I booked and paid for an Economy return ticket to Hong Kong with Virgin Atlantic at end of Sep 2013 for AUD 911.66.
I received an email from Virgin Atlantic, inviting me to bid for an upgrade to Premium Economy in mid Oct 13.
I thought it was a great idea, the business maximising return on unsold seats, and not realising it would cause me so much pain, time and energy. I have to cancel my credit card and am potentially liable for interest charges during the investigation.
I bid $50 for the day flight to HK and $135 for the over-night return flight. I did not hear any more till I received the E-ticket a week before I was due to fly. The ticket showed I would be in Premium Economy for Sydney - HK and Economy for HK – Sydney. Total fare shown on the ticket was AUD 911.66.
I received another E-ticket a week before I was due to fly back, showing I would be in Premium Economy. I was surprised total fare was still AUD 911.66.
I was shocked when I checked my credit card transactions. Virgin Atlantic had charged me an extra $550 and $635 for the 2 flights.
The only way I could contact Virgin Atlantic from Australia was submitting an on-line form, which I did on 25 Nov 2013.
Emma, from Customer Relations UK, responded on 19 Dec 2013, asking me for the confirmation email. I replied on the same day, telling her I did not receive any confirmation communication and asking her for a copy instead.
Emma replied on 09 Jan 2014, 4 weeks later, saying the bidding would not start as low as AUD 100 and 2 confirmation emails were sent to me. She did not attach the said email.
I went through my mailbox and could not find such email and replied Emma on the same day, 09 Jan 2014.
Emma replied after 3 weeks, apologised for the late reply because she had been out of office. She did not respond to my question why I would put in a bid that was much higher than a normal upgrade. (Premium Economy is 60% - 70% more than an Economy seat. I was charged 130% on top of my Economy flights.) When I checked the attachments, I noticed immediately the confirmation emails were sent to a wrong address.
I am still waiting for Emma's reply. It has been more than 2 months. I do hope this will be resolved soon.
The flights were very pleasant. I am surprised it took the Customer Relations UK team 3 – 4 weeks to respond to each of my emails. I wondered if Emma had checked if there was a system issue reported around mid Oct 2013 or had assumed I was lying. She did not spend much effort in investigating the case or contemplate why a reasonable person would put in such a high bid when he/she could upgrade at a lower cost.