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Customer service plan

Customer service and commitment to our passengers has been the driving force behind our brand. We strive to get it right, first time, every time. Occasionally things do not go as planned. We believe that you have the right to know what level of service you can expect from us all the time, even in those rare moments when we fall short of the very high standards we have set ourselves.

We've split our Customer Service Plan into 12 sections to make it easier to use, simply click the most relevant link below to get started.

1. Offering the lowest fare available

Our first promise is to offer you, at the time you make your booking directly with us via our contact centre, website or airport ticket desks, the lowest possible fare available for the time, date and class of service you wish to travel in.

From time to time we may offer different fares, our contact centre agents will advise you of other fares that may be available and will help identify the lowest published fare for your needs. Remember that the lowest fares have less flexibility, for example they usually have to be booked well in advance are based on a minimum stay, are non refundable and you cannot subsequently change dates or flights. If you want a more flexible ticket you must let us know at the outset so we can search out the best deal for you.

2. Notifying customers of known delays, cancellations and diversions

Delays and disruptions are a frustrating but sometimes an inevitable part of air travel. In the event of a flight cancellation, a delay of more than 30 minutes or a diversion, we will notify you. Within 30 minutes of us knowing about it, we will provide you with the best available information via.

3. Delivering baggage on time

We handle hundreds of bags per flight, and due to the sheer volume, checked baggage can very occasionally go astray. If your baggage doesn’t arrive on the belt it is absolutely essential that you make contact with one of our airport staff or representatives and file a report (sometimes called a Property Irregularity Report or PIR) before you leave the airport. Once the report is filed with us we take all reasonable measures to locate your property and minimise the inconvenience caused. If you are not a resident of the country you have arrived in, will promise to reimburse you for the reasonable receipted costs you incur when buying essential overnight items such as toiletries, nightwear etc. To find out more about making a claim for reimbursement of essential items please see our baggage pages

Most delayed bags travel on our next flight, as an international carrier the duration and frequency of flights dictate the time you can expect to be reunited with your property. Once your bag arrives at its final destination, in most destinations, we will return it within 24 hours of its arrival, at no cost to you*.  Follow the link for more information on delayed baggage.

In the unlikely but regrettable event that your baggage is not found within the 21 days after you file the Property Irregularity Report, we promise upon request to provide confirmation of your loss for insurance purposes or, if you do not have insurance, process your claim within the limits of our liability. More information can be found in our making a baggage claim page. We will also refund you any additional/excess baggage fees you have paid if your bag is irretrievably lost.

*Due to customs restrictions in Accra and Lagos we regret we are unable to deliver delayed bags to passengers. They must be collected from the airport.

4. Allowing reservations to be held or cancelled without penalty for 24 hours

In order to give you some thinking time, if you call one of our contact centres directly or make a booking on our own website www.virginatlantic.com we will allow you:

  • To hold a telephone reservation at the quoted fare without payment

or

  • Cancel a website booking without penalty

for a maximum of 24 hours after the reservation is made as long as that reservation is made one week or more prior to a flight's scheduled departure.

Website bookings must be cancelled in the first instance by calling our contact centre and subsequently applying for a refund, within the 24 hour time frame.

5. Provide prompt refunds where due

If you book and pay for your ticket through our Contact Centre, website or our airport ticket desk, and are unable to travel you should contact us regarding a refund. Once the correct documentation is received we will check whether you are entitled to a refund as per the rules of the fare you have purchased, and if so we aim to refund the appropriate amount to you within seven business days if purchased by credit card, and within 20 business days if purchased using cash or cheque.

A few things to remember about ticket refunds:

  • Some tickets particularly special offers, sale and net fares are not refundable.
  • If you book and pay for your ticket through a travel agent you must apply to them for your refund or refund advice.
  • 3rd party taxes, fees and charges collected with the fare, and shown on the ticket will also be refunded. Any applicable fuel surcharges will be refunded as long as the ticket they were purchased with is refundable.
  • Refunds for credit/debit card purchases will be made only to the credit/debit card account used to purchase the ticket, and may take up to 10 weeks before appearing on the card statement.
  • Refunds for lost tickets may take longer as we have to ensure they have not been found and used or already refunded.
  • Eligible ticket refunds and refunds for lost tickets are subject to a £30 administration fee

6. Assisting and enabling customers with special needs

We are committed to meeting the needs of all our customers with disabilities. Over the last 20 years our dedicated team of Special Assistance co-ordinators have helped and assisted millions of customers travel independently with ease and comfort.

We comply fully with our obligations a) under the European Regulation EC1107/2006 concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air, and b) for US citizens, Part 382 of the US Air Carrier Access Act 1986 relating to non discrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel.

You can find out more about the services we offer for passengers with special needs by visiting the passenger mobility section on this site. Individual travel requirements can also be discussed directly with our Special Assistance Department.

7. Meeting customers essential needs during lengthy tarmac delays

On very rare occasions unforeseen events may cause a lengthy on board delay either prior to take off or after landing. These events are usually outside our direct control however we will take all reasonable measures to ensure passengers are kept up to date with the latest information available, and for significant on board delays, where safety and security restrictions allow, our cabin crew will provide snack refreshments, lavatory facilities, and access to basic medical assistance.

