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Almost had enough. Is VA flight service sliding?

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esquire

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Yet another poor flight today in Y (PER-DRW)- they had the wrong passenger list for business / plat / gold and so gave away all the flexi meals before they realised and I asked for one.

They then argued with me that I was not on a flexi fare as I wasn't on the list or did I change seat (hello?) .... ! :evil: Then told "maybe someone else booked it and you thought it was a flexi! " The new tickets don't say flexi - so I showed the Fare L on the boarding pass and just got a blank stare. Eventually the cabin manager offered me a free sandwich and drink as they could not verify.

How kind for a $370+ ticket.

Have done 4 VA flights in the last 10 days (including the A330) - not once was I welcomed aboard, was my status recognised or even a meaningless goodbye leaving the plane.

I've decided to give VA a break for a month or two from today.

Maybe I've just had a bad run (can happen) - but if not - VA what is going on ?
 

yohy?!

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Actually sounds a lot like QF already! The little things are nice and it costs nothing to give a warm welcome back.

Hopefully QFs efforts to lift the game in this area inspire VA to not slack...
 

MarkD

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The little engine that could.......Quite sad really isnt it, it appears to be imploding :(
 

benlight

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Have done 4 VA flights in the last 10 days (including the A330) - not once was I welcomed aboard, was my status recognised or even a meaningless goodbye leaving the plane.
I've had similar experiences on some recent VA flights. No one to welcome me when boarding (perhaps I boarded a bit too early for them to be ready?), and backs turned when leaving. For two recent flights my only interaction with the crew was to ask for my meal or immigration card after they completely neglected to give them to me. Feeling anonymous and ignored status or no status isn't the best of feelings.

Funny to think that best service I've received on VA/DJ was back in their early Virgin Blue days when I had no status with them. Other than a brief spike in enthusiasm after their rebranding, the service levels I've experienced as a Platinum have been poor to middling overall. Will be interested to see if others think if there's a trend of service decline on VA, or our experiences are just isolated rarities.
 
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jb01

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Yet another poor flight today in Y (PER-DRW)
I was on that flight! I noticed seating was also out of whack (as per the existing thread) As Gold I could only choose row 7 at check in T-48.
Row 3 - 1/6 PAX (was that you??)
Row 4 - 0/6 PAX
Row 5 - 2/6 PAX
Row 6 - 4/6 PAX
Row 7 - 5/6 PAX - with me in the 3/3.

Row 4 completely empty and I'm stuck in a 3/3.... needless to say I moved to Row 4 - but I wasn't on a flexi so it wasn't me that took your meal!

Row 5 and 6 didn't seem to be status pax; didn't see them in the lounge. (although I think they took some flexi meals - look a bit surprised when offered.)
 

Ausbt

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So you didn't get a meal? That would annoy me as well and no doubt I'd complain, but it's what happens next that matters. My +1 claims to have had a similar issue to you on a flight a few months back (I was asleep seated next to her at the time, so can't be sure). I complained, highly effectively, constructively and reasonably. What happened next was unreasonable ...that is, an unreasonable amount of compensation offered by VA to myself which I gladly and appreciatively accepted. VA went waaaay above and beyond (maybe they exhausted all their compo on me to the detriment of you and others?). Who knows. But when you complain, you just have to complain effectively and for me that means reasonably and politely.

That said, I'm actually back flying QF for just a while in an effort to maintain SG. What a chore really, rather than a sitting in row 3 on a nice 737 today I was in row-back-of-Bourke in an ancient 767-200. My preselected exit row ...where did that go? I have this really weird thing going on with Q: every time I check-in in the QP my exit row disappears. Yet if I swipe at a terminal I'm directed to a service agent and the pre-selected exit is maintained. But whatever, I've never sat anywhere other than row 3 with VA. I've always been greeted, not that I care. Why do I want the crew to 'greet' me? Isn't directing me to port or starboard enough? And the QPs - so many morose faces, so much self-entitlement. Ok, so the Lounges aren't exactly a carnival atmosphere but at least people don't appear so snobby.

I need Q SG for a particular future trip, but really VA is just delivering so much more.
 
D

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Will be interested to see if others think if there's a trend of service decline on VA,
Trend of service decline is most likely the result of a trend of leadership decline.

