ConsumerWatch: Customer Service Headaches Continue At 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 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • duke

    Virgin America messed up my flight booking, and when I went through their website live support to rebook, they not only charge me more (which I approved) but also used my Credit Card towards others booking. When I attempted calling them numerous times, no one answered their phone for over 30 minutes. When I met with an agent at the airport, they claim no such error is possible. I ended up contacting my credit card company and they discovered the erroneous charges were charged for someone else and not to me. It was clear to them that my credit card was misused. My credit card company immediately halted my credit card account and said will mail me a new card with a new account number. Needless to say, this cause a host of problems for me, but is a necessary fix since my card has been used by someone else (Virgin America agent). In the coming days, I will have to contact my hotel reservation, my event booking reservation, my automatic bill pays, and my bank monthly payment to the credit card company and so on. It is quite a hassle, but to this day, VA is not in the loop. I love VA planes and onboard services, but their online booking and this incident is causing me a tremendous amount of time and frustration. I feel like I should be compensated for this trouble.

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