Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Open Letter to Richard Branson of Virgin America

December 23, 2015

Dear Mr. Branson CEO,

On Tuesday, December 22nd, I had a flight of two stages starting in LAX (Los Angeles) on Virgin America's flight 941 to San francisco. Because of a series of storms (Californians freak at the first sight of rain) my flight of 6:50 pm departure was delayed until 8:30 pm. We were assured that our connecting flights, San Francisco to Portland, were also affected and we would be able to continue on. Why we had to stop in San Francisco is anyone's guess. I found out that if I had flown from Palm Springs, CA where I am moving, I could have flown non-stop directly to Portland. However, the reservations were made in September ... months before.

We finally boarded where I noticed the flight was only at best 50% filled and yet we were stacked three to a row as if the flight was full. We finally arrived in San Francisco around 10:00 pm. I asked an attendant where I could find my connection and she directed me to gate 54A, the gate that we flew from. Well, everyone was there, including the plane. We waited and waited. I figured that since we were here so long my suitcase would easily be loaded on the plane. Silly me.

We didn't even take off until after 11:00 pm. Sitting on the tarmac at least a half an hour more we didn't see or hear another flight ... we just sat there engines running as the minutes ticked by. Finally we were airborne and after a very long day of one hectic frustrating moment after another starting at 3:30 am, I fell asleep. We arrived in Portland around 1:30 am the next day.

I went to my carousel to await my suitcase ... waiting and wanting and feeling increasingly hopeless. Every other person including those who were on my flight from Los Angeles got their luggage and I was left with nothing. All of my Christmas presents, many of my medicines and all of the clothes I planned on wearing for a week were in that suitcase. Maybe I should have been one of those piggy passengers who cram as much as they can in their carryons into the overhead compartments holding everyone getting on and off the plane. At least I would have my luggage.

There was an attendant there at the carousel and as I explained my predicament she took down my cell phone number, the address I was staying at then looked at the baggage number on my original boarding pass and assured me that the suitcase would be delivered the next day. Inconvenient but what more could I do or say?

Today, December 23, 2015, is that next day and NOT A WORD OR CALL FROM VIRGIN. We have called and talked to a variety of Virgin American people, all day long and each and everyone is utterly clueless with customer service and all we have learned is that it shows the suitcase is in Portland. However, THERE IS NO ONE AT THE VIRGIN DEPARTURE OR TICKET BOOTHS. We found out they are open only at 5 - 8:00 am and 8:30 - 10:30 pm. What a sweet job that is. How do we know? We called and even went to the airport looking to find someone that could help us. There was no one and we finally gave up, went to eat and and went shopping. I had to buy underwear, socks and a new shirt as well as deodorant as I literally have only the clothing I wore from Los Angeles.

I have never dealt with a company as poorly run as this. Why are you even in Portland? There is no one there, the people on the phone are simply clueless. WHO would ever go to the airport at 5:00 am in the morning. Even more, why would you travel back to the airport at 8:30 pm at night?

I had read a report giving the ratings of world airlines and in the US, Virgin America was chosen as the best. If Virgin America is the best, what on earth is the worst like? This has to be the poorest run and managed airline on the planet. I have flown from Zanzibar, from the Ivory Coast, even Peru and Aswan, Egypt and have never, EVER been treated like this. I paid $25.00 to have Virgin America loose my suitcase. Not only did they lose it, they don't even have the decency to followup on what has happened.

The Christmas gifts in the suitcase were hand crafted painted items that I created. Now, they are gone along with the rest of my belongings ... electric shaver, underwear, shirts, belts, shoes, socks and all the additional medicines I need to use on a daily basis. I am 1,000 miles from home and since my pharmacy is CVS and there are no CVS pharmacies in Portland, I am well, screwed. Luckily at the last moment I removed the crucial daily medicines that keep me alive. The rest are necessary and will have to be replaced, at great cost, when I get home.

Other than going home on Virgin America, confirmed reservations, with what is now merely a shopping bag of belongings only I could lose, I WILL NEVER FLY ON VIRGIN AMERICA AGAIN. I hope that anyone and everyone reading this reports, as I will, to the FAA about this companies deplorable treatment of their passengers. Best ... what, best of the worst?

Mr. Branson, I would suggest you concentrate on either a rocket to the edge of space or an airline that flies each and every day. To you Virgin America may be a hobby but to those of us who use or used it, it is an experience that I simply will not allow you to handle again. May you fly on one of your planes and have your luggage lost. THAT would be sweet revenge.

Alan Krug

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