Subj:RE: YOUR E MAIL (Edward Phillips)
 Date:23/05/02 14:14:33 GMT Daylight Time
 From: (Neal Millstein)

 Dear Mr. Phillps,

 This is the email I sent to Virgin regarding my flight or should I say lack of flight on the 20th of May 2002.

You may or may not know what happened on Virgin Atlantic Flight VS001 leaving Heathrow on May 20, 2002 at 16:00. My wife, stepson and I have been flying Virgin Atlantic for the past two years at an average 4 flights each per year. This flight not only caused us major problems, but additional time and money as well.

The flight was scheduled to leave Heathrow at 16:00 but was delayed due to operations problems we were told at check in. We sat at the gate for 3.5 hours until boarding at 18:30. Once on the plane and situated, the pilot made an announcement that the plane was having maintenance repairs done to the wing panel and we should be leaving shortly. We were literally held hostage on the plane for almost 4 hours and were told on occasion, that the parts were not yet there, it's being fixed and not to worry we'd be leaving shortly. I noticed the baggage being taken off the plane at around 22:00 and then the captain came on the loud speaker and said it would be fixed shortly and we would be taking off in 15 minutes.

Obviously this was a deliberate lie to keep us from getting off the plane. I did try to leave but was told by the stewardess that the doors were shut and then the captain came on the loud speaker and told us not to worry we were going shortly once again so please be patient and not leave the aircraft. At 23:30 the captain came on the loud speaker and announced that the plane was  not fixed and the flight was going to be canceled. You can imagine how outraged we all were. This was a deliberate attempt to keep us on board until Virgin had some plan in dealing with 400 plus irate passengers. It took another 45 minutes to get off the plane and another 2 hours in line to try and get a hotel room and another flight.

We got to our hotel at 2:30 and were able to get on a BA flight leaving on Tuesday the 21st at 8:45 with absolutely no help by Virgin Atlantic personnel. We were told people from Virgin would be assisting us but they did not. We flew out of Newark, but the only flight leaving early in the morning was going to JFK. I was told by a Virgin Rep that once we arrived at JFK, there would be a Virgin employee there to help with our transport back to Newark so we could retrieve our car. This never happened, once we exited the airport, no one was there to help us. I contacted Virgin on my cell phone and was told to go to Terminal 1 at JFK where someone would be there to help us. Once at terminal one,  we went to the Virgin office on the second floor and no one was there, we were told that no one would be there for another 2 to 3 hours. I had to pay for a limo to take my wife, stepson and I back to Newark at a cost of $120.

 You can imagine how upset this whole ordeal has made us. Had the pilot not allowed us to board the plane, we could have taken another flight that night and I would have been able to attend a business meeting at my office at 9:00am Tuesday morning. The additional cost of this flight totaled $292 of which I should be reimbursed for. We were given a photocopied sheet saying they would give us a 50% discount on future travel but to be honest, Virgin owes us a lot more than that. After flying with you for the past two years we have had nothing but good experiences but you can always tell a company by what happens when things go terribly wrong.

 I would like this corrected and request reimbursement for the return flight and the $292 out of pocket cost which I feel is Virgin's responsibility. Please let me know what Virgin will do to rectify this situation.

 Neal L. Millstein
 Corporate Controller
 RTTS - The Test Automation Experts
 p- 212-240-9050 ext. 10
 f- 212-240-9020

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