Subj:25th anniversary best forgotten
   Date:15/09/02 22:33:14 GMT Daylight Time

  I remember as if it was only yesterday, it was supposed to have been a holiday of a life time. I had saved long
  and hard for a surprise trip to Disney Land Florida to coincide with our 25th wedding anniversary, Sept 2000.

  Having heard how magical Disney World is and having never been to the USA I obviously wanted the best to
  for our anniversary. I scoured numerous travel agents and even spent hours on end looking at Teletext and
  Ceefax to find the best deal. As the majority kept pushing me towards VIRGIN ATLANTIC I decided to save
  enough money for a flydrive with them, since there was a vast difference in price.

  The average price was around the £950 mark compared with the £1480 it cost me with VIRGIN ATLANTIC.
  After I had paid the settlement fee, things started to go wrong. My booking agents phoned me only 2 weeks
  before I was to fly out from Manchester Airport, they said due to technical difficulties beyond VIRGIN
  Atlantic's control, they would not be able to fly us with there own aircraft but would charter a similar aircraft
  with VIRGIN cabin crew. This we had to accept due to the lateness and the impracticalities involved. I
  immediately rang to request if it was possible to fly from Gatwick but was told they were fully booked, however
  I would be receiving some compensation on arrival at Manchester Airport.

  On arrival at the departure gate we were handed a notice of apologies and were offered a 20% discount on
  certain items that we purchased whilst on board. This to say the least I took as an insult. Whilst boarding,
  every child
  (and as you could imagine there were quite a few) were handed there compensation, for not having personal
  back seat TV's.  This was a hand held gameboy. Although being very generous it was not a sensible idea.
  Can you imagine what it was like to have so many of these toys bleeping away for 10 hours. I was
  unfortunately given seats directly adjacent to the toilet block, the queues were constant throughout the flight
  which completely blocked our view from the one film that was shown. The flight was one of utter chaos I had
  two drinks offered to me the whole time. Was this because it was free?  I did eventually get to speak to an
  honest member of the virgin cabin crew, when you could find one, most were of Icelandic origin.
  She was, however polite and very helpful. She told me that because virgin airways hadn't received there
  new aircraft on time, they had taken Manchester's and gave them all to Gatwick.

  The return flight didn't fare any better, infact it was worse. I had to wait to board last because my seat was
  unserviceable and had to be reallocated. Eventually I was called forward and was politely told that I would
  have to sit on the seat behind, I said what of my wife's, the reply being hers is OK. Not the point I am making I
  replied. Are we seated together? Yes, but behind. There is no chance of that happening, I said. I had paid to
  together and that's how we will fly back. Eventually we were allocated two seats together, behind the broken
  one, which meant when I wanted to eat my meal I was left with the seat in front practically in my face, (picture
  to prove it).

  The very next day I started proceedings to gain compensation from virgin Atlantic to the value of the
  difference in price between them and say AIRTOURS. which was £450.  Letters were exchanged for some 18
  months, but I kept getting the same old fob off replies from customer services. Until finally I sent a personal
  letter of complaint to Sir Richard Branson himself. This also fell on deaf ears because my reply was from
  customer services again telling me that Sir Richard couldn't possibly answer all complaints and offered their
  sincere apologies for him. SO WHERE IS MY MONEY. Tied up in VIRGIN ONE, that's where.
  And as you quite rightly said, customer service were quite willing to carry on the charade until the punter gave
  up. Which is what I did, because I don't have the resources to take them to a small claims court?

                           Thank you for your time in giving me the opportunity to let off steam.
                                                                     Yours sincerely
                                                                       Peter White.

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