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Virgin Atlantic's Cancellation Policy - No refund?

Virgin Atlantic finally cancelled my flight from SFO to LHR, departing May 9. I was hoping they'd cancel on me before I on them so I could get a full refund. But upon reading the fine print, it looks like I am not entitled to a refund because they have cancelled outside of 14 days of departure. Am I reading the requirements of the European Union’s Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 correctly? I am therefore left only with the option of taking a voucher? I'd prefer a refund because I don't know that I'd choose to fly VA to Europe before May 2022.

It seems that many others in this forum have reported receiving refunds for cancelled flights on other airlines (e.g., British Airways), but is that because the flights were cancelled within 14 days of departure?

Thanks for your insights!

Posted by
6244 posts

Have you contacted the airline (or whoever you purchased the ticket from) to ask them about a refund? Have they told you 'no refund'. I wouldn't totally rely on the website information at this point, I'd talk to someone.

Posted by
7122 posts

or

A refund of unused flights if travel has not commenced

All refunds will be credited back to the original form of payment.

You have to drill down in the 'disruptions' topic to find that wording

Posted by
700 posts

Yes, you get a refund. You will just have to get on the phone for as long as it takes. Understand airlines are scrambling for cash and making it hard.

Your flight is out of the US. For flights into and out of the US, regardless of the airline, Dept of Transportation requires refunds. Period. That is a requirement an airline is bound to in exchange for the right to fly into and out of the US. Again, this only applies to flights directly departing from and flying into the US.

Posted by
50 posts

Got it -- the US operates under different rules than the EU, which is obviously not spelled out on their website. I will try to reach VA by phone today and will let the forum know how it was resolved.

Thanks for your advice!

Posted by
1761 posts

But upon reading the fine print, it looks like I am not entitled to a
refund because they have cancelled outside of 14 days of departure. Am
I reading the requirements of the European Union’s Regulation (EC) No
261/2004 correctly? I am therefore left only with the option of taking
a voucher?

No, you are not reading it correctly. The EU rules are quite clear that if the airline cancels your flight, you are entitled to a refund (or rebooking or a voucher if that is your choice).

Posted by
1854 posts

Hi Lori, my British Airways flight was canceled at least 23 days ahead of departure. I have received a full refund. Nothing on their website enabled that, every online option pointed to a voucher. As suggested above, it was persistence to gert through and time on hold that got me through to a person who - on my quite clear request for a refund - efficiently processed it.

Posted by
5624 posts

In addition to USDOT rules regarding refunds:
https://www.transportation.gov/individuals/aviation-consumer-protection/refunds

In the following situations, passengers are entitled to a refund of
the ticket price and/or associated fees.

Cancelled Flight – A passenger is entitled to a refund if the airline
cancelled a flight, regardless of the reason, and the passenger
chooses not to travel.

Schedule Change/Significant Delay - A passenger is entitled to a
refund if the airline made a significant schedule change and/or
significantly delays a flight and the passenger chooses not to travel.

I would suggest reviewing Virgin Atlantic's Contract of Carriage Section 21:
https://flywith.virginatlantic.com/gb/en/prepare-to-fly/conditions-of-carriage/article-21.html

21.2 If we change our schedule before you fly

(a) If, after issuing your Ticket, we change the scheduled departure time, we will notify you if you have given us or our
Authorised Agents your contact information. You should check our
website before you fly for the most up-to-date flight information.

(b) We will give you the choice of a refund, or to be booked onto
another one of our flights, if the new scheduled departure time is:

i) more than three (3) hours from the previous departure time; or

ii) is less than three hours from the previous departure time but you provide proof (upon request) that the change will cause you to
miss a connecting flight or cruise and you had allowed the minimum
time to make the connection prescribed by the relevant airport or
cruise provider.”

