Written on: 26/03/2012 by djjbailey (1 review written)
We recently flew to South Africa and back (Heathrow T3 to Cape Town) on the respective flights VS603 and VS604.
I never usually bother complaining in life as it is too short, and anyway I have low expectations of cattle class flying, but on this occasion I felt I had to both complain to Virgin (I have had no reply in one month) and now share with you the terrible experience we had.
A list of all the things wrong with the flight is below.
Out VS603 3rd Feb 2012
1: Flight 1.5 hours delayed as co-pilot was missing (how can a pilot go missing?)
2: No apology from the crew - when he did arrive on board the crew announced that we should be grateful that we had a pilot! My ticket bill was about £2,500 - I didn't feel that grateful to be honest.
3: Crew were short staffed and clearly annoyed at this. Morale was tangibly poor.
4: Crew announced they had to rest during the flight due to health and safety laws so service would be disrupted on top of the short staff.
5: As a result the cabin was dirty and full of rubbish. Very sloppy indeed
6: Service was very poor and slow.
7: Crew gossiped openly about their social lives rather than doing their jobs
8: Food was foul but thats a given anyway I suppose. Because of the delay in take off the salads has frozen solid so 300+ salads were served and then uneaten.
9: In flight entertaining screens were broken on two out of our 3 seats.
10: No child packs as promised
11: Child meal was poorly thought through.
12: One drink offered in 12 hours - wow!
Return - Sat 18th Feb
1: Online check in seat selection did not work. We got awful seats by the toilets with no legroom. I was n in pain for 3 days as a result of sitting in those seats. My daughter (aged 3) slept badly due to the disruption of being next to the toilets. The seats don't fully recline.
2: Online check-in was very slow - server crashed many times. Awful system.
3: Boarding delayed and we touched down 1 hour late
4: Families (not us by luck) with young children had been separated due to broken online check - in - ensuing rows meant further boarding delay and high stress before even on plane. Staff unhelpful
5: Children boarded first - plane has been on hot runway all day. Must have been 50-60 degrees inside - no exaggeration. Fine for 10 mins whilst boarding but there was a long delay of about 1 hour for no reason - in the unbearable heat. My daughter started feeling faint and we had to strip her naked and pour water on her. I felt ill after 30 mins. It was so hot even my trousers were soaked through. All passengers very uncomfortable - pregnant and elderly and young children close to serious difficulty. 1 hour in that heat is dangerous. I am sure you've received other complaints. It was unacceptable. Animals would not be allowed to be kept in that heat for that long. No explanation or water was offered. Absolute disgrace. They were lucky no one died - seriously!
6: It was 2 hours before any water was offered after this.
7: Instead of an apology the crew choose to play a series of banal health and safety warnings about drinking too much in flight - it grated with all passengers. When the apology came it just blamed the airport. Thats just weak.
8: No child meal was served despite being ordered. When I insisted the meal consisted of chocolate and crisps. Come on! Make an effort!
9: No child breakfast was served despite being ordered.
10: When I requested a child breakfast it consisted of an artificial yoghurt by a firm called 'Lausanne Super Health Foods' - ingredients included colourant, flavourant, preservative etc. Are you serious? In this day and age? And a Brandy and Cappuccino muffin - for a 3 year old! Tell me what 3 year old has taste that refined? When we fly BA they have a banana and a natural yoghurt. Its not hard - really - make an effort with the children's food. I asked for a banana and got a curt reply 'we dont have fruit on our flight'.
11: Customer questionnaire was announced as being circulated but the staff never did circulate it presumably to stop people filling it in
Both flights were the worst we have been on in our lives. We will never fly Virgin again and of course have warned friends and family against Virgin. It was a serious case of style over substance if ever there was one. If it were my business I would have fired people on the spot for the sloppy behaviour and inefficiency. Its a shame to see an airline descend - a few years back it was good when we flew with Virgin. I guess cost cutting catches up in the end!
I always thought people who posted on review sites were bored moaners with too much time on their hands - now I know differently! If you can possibly avoid it don't travel Virgin as I would not want anyone to have to endure their terrible service.