Tuesday, January 12, 2010

love song to Virgin America

For the last year or so, I've flown Virgin America exclusively from San Francisco to Las Vegas. One, I get to fly out of the international terminal at SFO. But mostly two, VX is an incredible domestic airline that makes air travel a real pleasure (and after some not-so-fun trips with the Delta/Northwest chimera, I more than ever appreciate an airline trying to create positive experiences for their customers). I've flown so much that, to my surprise, I was able to accumulate enough points for a free trip back home over President's Day weekend.

I was so excited by this discovery that...I accidentally booked the wrong weekend. Well, crap. I called customer service within 12 hours, hoping that the resolution would be to get my miles back for a $50-100 fee.

Well, the good news is that because I booked with my miles, Virgin would be able to reinstate my miles (for no fee - yippee!) after canceling the flight, and that I could rebook upon receipt of them (the representative assured me this would be within 24 hours).

Then the following took place:
  • Wednesday morning: original customer service call/plea to cancel my flight and reinstate my miles. Aforementioned CS rep said they'd be back in my account in 24 hours.

  • Thursday morning: miles not returned. Virgin America website says 48 hours. I decide to wait.

  • Friday morning: miles still not returned. I call CS again. This representative says that it should take 2-3 days, and to call back if the miles aren't back in my account by that night.

  • Saturday morning: miles still not returned. I call CS again. THIS representative seems perplexed that the miles are not reinstated. She puts me on hold to investigate. She comes back on, says that the original rep (from Wednesday morning) canceled my flight incorrectly, which is why the miles are not back in my account. She regretfully informs me that she has to bump it up to corporate, but that it may take 7 days (she's attached a note for an expedited process). She is very, very sorry. She says that if she were in my position she would be "furious."

I'm bummed, but not furious. It is, in fact, my fault that this is even happening. I keep checking on Sunday, then on Monday. No miles. Sad panda face. I have heard of good things that happen with the Virgin America Twitter account. So, in a last-ditch effort, I tweet this at 3:54 pm on Monday:

At 4:52 pm, I receive this direct message:

What, what, what?

I e-mail the contact person with my story. He replies a couple of hours later, saying that he will discuss my situation with the Elevate team (Virgin America's loyalty program) and give me an update in the morning.

ONE HOUR after he sends this, I receive an e-mail from Virgin America's guest loyalty program manager. She is sorry for the inconvenience. She has reinstated my miles. I am flabergasted. I rebook my flight. The price (in points) has gone up in the 6 days since my original error (I have to pay for some of the flight), but I do not even care because THIS IS A TOTALLY AWESOME CUSTOMER SERVICE EXPERIENCE. This has pretty much guaranteed that I will fly Virgin whenever possible. Thank you, Virgin America, for really pulling out all the stops to get this resolved!

1 comment:

Molly said...

That's pretty cool!!