a bed in a plane

Airlines are scrambling right now, and it’s not getting any better, any time fast.

While some have chosen to block or hide customers right to refund, others are getting creative – giving passengers a reason to help keep the airlines cash flowing. Aer Lingus kicked it off with a 10% boost to your ticket value, and now Virgin Atlantic is adding a gamified element, with unique offers for each type of ticket, if you go for the voucher.

For European airlines, the rules are quite simple. If your flight is cancelled by the airline, you are entitled to a full refund. Obviously, in a time of crisis, the airlines would love for customers to take the voucher option, for future travel.

If you are comfortable enough financially to do so, it can be a nice way to support an airline through tough times, if you’re a fan.

a couple of men standing in front of a large airplaneVirgin Atlantic was already one of the better actors in this saga, with clear rights to refund on their website, and more flexible re-booking options than most, including waived fare difference in some circumstances, in addition to waived change fees, but now they mean business.

The airline has quietly rolled out a series of incentives to keep customers from withdrawing cash, including upgrades, extra miles and even money to spend at the airport. Passengers are receiving offers based on their current booking class. One reader messaged this morning to note their booking in economy was offered…

  • an upgrade to economy delight
  • 4,000 bonus miles per person, per flight
  • £25 voucher to spend at the airport

a seat with a screen on itIf you have an Upper Class, or Premium booking that’s been cancelled for travel within the next 72 hours, it’s absolutely worth using the text, WhatsApp or call center to see what Virgin is offering for your booking.

To get passengers back into the skies later this year, rock bottom fares are expected, and having an upgrade, extra miles and other perks is valuable, particularly if you can find the same fare, or better yet, one even lower!

It’ll be really interesting to see what sort of offers are being dished out for Premium and Upper Class, so please leave a comment with the offers you receive! Passengers will always remember how they were treated during these times, and it’s nice to see another airline taking a positive approach to hard times.

Curious who’s been naughty, and who’s been nice with refunds? Here’s the master list.

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. Not buying Virgin Atlantic is one of the good guys……….they have refused to answer my request to cancel a mileage ticket on ANA and return the miles. It is ridiculous to keep saying only if my flight is within 72 hours………..no more miles transfers to Virgin for me!

  2. It would be nice if they could simply be transparent upfront. Navigating the crap virgin Atlantic website is constantly infuriating. They just have some generic “we are here to help” rubbish on their site.

    Unless Richard Branson puts a lot more than 250 million into the airline it’s looking like they will be in administration within 3 months. I am already thinking about cashing out my points stash to Eurostar.

  3. Is Virgin Atlantic obliged to notify me when I become entitled to a voucher (i.e. have spent over £19k on a Virgin Atlantic + credit card? ) I passed this mark several months, ago, but heard nothing at the time or since. Also, does the entitlement to this voucher expire, and if so, when?

  4. Today I redeemed a travel voucher for an upper class return ticket that was meant to fly in January. Received my travel voucher and an extra £240 per ticket as a gift.

  5. On Jan 16, 2020 I booked a flight with Virgin Atlantic for October, 2020. San Francisco to LHR non stop. Booking reference: DZ3PYT.

    The flight was cancelled by Virgin Atlantic due to Covid. As the same event for which I had planned the trip has been rescheduled I have reserved new flight for 26 Aug. 2022. Booking reference CIIXLV . Can I still apply the $921, or can I have a refund for the cancelled flight?

    I paid $941

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