Written on: 01/11/2011 by chrisbeardy
checked in as normal for flight VS004 from JFK to Heathrow. It is their premier route, premier flight time overnight from 7pm US time to 6am UK time. been on a cruise, seen 3000 passengers disembark with NO FUSS onto transport from the dock. The plane was cancelled after we had checked in at 4pm. We were at the gate at JFK when the plane overflew the runway. decided not to land, and was diverted to maine. That is when the problems started. Checked-in passengers were told to retrieve their baggage at the arrivals hall and line up at the check-in counter again - all 350 of us !! This was for the three staff available ( inc the manager) to write our phone numbers down in pencil on a bit of paper and then individually write out a meal ticket for $15. Some people were advised to wait at the delta desk, others to wait for an hour, come back and find out if we had hotels etc and others were told nowt. Arriving back at the desk, we found some very angry passengers, two staff ( the rest had gone home after refusing overtime !) and no information, Some 300 passengers then milled round till 11pm, some booking their own hotels, some going back to friends etc. A rumour mill was active, there being no info available on hotels and stuff, which resulted in some passengers being Very Angry Indeed. Eventually, lines formed at doors 1 and 2, there being a rumour of coaches available, There were 3 ! At door 1. So a rush ensued, the coaches filled up and about 100 passengers got to the marriott hotel 30 mins away. that is where the contrast in passenger service occurred. All passengers were checked in within 15 mins, shown to a room with info on meals available etc. they had put a buffet on at short notice and everyone was fed ( midnight by now). The next morning, the lack of info continued. A rumour went round of a coach at 11am ! Then a Virgin man turned up with a list of people half of whom were not at the hotel!. He stood in the lobby reading peoples names out who were not at the hotel !So he put people on three coaches in a random kind of way, leaving 17 people at the hotel even though the coaches had left half full. Absolute chaos. At the airport, we re checked in at 12.30 for a 7pm flight. We had to check in early cos the desks could not cope with us and that days flight as well at the same time. So we got another meal voucher of $15 and a long wait. Then the staff turned up late for the flight, so we left eventually at 8.30pm.
Yes, I got a hotel. yes The plane was weather delayed. yes, I got home eventually. But the chaos and lack of organisation and information was incredible. It would have been very easy to at least give info to people. Virgin must do better if it expects my trade again.