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Virgin Atlantic COVID-19 Cancellations and related issues

Virgin Atlantic COVID-19 Cancellations and related issues

Old Mar 16, 20, 2:32 am
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Virgin Atlantic COVID-19 Cancellations and related issues

... just this. As of the time of writing VS have not announced the cancellation of any flights to the USA from UK. Not even the ones tomorrow (Tuesday 17 March) have been cancelled. They've stopped selling tickets on them but they've not cancelled them. Their refund policy is also out of date and currently only allows refunds for those affected by the Schengen travel ban. Is this just Virgin being slow or is there something more underhand at play here? When passengers are asking for refunds on Twitter for their flights (because of the UK to USA travel ban) Virgin are saying that they will change for free subject to any fare difference and pointing them towards a refund policy that makes no mention of the travel ban. Part of me thinks they're trying to get as many passengers as possible to change so that they then don't have to refund them and will announce cancellations at the eleventh hour.

Thoughts?
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Old Mar 16, 20, 3:45 am
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How about they are still operating their flights because there are still thousands of thousands of people who still need to get back home to the US and back home to Europe.


And let's give airlines a break. This is a very fast moving situation and it's hard to plan anything when Governments just impose things without any consultation or warning and then change their minds a couple of days later.
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Old Mar 16, 20, 3:53 am
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Originally Posted by UKtravelbear View Post
How about they are still operating their flights because there are still thousands of thousands of people who still need to get back home to the US and back home to Europe.


And let's give airlines a break. This is a very fast moving situation and it's hard to plan anything when Governments just impose things without any consultation or warning and then change their minds a couple of days later.
Couldn't have said it better myself.
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Old Mar 16, 20, 3:55 am
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Most flights are packed with people trying to get home from holidays or business trips. With this much disruption, some airlines are sending special flights just to bring people home.
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Old Mar 16, 20, 4:00 am
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Originally Posted by UKtravelbear View Post
How about they are still operating their flights because there are still thousands of thousands of people who still need to get back home to the US and back home to Europe.


And let's give airlines a break. This is a very fast moving situation and it's hard to plan anything when Governments just impose things without any consultation or warning and then change their minds a couple of days later.
I agree with that sentiment but US citizens returning to the USA from the UK cannot even fly into an airport like MCO - they've got to go through one of the 13 funnel airports. Taking MCO as an example; US citizens can't fly into that airport and neither can UK citizens. Who is left to travel on a flight like this that hasn't been cancelled? If BA can manage to cancel their flights for tomorrow and Wednesday then I don't see why it's so difficult for VS.
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Old Mar 16, 20, 4:55 am
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Originally Posted by CommanderB View Post
Couldn't have said it better myself.
You probably couldn't have said it better but that's not the point.
Obviously, there will be passengers who will be allowed through immigration when they get to the US and will want the flight to go ahead.
AS a UK citizen, I will not be allowed in since Trump issued the updated travel advisory including UK and Ireland in the list of excluded nationals.
I'm booked onto a flight to MIA at 10:010 tomorrow (17th) which, being less than 24 hours away, is now open for check in.
I've tried checking in but get a message that says I will need to check in at the airport.
Since I live in Cheshire, this means that I will have to travel down tonight, pay for a hotel and take my luggage to the airport just to be told that I can't fly.
If I don't show, I will not be able to claim a refund.
If Virgin cancelled my ticket (not necessarily the flight), it would save me from the travel today and tomorrow, would allow me to cancel my 2 weeks accommodation and airport transfers with a glimmer of hope for getting some kind of refund.
I've spent 4 hours on the phone and tried SMS and twitter but all to no avail.
No doubt there are several hundred other people on tomorrow's flights in similar predicaments so I agree with the OP.
Something is not right here.
Virgin Atlantic should take clear action, their website should contain up to date information, that information should not be ambiguous ("we are currently evaluating what this means" is not very helpful). Other airlines are doing this in a much better way.
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Old Mar 16, 20, 5:00 am
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BA is BA and VS is VS and AA is AA etc etc etc

