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ConsumerWatch: Customer Service Headaches Continue At Virgin America

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Virgin America

A Virgin America plane flies above the Golden Gate Bridge. (Virgin America)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) – Customer service problems at Virgin America started several months ago when it installed a new reservation system in October.

Customers were told in recordings that the wait times may be longer than usual. At that time, Virgin customer Brent Wilcox told CBS 5 that he was furious with the problems he had while trying to make a reservation. “At least ten times a day, I was put on hold for 18 minutes to an hour and 22 minutes,” said Wilcox.

Virgin America apologized and offered credits, including round trip tickets, to its frequent flyers.

But more than two months after CBS 5 ConsumerWatch reported on the issue, the problems still persist.

Consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow said this issue could have a lasting impact on Virgin’s reputation.

“What it communicates to consumers is that they weren’t sincere in their apology or aggressive in their efforts to improve,” Yarrow said.

In a statement to CBS 5 ConsumerWatch, Virgin America said, “Although the majority of issues have been resolved, a small subset of users continue to experience web errors. We apologize to those guests and those who may have experienced delays.”

Meanwhile, the airline said hold times to the call center are down to an average of six to 10 minutes. Virgin America is advising customers that the best way to get a speedy response is via the social networking site Twitter. But Yarrow said this could also backfire even though most of its customer base is young, not everyone is on Twitter.

Full Statement from Virgin America: Although our website is operating at normal capacity and the majority of issues related to our reservations system have been resolved, a small sub-set of users continue to experience web errors. We apologize to those guests who have been affected and those who may have experienced response delays. If you have sent the airline an email through our Contact Us page (on www.virginamerica.com) please know that we will respond directly and address the issues. We also encourage anyone with pre-flight issues to contact us at 1.877.FLY.VIRGIN (any time between the hours of 3:30am-11:30pm PT). For those with post-flight issues, the best way to get in touch is to follow the airline on Twitter (@virginamerica) and send us a Direct Message.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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