We want cash compensation, not Virgin Atlantic air miles

Airline offered us 12,000 air miles each after its systems failure left us stranded

My cousin is 77 and I am 79. We travelled round the world in February and March on a “Great Escapade” valid on Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines and Virgin Atlantic.

Unfortunately, we very nearly didn’t get back on the final leg from Cape Town to London Heathrow on Easter Sunday. Virgin Atlantic’s systems could not find our e-ticket numbers. In order to get on our pre-booked flight, I had to buy additional tickets at Cape Town airport at the very last moment – a total of £1,284.25 for two one-way fares.

I had to get back on this date for medical reasons, and the whole experience was very stressful.

On 17 June, I was refunded the bare cost of these extra tickets and in July the airline admitted the original problem with the tickets was due to “a system error”. As “a goodwill gesture” and by means of an apology, we were offered 10,000 Virgin Flying Club “miles” each, which were subsequently raised to 12,000 each.

However, at our age these are meaningless as we have no plans for further travel on this scale. Please can you help us to get a realistic cash offer? GB, Kettering, Northants

There are two separate elements to your complaint. First, Virgin did refund you in full for the cost of the extra tickets after apologising for the systems error.

We contacted Virgin Atlantic to find out whether it would reconsider its original offer of miles. It replied: “As a further gesture of goodwill, an offer of miles was also made to the passengers. Whilst we would not pay cash compensation in these circumstances, we do recognise that air miles are not an appropriate gesture for all of our customers and therefore have made contact with the passenger again to offer an alternative.”

Unfortunately, a cash offer is not forthcoming but we understand that you and your cousin have been offered gift vouchers or similar as an alternative.

We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email us at consumer.champions@theguardian.com or write to Consumer Champions, Money, the Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Please include a daytime phone number

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