your own records should show the multiple requests made prior to our departure date….and when checking in, that the family needed to sit together. I was frank with reservations agents etc. that my parents need extra assistance. I was told repeatedly that Virgin Atlantic keeps families seated together and that we would be seated together when checking in. I was told ….”No problem”.

My Parents are not experienced travelers. My sister and I were afraid of leaving them to sit by themselves and away from us….for even a few minutes but we had no choice. If seated together as requested (and told by Virgin Atlantic we would be) we could have prevented this whole horrible accident. We needed to all sit together but were told on check-in that no 4 seats together were available and the best Virgin Atlantic could do was 2 and 2. After boarding and prior to takeoff I asked again about 4 seats together in economy-plus possibly (as I saw empty seats) and informing the flight attendant that we were suppose to sit together and why. Instead of help or concern, she insulted me. (A female flight attendant with light brown or dark blond hair). She said we were in economy class and could not move because we didn’t spend $1600 per ticket to sit somewhere else. She acted as if our needs were of no importance….no matter what…because of the price of our tickets.

Sometime after the burn my sister and I were located. I don’t know how the attendants determined that my sister and I were on this flight but I think the passenger next to my father informed them. This passenger will recall this whole incident VERY well. She was really helpful. (I know Virgin Atlantic has to provide her name if Discovery is requested). This passenger knew how concerned my sister and I were.

The flight attendants and this passenger located us and informed us of the accident. Everyone seemed nice and very concerned. The flight attendants wrapped the foot well. They recommended he seek immediate medical attention when we land at Heathrow Airport. If Virgin Atlantic had arranged for help for when we landed (and as expected) we could have convinced my father (who is stoic and difficult) to seek the medical advice Virgin Atlantic recommended (and that he really needed). Unfortunately we were not even offered assistance off the plane. My father had difficulty even walking to the gate. In addition, the medication the flight attendant gave him for pain made him groggy and sleepy. He was disorientated. I do appreciate that there was something to give him for pain because he was complaining about how PAINFUL the burn was.

This was a missed opportunity to have prevented suffering and to having the burn properly attended to. We could have avoided some of the pain, suffering and concern that the whole family had to contend with. If an airport/Virgin attendant with a wheelchair was waiting (as I’ve seen so many times because I’m a very frequent traveler), then instructed to take him right to the Heathrow medical clinic, my father would have gone without question. I still find it hard to comprehend that Virgin left us with NO HELP, not even to get off the plane after 6-7 hours….. Of course my father just wanted to go to the hotel because he needed to get off the foot. My family tried to have my father get medical attention. He resisted medical care because he was in a foreign country, even though he was having pain and difficulty ambulating. This burn incident made us all sick with worry. He would only let us see the bandage - soaked through with yellowish drainage. He would not let us unwrap it. We purchased analgesics, topical antibiotic’s and sterile dressing many times during the trip, which probably prevented an infection that could have led to amputation….or worse...….given his age, poor circulation issues and heart problems. (He is having heart valve replacement surgery in the next approx. 6 months). We specifically took this trip prior to surgery because of the possibility that he would be unable to travel again.

We stayed in moderately expensive lodging for the whole trip. We have plenty of documentation for everything. While no MD visit was made, we have many, many people we encountered during trip who are aware of our difficulties because of the Virgin Atlantic burn. We avoided negative statements about Virgin Atlantic (even with our less than acceptable treatment….prior to and then after the incident).

We had to take large taxis and town cars everywhere because my father could not let anything touch the foot. His foot could not be hit/bumped etc. without causing extreme pain and problems. Think about how painful burns are!

Our return flight:

As your records show, we returned to US on Virgin VO 013 on 10/19.
We requested help (over 7 days in advance) through Virgin at Heathrow for our return flight, again…no help. I was VERY disappointed!! A reservations attendant at the desk in Heathrow was able to sit us together on return when I explained what happened on the flight over to the UK.

What a difference in my family lifetime vacation if Virgin Atlantic had sat us together (as promised multiple times). Instead, they were more concerned about price per ticket – (according to your own flight attendant - when 4 empty seats were right there) – I know this burn would not have happened had we sat together! Was Virgin’s only concern customers that spent more money on a ticket? Even after promising we would sit together? Is that the reason we were not offered ANY assistance upon landing etc.

