While I must concede that Virgin America offers competitive prices, great amenities, and friendly flight attendants, I was horrified by my recent interaction with their customer service.
In July, I purchased two tickets for my fiancée and myself for a LAX-JFK roundtrip flight. This was a particularly important trip for me because I needed to attend a wedding.
About a week prior to our flight, my fiancée realized that she could not make the trip. I quickly called the customer service line. The representative said that we could cancel my fiancée's flight online after the representative split the tickets into two confirmation numbers. Following instructions, we cancelled my fiancee's ticket through her Elevate account.
The night before my flight, I logged into my Elevate account to discover that I had no ticket! To see if there was a mistake, my fiancée logged into her Elevate account and confirmed she had no ticket as well. Confused, we called the customer service line.
Lourdes answered and said that my fiancée had cancelled my ticket, therefore she had a flight but I did not. I asked, how is it possible that my ticket was cancelled through my fiancée's account? Could this be a glitch with the Elevate site or with the splitting of the confirmation numbers? Lourdes would not discuss these possibilities and only offered to refund my ticket with credit so that I could rebook at an enormously marked-up price.
I could not accept this. Having followed instructions on how to cancel my fiancee’s flight, I know that we did not make a mistake. In addition, couldn't my fiancee's ticket transfer to me? After all, it seemed like there was a mix-up.
Lourdes was getting impatient and I was frustrated, so I asked for the supervisor. After a long painful discussion, I finally reached the supervisor, but was completely shocked by what came next. Charlie picked up the phone and blatantly accused me of making a mistake. He threatened me with a very rude and completely unprofessional ultimatum: either accept a $30 increase in fare or credit refund or he would hang up.
Left with no choice, I accepted the $30 price hike and ended the call. Charlie was condescending and knew I had no choice the night before a major flight. However, what Charlie did not know was that I HAD a choice. If I knew things would turn out this way, I would definitely not have flown with Virgin America.
How can Lourdes or other employees value customer service if Charlie does not? The supervisor is supposed to set an example.
This was my worst customer service experience ever. Virgin America has much going for it… but it needs to seriously improve its customer service before it loses all its customers in this competitive airline market.