Posted by
87 posts

I too had a flight on Virgin for SFO to LHR that was cancelled by them 2 days before my departure. on March 19th via a text message from Virgin . I suggest that you communicate via text at first so you have a record. Many people suggest using the phone but I don't have the patience. Here is my experience. I hope this helps. Y(ou also may want to try the refund email that was in their email confirmation.

refunds.hq@fly.virgin.com

I had already decided to cancel because of Covid 19 but I waited until I was notified. At that time there were several options available on the website as follows: Free reschedule, voucher ,and refund. I of course clicked refund. (That option disappeared a couple of days later) I got a notification on my screen that the message was received but I did not get an email confirmation. This made me nervous. I took a screenshot and then used the text number and sent a text . On the text I detailed my flight info and what I had done and my expectation of a refund. etc. . Soon thereafter I received a canned text back indicating that they would get back to me as soon as they can.
About 3 or 4 days went by I received a text indicating that they had indeed gotten my request and that I would be getting a refund. I was also told it would take about 10 days to get an email confirmation of this and then it would take 90 days to actually get my refund.
Well, it took a lot longer than 10 days to get the email but it finally arrived on April 18
Booking reference # etc
*Dear Customer,

This is to confirm that we have received your refund application, should you have any inquiry or concern regarding your refund please contact us by email refunds.hq@fly.virgin.com and quote your refund reference mentioned above in the email subject area.*

So theoretically I should get a refund but who knows.

I have liked frying on Virgin SFO to LHR. (This was to be our 3rd time) but getting a voucher was not my option given the uncertainty of when it will be safe to travel and the viability of the airline
Good luck

Posted by
50 posts

Thank you, MA Traveler! This is such good information to have. I actually texted VA last night as per their instructions on their website. It fed me back a few multiple choice questions to respond to (e.g., Are you texting about a cancelled flight? Etc.). And then requested my booking number. I texted this info back to them along with my request for a full refund. I have yet to hear back, so I'm glad to hear that they will in maybe 3 or 4 days?

And I agree, I like the idea of having a "paper trail" with the texts, versus a phone conversation that would document nothing.

Finally, thank you for the email address -- not to be found anywhere on their website. I will also send my request via that channel. Hopefully it won't confuse them.

I'll keep y'all posted on how it goes. Thanks to all who have offered your encouragement and advice!

Posted by
87 posts

Lori, I am glad the information worked for you. Hopefully they will get it straight. We are still waiting for our refund. I will update on that after we receive it which is likely to be a while unfortunately. Good luck to you.

Posted by
50 posts

UPDATE:

After 3 rounds of texting with Virgin Atlantic, this morning, someone finally confirmed that they would be processing my refund. The reason it two took a few rounds is because I would respond to their text system's auto-generated inquiries (e.g., what do you need help with, press 1 for X, or name/flight number/origin/destination), and would then need to wait a few days for a human being to respond with further follow-up questions, which sometimes took several more days.

One day someone texted me in the wee hours of the night (I live in California) and after not hearing from me immediately (because I was asleep), I got another text saying "As we haven't heard from you in a while, we are going to say goodbye for now. If you need any further help, please feel free to get back in touch." This apparently cleared my previous progress with them, as upon responding to the text, the system again asked for my full details.

Anyway, this morning I managed to be awake when a representative texted me again, so we were able to handle my details in real-time and finalize the refund request.

I sent my first text to them on April 23 and as of May 2, I have been told to expect a refund in some unspecified amount of time due to processing delays. I asked if I will be notified as to when my refund is processed, and the rep said, I would be, by email.

Thanks all for your help and encouragement with this one -- I am, in fact, owed a full refund! I hope this post helps others as well.

Posted by
87 posts

Lori, Glad you got that far. Hopefully our refunds will come sooner rather than later as Virgin has financial problems and is seeking a government bailout or a cash infusion from investors. I was told about 90 days . So far nothing more that the vague confirmation. I hope somehow they make it as I like flying with them and I fear if they fall and possibly Norwegian, the resulting lack of competition will make that route much more expensive . I will post my outcome .

