Virgin Atlantic employ Enigma machine in customer services
By sharing this, I'm probably going to get my teeth kicked out before I reach check-in. See, I've been enjoying an email ding-dong with customer services at Virgin Atlantic, after booking a return flight to New York two weeks ago. My gripe is that I booked my flight in a 24 hour window between Virgin announcing a reduction in flight surcharges and the reductions been implemented, hence I paid the full price rather than the reduced price. In my third email, I thought I'd explained my views in a simple and polite manner:
My point is that the price decreases were announced the day before I booked, but were not implemented until the day after I booked. There was a 24 hour window in which prices were due to be lowered but weren't.
Would it not be in the interest of the customer for operators to mention that the airline has announced imminent price cuts when booking, especially when contacting the airline in this 24 hour window?
I constantly go out my way to fly Virgin (it's cheaper and easier for me to travel to Manchester and fly Delta), so I thought that asking for a voucher covering the difference wasn't unreasonable.
Whether or not you think I'm entitled to renumeration isn't the point here, I'm not trying to garner support for a personal issue. What I wanted to share was the response from Virgin Atlantic to the above email. I asked a reasonable, uncomplicated question. After several days of hoping I'd go away, the customer service representative seemingly couldn't be bothered to entertain my complaint any longer. Cue the most impenetrable, least consumer-friendly email I've ever received:
Thank you for your email and apologies for the delayed response.
I would like to inform you that, in exceptional circumstances, charges may be imposed by us which are not taxes, fees or charges levied by the government or by a third party which are not normally applicable to our operations (for example, but not limited to, insurance premium supplements or additional security costs triggered by terrorism). Where such charges relate to carriage of passengers, we shall be entitled to require you to pay, as fare surcharges, all such charges attributable by us to your carriage (even if imposed after the date of issue of your Ticket), save that where the total of all surcharges payable exceeds £50 (or the equivalent amount in the currency used to purchase the ticket), you may choose not to pay and receive an involuntary refund in accordance with the provisions of Article 10.2.
Thank you for contacting Virgin Atlantic.
Contact Centre Customer Service Team
Ask a simple question, get an answer that requires the services of Alan Turing. As far as I can see, the quote doesn't even relate to the issue since I'm not questioning an additional mandatory charge, a concern with insurances premiums or terrorism, nor am I requesting a refund as a result. It's almost as if the rep has cut and paste a random rule into an email in the hope that once and for all, I'll just fuck off.
Thank you, Virgin Atlantic. Delta, here I come.