For more information on flights departing from US airports only please see our Contingency Plan for Lengthy US Tarmac Delays

8. Handling flight oversales

In common with most airlines we may sometimes overbook flights to allow as many people as possible to travel. Often passengers holding confirmed reservations and flexible tickets change their plans or don't turn up. To address this and ensure popular flights do not leave with empty seats we use historical data to take a small number of additional reservations.

On rare occasions however all the confirmed passengers will check in for the flight and in this instance we comply fully with EU regulation 261/2004, and for flights departing from US airports the US Department of Transport 14 CFR Part 250, by firstly seeking volunteers to give up their seats and by offering affected passengers compensation and a seat on the next available flight, as well as meals and accommodation where necessary

Follow the link for more information on our overbooking policies.

9. Disclosing cancellation policies and other information

One of our aims is to provide you with a seamless journey from the time you make your booking right through to when you touch down and collect your baggage. In order to do this, we try to provide you with as much information as possible about the policies and procedures that may affect your travel including:

Booking policies and mistakes

We understand that occasionally booking errors occur and if you make a booking on our own website you can make name or date amendments within 24 hours of the booking being made for a charge of £30 per amendment. (You can't transfer a ticket to a completely different person though and date changes are subject to availability in the same fare class, any difference in fare will be either collected or refunded). Likewise if during the booking process our system causes you to make and pay for a duplicate flight, we will issue a full refund of the duplicate flight without any charge, providing you tell us within 24 hours of the booking being made and subsequently provide us with your credit or debit card statement. These amendments can only be made by calling our contact centre.

For security reasons it is absolutely essential that the name on your booking, ticket and passport are exactly the same. If they are not you will be unable to board the flight. This applies to every passenger so when you are making your booking either through a travel agent or direct with us via our website or contact centre it's a good idea to have all the passports with you. The person that you’ve known as John all your life may be called Jack in his passport. And Jane may be spelt Jayne.

Your booking and ticket must reflect your first and last names only. Middle names are not required. This rule also applies to marriage or maiden names. We can no longer allow passengers to travel by accepting marriage certificates or decree absolutes in conjunction with a passport.

If a mistake has been made we will allow you to amend the name to reflect the correct spelling in the passport, up to 2 hours before the flight is due to depart. However you cannot transfer the ticket to another person.

If you have booked through a travel agent, please call them to change the name, or if you have booked through our website or over the phone, you can call our Contact Centre. There will be a charge of £30 to amend each name.

Cancellation policies and other important information
When you book your flight directly from us, upon request our contact centre people can advise you:

10. Notifying customers in a timely manner of changes to travel itineraries

Very occasionally operational situations along with unforeseen or extraordinary circumstances require us to significantly change the scheduled departure and arrival dates and/or times of a flight after the booking has been made. In this event we will contact passengers who have booked with us directly, either via our website or our own contact centres, using the mobile telephone number and/or e mail address given to us at the time the booking was made. For passengers who booked through a travel agent or tour operator, we will send the notification message directly to the agent/operator via our reservations system.

Where the change is known in advance we will endeavour to advise passengers and travel agents of significant changes to itineraries at least 14 days before the original scheduled departure date/time.

11. Ensuring responsiveness to customer complaints

We want you to enjoy your experience with us. Sometimes however things do not go according to plan and if you feel that we have not lived up to your expectations, or that we could improve our service in some way, please let us know. Under normal circumstances, we will respond to you within 28 days and at the latest within 60 days of receiving your complaint. If we can we will call you to discuss your concerns alternatively, or at your specific request, we will write or e mail you.

Follow the link for details on how to send us your feedback.

12. Minimising inconvenience resulting from flight cancellations / misconnections

Flight cancellations are rare and we will try to minimise the inconvenience they cause by posting them on our website under the flight status pages as soon as we know about them. In addition, where possible we will notify you by sending you a text or e mail message providing you give us your mobile phone number or e mail address at the time you make your booking or via manage my booking.

If you are already at the airport when a flight is cancelled we comply fully with the requirements of the European Union's Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of Denied boarding, flight cancellations and long delays.

Passengers who have purchased a 'through ticket' and miss an onward connecting flight because the Virgin Atlantic flight was cancelled or delayed will be rebooked on the next available flight, subject to availability in the same ticket class, without penalty. Where necessary and appropriate overnight accommodation and meals will be provided until the next available flight departs.

The Small Print

We take our Customer Service Plan very seriously and we aspire to deliver our commitment day after day. However, the Customer Service Plan does not create contractual or legal rights. Our conditions of carriage set out these rights and the obligations of both parties when you do business with us. They include and uphold all the rules and laws that we, as a global airline, must operate within.

Our conditions of carriage can be viewed here and should be referred to in order to fully understand your rights and our obligations. We are not responsible for any damage you may incur (over and above the limits and liabilities set our in our conditions of carriage) for flight disruptions, overbooking, lost baggage, late refunds, or other occasions where we do not meet our Customer Service Plan.