Just because one airline does something does not mean they all should do exactly the same,
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Old Mar 16, 20, 5:08 am
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Originally Posted by jp-mco View Post
I agree with that sentiment but US citizens returning to the USA from the UK cannot even fly into an airport like MCO - they've got to go through one of the 13 funnel airports. Taking MCO as an example; US citizens can't fly into that airport and neither can UK citizens. Who is left to travel on a flight like this that hasn't been cancelled? If BA can manage to cancel their flights for tomorrow and Wednesday then I don't see why it's so difficult for VS.
Maybe there are lots of Brits who wish/need to go home from Mickey Mouse?
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Old Mar 16, 20, 5:18 am
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Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
Maybe there are lots of Brits who wish/need to go home from Mickey Mouse?
And there are a handful of human beings trying to figure it all out, who are far too swamped with work and concerns over their jobs and the health of their own families to worry about criticisms on FT from people who are safe at home...
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Old Mar 16, 20, 5:20 am
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Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
Maybe there are lots of Brits who wish/need to go home from Mickey Mouse?
That doesn't have anything to do with the outbound does it? Are you seriously thinking Virgin are going to run an outbound from LGW/MAN to MCO that's empty and not cancelled? Maybe they are but it just seems like an odd strategy given that BA has cancelled their outbound flights.
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Old Mar 16, 20, 5:22 am
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Originally Posted by jp-mco View Post
That doesn't have anything to do with the outbound does it? Are you seriously thinking Virgin are going to run an outbound from LGW/MAN to MCO that's empty and not cancelled? Maybe they are but it just seems like an odd strategy given that BA has cancelled their outbound flights.
I don't know what VS's strategy is, but I do know that LH has just sent out a bunch of empty planes to repatriate people from all corners of the world, expecting to bring home about 5,000 affected travellers.
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Old Mar 16, 20, 5:30 am
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Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
I don't know what VS's strategy is, but I do know that LH has just sent out a bunch of empty planes to repatriate people from all corners of the world, expecting to bring home about 5,000 affected travellers.
That's amazing that they're doing that but I'm guessing as they were empty outbound they wouldn't have been flights you could actually buy or be booked onto (ie. cancelled). It's just seems like an odd way of dealing with it - surely you just cancel the flight, issue refunds and move on. I wonder if they've run out of money.
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Old Mar 16, 20, 5:39 am
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Overnight Disney World has announced that it's closing all its hotels on Friday, contrary to what they had announced previously (parks closed but hotels open). So at the very least all the Virgin Holidays customers who are there need to be brought home, or VH will be responsible for finding alternative accommodations for all of them. And that's not counting all the ones who are staying in non-Disney hotels that will likely close soon or already have. Then add in the non-VH but just VS customers who need to be taken care of. Don't forget that under EU261 airlines have to pay for accommodations, food, and transportation if they cancel flights, even in a force majeure case such as this. At this point none of us know how long this is going to take so it may very well be more cost effective for VS to fly the outbounds empty and bring everyone home than to have to pay to extend all their passengers' stays for who knows how long.
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Old Mar 16, 20, 5:40 am
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Originally Posted by jp-mco View Post
That's amazing that they're doing that but I'm guessing as they were empty outbound they wouldn't have been flights you could actually buy or be booked onto (ie. cancelled). It's just seems like an odd way of dealing with it - surely you just cancel the flight, issue refunds and move on. I wonder if they've run out of money.
All airlines have a duty to fulfil their contract, i.e. get you home, and if not then they need to give you another option. So yes, it is quite easily understandable that ferry flights out empty will be common even to the USA, so that people can be returned to the UK. This is why VS's schedule looks like it is still happening - but behind the scenes I am sure they are figuring out exactly how many flights are needed to what destination so they can do it as optimally as they can.
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Old Mar 16, 20, 5:45 am
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Originally Posted by jp-mco View Post
That's amazing that they're doing that but I'm guessing as they were empty outbound they wouldn't have been flights you could actually buy or be booked onto (ie. cancelled). It's just seems like an odd way of dealing with it - surely you just cancel the flight, issue refunds and move on. I wonder if they've run out of money.
Presumably people at the other end of a lot of VS's destinations have now accelerated their return home dates, or were otherwise due to travel back. Sure, the outbound flight to MCO will probably be empty, but how else do people get home? There probably are limited options as international flights are being grounded.
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