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Virgin Atlantic no cancellation notice

We have had our tickets since last fall. We were not canceled for our Sept 2020 flights but told we had open seating and could start booking in Sept. We did not know about the bankruptcy. We do have travel insurance but don't know they would pay due to COVID. Should we be requesting a refund now from VA?
Thank you,
Amie

Posted by
3903 posts

It's hard to understand what your situation is from what is written. If I understand correctly, the flight was schedule to operate in September, correct? I don't understand how open seating applies to your situation.

Did you buy the ticket directly from Virgin Atlantic? If yes, the answer below applies. If you bought from a third party, things will be more complicated.

Did you cancel your ticket before the flight was canceled? Or did Virgin Atlantic cancel a flight for which you were holding a valid ticket?

If you canceled first, you are at the mercy of the airline. If VA canceled a flight for which you were holding a valid ticket, then definitely request a refund from VA. Some airlines (VA being one) have not been so forthcoming with refunds and will offer a credit instead. If that is acceptable to you, fine. If not, be diligent about stating you want a refund. If VA does not agree to do that and if you live in the US, some ticket holders have found success with pursuing a chargeback on the credit card with which the ticket was paid on the grounds that the airline did not provide the service it agreed to provide at the time of purchase but you are required to try to work things out with the airline/"merchant" first before initiating a charge back. Document and include any communication from the merchant/airline with your chargeback request.

Posted by
34 posts

We did not cancel and neither did Virgin. I called to cancel but was told our tickets were open and we could rebook starting Sept 21 2020. Virgin has kept us up with emails but never canceled us.

Posted by
3903 posts

Okay, I think I understand. You called to cancel the flight before the date of the flight, correct? I assume this included you saying something about not being able to travel to Europe due to COVID-19 or something like that. The phone agent said something like, "Your tickets are still open, and you can use them to book a future flight," correct?

If my understanding is correct, it sounds like the agent canceled you from the flights on which you were scheduled; your "open ticket" essentially is a credit toward a future flight. Even if you didn't say "I want to cancel my flights," it sounds like what you said was interpreted as "I want to cancel my flights." I think it is unlikely that a refund is an option for you at this point. Did the agent tell you how long you have to rebook?

Posted by
34 posts

I did cancel my flights before the Sept flight took off. I called back when COVID hit and we knew we would not be able to fly. When I canceled my tickets I was told we had open tickets and to call back starting September 21st.
I have read on this forum that Virgin Atlantic canceled some people on this forum. I don't understand why we were never canceled and had to cancel ourselves. I am going to call on Monday and see about a refund.
Thank you.
Amie

Posted by
3903 posts

So, Amie, how did things turn out? Did Virgin Atlantic offer you a refund? We like to hear the end of the story...

Posted by
3903 posts

I don't understand why we were never canceled and had to cancel
ourselves.

Virgin Atlantic will only cancel a customer's ticket after the airline cancels the flight on which the customer is booked. When Virgin Atlantic cancels your ticket, it is supposed to give a refund; if a passenger cancels the ticket, Virgin Atlantic can allow the ticket to remain open (available for rescheduling), or it can issue a credit.

Possible reasons why you had to cancel instead of Virgin Atlantic canceling include the following:

  • Some flights between the US and Europe are still operating for "essential business" purposes. People with legitimate, "essential" business in the UK and Europe can still enter. Virgin Atlantic may have never canceled the flight, and it may have flown as planned. In that case, Virgin Atlantic would not cancel a customer's ticket. If you are unable to get into the UK due to travel restrictions, the burden is on you to cancel the flight. Virgin Atlantic is then well within the law to give you a credit, not a refund (as consumer-unfriendly as that may seem).
  • Virgin Atlantic waited as long as it could before canceling the flight, hoping that passengers would cancel first, allowing Virgin Atlantic to issue a credit instead of a refund. All airlines have done this during the pandemic. Once again, this is not a consumer-friendly practice, but it helps the money-hemorrhaging airlines hold onto cash to try to stay afloat.
Posted by
34 posts

Have had not luck so far talking to anyone at Virgin Atlantic. My husband called Friday and after an hour wait on the phone they hung up on him! We did buy travel insurance and we are thinking maybe we could cancel the trip through them because it's the airline going bankrupt not covid specfically (though it is). You are supposed to be able to cancel for any reason. Will let everyone know. Thank you for all your comments.
Amie

Posted by
11493 posts

https://flywith.virginatlantic.com/gb/en/news/coronavirus/cancelled-or-changed.html

Presumably the above site did not answer your questions?

Not knowing the details of the booking for the Sept 2020 flight, just what applies is unknowable.

This general statement found on the VA website, looks to have reasonably good news ( assuming the airline survives)
To make it as easy as possible and for immediate peace of mind, we will automatically keep your ticket open as credit for you to use any time up to 31st December 2022. There's no fee to make this change, and if you choose to travel on the same route up to 9th December 2020 or between 11th January 2021 - 31st March 2021, we’ll also waive any differences in the fare. You can change the passenger names if you’d like someone else to benefit from your booking too. See our ‘Flexible No Change Fees’ policy for more details.

Posted by
857 posts

Just because they're in bankruptcy doesn't mean the rules change - they're going to continue to fly.