Posted by
50 posts

I just thought I'd provide an update, albeit, an unsatisfying one.

I last interacted with VA on May 2 2020 (see two posts above this one) and as of today, June 8 2020, have yet to receive an email indicating that they are processing my refund request (which MA Traveler said they eventually received following their text exchange).

And so I continue to wait.

I did find a similar thread on Tripadvisor, where someone suggested to, at this point, work through my credit card company to file a claim against VA. On this same thread, I discovered there is a whole Facebook Group called Virgin No Refund Support Group with 4,100 members.

Would love to hear if anyone has actually received their VA refund yet.

Posted by
357 posts

Virgin sure is making a mess of things!

I also has a flight booked with Virgin (RT, SFO-LHR) end of July/beginning of August. I've been patiently waiting for the inevitable email notification the flight was canceled, and did finally receive that for the SFO-LHR portion. Several days later, though, they sent another email about the LHR-SFO return flight, saying I'd been rescheduled for a day later (my flight was originally on Aug 3, but they're not resuming service between LHR and SFO until Aug 4).

So... apparently Virgin in all its infinite wisdom expects me to somehow still be in London in early August, despite canceling the flight from SFO-LHR that would have gotten me there in the first place?

I'm not too stressed about a refund for now, and simply want the open ticket/credit to use when the time is right (ever the optimist!). That they seem to have split my booking up, and are treating the outbound as a cancellation and return as rescheduling has be a bit worried about how much of a hassle this process is going to be, though, given how bad their delays in responding to requests are.

Keeping my fingers crossed for you, Lori, and anyone else in similar situations!

Posted by
50 posts

1885BD, if you don't mind just getting a credit, have you tried to just keep your ticket open? It looks like you can do that pretty easily here, so long as you think you can complete travel by September 2022. You can even change your destination. I'll bet VA can more easily process this request than a full refund, as I requested and am STILL waiting to receive.

Update on me: I did end up receiving an email a couple of weeks ago confirming that they would be processing my request (hallelujah), but that it could take up to 120 days! Maybe VA is holding off paying out so they can declare bankruptcy first.

Posted by
1 posts

I'm among those waiting for a refund, for a canceled trip in May.

My request for a refund was acknowledged via text on 23 April and at the time was told "up to 100 days" to receive it. That takes me to 1 August.

On 1 June I received an email which included the following:

This is to confirm that we have received your refund application.

During these unprecedented times we are experiencing extremely high
volumes. Please rest assured we have received your refund application
and are working hard to bring this to a resolution as quickly as
possible.

The health and wellbeing of our customers and staff is our highest
priority. We are working closely with the UK Government and health
organizations to ensure we’re following the very latest advice. This,
in turn, has had an impact to our staffing levels and therefore we are
currently unable to advise a timeframe for completion.

We endeavor to get back to you as soon as possible and thank you for
your continued patience and support .

Kindest Regards Refunds Department

My fingers, eyes, and toes are crossed for a resolution before August - but we shall see. I'm sure they're having massive cash flow issues, which contributes to the delay. A promotional email yesterday said they're returning part of their schedule for August. Hopefully that gives them funds to make good on our refunds.

Posted by
357 posts

Lori - That last thing you said about their waiting to process the refund is a thought that's crossed my mind, also! Here's hoping that's not the case! Glad you at least got an update, though!

Re: the open ticket, I was fine with that and wasn't too worried (beyond worrying a bit about whether VA would still exist in a year, given events) until they canceled my outbound, and rescheduled my return. I bought it all on a single round trip ticket, so to have them reschedule the return leg on an itinerary for which the outbound no longer existed was unusual. It has me worried they broke up the reservation at their end, or will somehow complicate the process. Only time will tell, though - I did send in a request asking for the entire reservation to be left open so maybe the way my reservation was handled was just the legacy of a computer system or process that hasn't yet figured out what's going on. Fingers crossed!