My family would like to resolve this matter without a long and protracted legal action.

We don’t doubt that a jury or news agency will be very sympathetic to this whole sorry episode, given all the negative press your industry already attracts. We all saw Richard Branson jumping off the building in Las Vegas while we suffered. Unless records have been erased or destroyed, we are confident that Virgin Atlantics own records will tell the story. We don’t want to think or talk about how my fathers' once in a lifetime vacation was ruined because of a hot tea burn from Virgin Atlantic, or how the treatment following the accident just aggravated a bad situation. We can’t replace the memory of my dad trying to tour the British War Museum because of his own military service (but unfortunately because of his foot burn and pain he could barely see even half of the museum). The burn drained his energy. It was very emotional for him. I guess there is nothing that can ever replace something like this given his age. That’s very upsetting to our family.

This burn was a constant problem during our WHOLE TRIP! You asked for receipts. We have copies of charges from our credit cards, etc. which should suffice. I think it’s easy to determine daily expenses for a family of 4 adults having 2 rooms in London, Scotland, Paris and Dublin (Trains, Planes, Hotels, Cabs etc.).

We want to put this whole sad incident behind us. I don’t know if my father will ever be able to replace this trip….given his age and impending surgery.

We respectfully ask that Virgin Atlantic reimburse us for the cost of this trip for the four family members along with a minimal amount for the pain and loss.

The trip for all four of us costs approximately $21,000.

My sister and I each had to take 2 weeks time off from our employment to travel with our parents. Our family has MANY emails concerning this whole incident from the day that it happened. We have no problems with any DISCOVERY requests.

We have everything. I am sure Virgin Atlantics own records will show our requests for seats together many times prior to the date of departure of Oct 6. I hope we can avoid discovery requests, trials etc. We want to avoid any further legal action and prevent any publicity of any kind. As I stated, most likely my father will be undergoing very serious heart surgery within the next 6 months. Any additional stress on my parents must be avoided.

I am sorry for such a long note. Please contact me ASAP. Subject: Virgin Atlantic Response (1003209)

Our ref: 1003209/CUSCRW/126 October 2007Mr James McPherson88 Park St #45PortlandME 04101UNITED STATES OF AMERICADear Mr McPhersonMany thanks for your e-mail. I'm really sorry I wasn't able to replybefore your return trip.I was very concerned to hear that your father had an accident on our flightto Heathrow.We take your safety on our flights extremely seriously. All our hot waterboilers are thermostatically controlled and switch off before boiling pointso I am sorry that this happened.So I can look into this for you, please send me any medical reports yourfather has. I'd also like to see a breakdown of any expenses incurred as adirect result of the accident, plus copies of any receipts. Can you alsoconfirm how the accident actually happened.I'm sorry again to hear about this accident, and look forward to hearingfrom you.Yours sincerelyLinda ThorpeClaims Manager.....but true........

Last edited by jimrdwarrior; Jan 31, 2008 at 1:12 AM. Reason: phone # address visable
Old Jan 31, 2008, 3:48 PM
Silent Bob Silent Bob is offline
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: NY NY
Posts: 510

I think there should be a note that anyone seeking legal advice, should not post complaints like this on the site as it compromises their case. You're asking to be reimbursed 21,000, but then you also state that your father refused medical assistance even at the request of the crew. If he refused, what can virgin do? And as far as the seating is concerned, which seems to be the heart of the matter, well I think the two and two arrangement should have sufficed and if need be you could always get up and check on them,especially if you are that concerned. I travel with my parents alot too and their health is not so great. At best I make sure they are seated together, and I am in the position where if need be I can assist them. Finally if your plan is to seek legal help, you definitely shouldn't have sent this letter as you state your father refused treatment, since he refused then the entire case becomes moot. But the biggest reason why they did not respond it's because you did not give them what they asked for, which was the medical records and expenses incurred due to the burn. Not the cost of the rooms, cabs, food, etc. That's probably why they did not answer you. Good luck with your case, and please update us on this, i'd like to know how it ends.
Old Feb 26, 2008, 3:28 PM
carla_pop carla_pop is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 2

tut tut virgin!

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