the tail of an airplane

There are plenty of airline stories which start with an airline losing a bag. Sometimes it’s their fault, sometimes it’s not – but it’s always the things that happen next which you remember most. It’s these things that ultimately determine whether it all ends up a funny holiday story, or a nightmare from hell, which ruins the trip. A kind reader got in touch this week to share a story of the former kind. Not only did Virgin handle things well, they made things personal.

A reader shared their first hand personal experience regarding the delayed arrival of her bag from a Virgin Atlantic flight to Barbados, and the story really made me smile.

a body of water with trees and a beachUpon landing in Bridgetown, the passenger was told that the bag did not make it onto the flight and wouldn’t be rejoining her for 28 hours. Now, this might not be the biggest thing in the world for many, but this person had endured a double mastectomy, and had very specific clothes for the trip, and limited time to enjoy the island.

It’s safe to say many people would be quite upset, and like anyone displaced from their luggage and essentials, the reader was initially gutted, but as Forrest Gump says “it happens”.

Following protocol, she was encouraged to purchase necessary clothing and essentials and did so, picking up items which allowed her to enjoy the trip with confidence. With many airline stories you hear this part, and then the battle actually begins. Some expenses are approved, others denied, and ultimately many weeks must pass before any money is recovered. Not this time!

With the first call to Virgin Atlantic customer service, not the 15th try, the Virgin Atlantic rep approved the expense claims and expedited the money without even being asked. They understood the nature of why this meant so much to the passenger, why this made for an awkward few hours and made sure to handle things the way they’d want to be treated. Why can’t that happen more often in the airline world?

the tail of an airplaneBut really, it’s the last bit that gets me on a personal level. Anyone who knows someone who’s been through a double mastectomy knows that there’s a lot of heart in that soul, and this Virgin Atlantic rep named Mollie proactively sent the passenger flowers to apologise, and a few miles as a gesture of good will.

Sure, this is one data point – but it’s a rare one, which brought a smile to my face. I’ve long said that I don’t care if I get what I deserve if I’ve had to jump through 50 hoops to get there. By that point, my opinion of the airline, hotel or travel experience is ruined. This is such a refreshing instance where the airline took responsibility immediately, and did everything in its power to make things right the first time.

Virgin Atlantinc once sent ME flowers, after American Airlines bashed my knees at high speed with a beverage cart. But that’s another story for another day…

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Great comparison between your getting bumped by a beverage cart and a presumably cancer survivor who got a double mastectomy. Knob

  2. When I recently went on a Virgin holiday in a very inferior aircraft VIRGIN did everything they possibly could not compensate me, instead went out of there way to blame me.
    It was only when I took it to Arbitration the arbiter found in my favour and agreed to my claim 100%
    So much for VIRGIN care.
    They will only do anything if it promotes their wonderful image not customer care

  3. Wow Tom that was a really weird thing to say – said the partner of someone going through chemotherapy.

  4. Virgin care???? HAHAH don’t make me laugh. Passed from pillar to post and no one cares about luggage. Waiting for it to be delivered for nearly a week. Only travelled from LHR to JFK. They lost all caring possibilities.

  5. It’s just for promotion. Virgin do not give 2 craps about their customer. I know, I’ve flown with them every month for 7 years straight, gathering more then half a million miles. So im more in better state to say this. Total scum and ill intentions behind their every move.

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