Perhaps all the middle and upper management are too busy stewing over an absolutely woeful transition to a new booking engine to even notice the decline on board which is happening because of moral deflation brought on by an absolutely woeful transition to a new booking engine! It's a downward spiral they do need to grapple with very, very quickly.
 

JohnK

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I am assuming we are talking about onboard service only?

I do not purchase flexible airfares or purchase meals onboard but occassionally do see the crew confused if people have changed seats. I was under the impression the passenger manifest is one of the last things printed after everyone has boarded. Still does not stop people from swapping seats anyway.
 

DirkDiggler

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Our company has had nothing but problems with corp bookings since the change over, and every staff member that has flown since the change over has had bad experiences on at least half their flights. Some of the comments I have heard from Virgin staff sound like they are also very fed up of the ongoing issues and the flack they are getting from customers.

We made the call today as a business to not fly Virgin at all for at least the next four weeks, hopefully this is enough time for them to sort it all out and get back to normal.

We have flown them almost exclusively for the past two year for domestic flights.

Also for what its worth I was offered flexi meals on two flights last week and both times I was on a saver fare, did the right thing, declined it and explained it must belong to someone else.
 

cmon0005

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Not getting a meal on VA is probably a good thing, have you ever tasted the Flexi Luke mangan wraps ? They're horrible almost in- edible, after a while of travelling on VA flexi's with work I just declined the wraps all the time.

As for the service that is quite poor, a very LCC attitude indeed. Did you send a complaint?
 

esquire

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jb01 Indeed it was I :p - AFF members are everywhere

Seating was so messed up on that flight and it became a free for all.

The positive from the whole experience - I didn't have to eat another horrible flexi meal wrap but got a "gourmet" sandwich instead so made a nice change.
---

Ausbt - It appears we live in completely different flight experience paradigms. The fact of the matter is I shouldn't have to complain (yet again).
However one thing in common here - I do agree that they can go overboard with compensation if the complaint is well constructed and clear - I suspect I faced a similar redress like you did in a previous much more serious customer service issue. I actually had to say to them "I think you have compensated me enough"!

QF has made a significant improvements mainly because of VA - so because of that I also fly VA from time to time.

I just hope this trend is only a short term thing however time will tell.
 

jlm

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Possibly goes back to a very basic point: no-one should be able to get up and sit in a different seat. And this should be policed. The cabin manager would then be able to move an SG into row 4 (to use one of examples above) and still know what the hell is going on.

Although, this could also be done after check-in closes and have a few boarding passes reprinted at the gate prior to boarding to achieve the same outcome.
 

tuapekastar

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I agree totally with jlm re moving to another seat. At the very least, permission should be sought, and the FA should only grant it if it does not inconvenience another pax.

On the subject of declining service standards I posted on that a while back, in relation mainly to transcon J, which IME was going backwards. I have the chance to check that again next weekend...will be very interesting to see how it goes.
 

jetlagger

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I completed an extensive survey form sent to my email today regarding my last Virgin flight.
I did provide an honest account & review of both the positive & negative attributes of the VA experience - inclusive of the evident, less than desirable quality of food & varieties offered.
 

Sojourner

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I'm not sure why flight crew can't just confirm who they're talking to - i.e. address people by their names when serving flexi meals to confirm who they are.
 

mella2007

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I'd be annoyed...well more than annoyed. I was also not happy with a couple of recent flights (non status pax NOT on flexi fares being given the tablets for nothing, while I sat there patiently waiting to see if i'd get one. I was in Row 3, had DH and my parents with me...who have no status...they got them, we didn't..until I questioned why)
Their service onboard has slipped considerably. Rude, nonchalant, and almost dismissive of passengers on board. Not good enough.
 
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ChrisFlyer

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I've felt the standard dropping too, which is why I've moved most of my flights to QF, and will likely not bother to re-qualify for VA SG. There were times when the crew would greet me by name when boarding the aircraft, and occasionally come past to just say hi (with chocolates in hand on more than one flight, and the occasional in-air op-up). Now, I find they haven't bothered with the name on boarding, rather "thank-you, right-hand side" or similar... I'm quite sure I can find 3C on my own (or now 7C...) - on QF I always get "Welcome back Mr. ChrisCh", with no seat direction on domestic flights. It's not a big deal, and I certainly don't expect to be offered a seat up the front (even with an empty cabin on a J route), but when my only interaction with the cabin crew has been minimised to the boarding process, and then "anything for purchase?" or "beer or wine?", I just don't feel very welcome (and more like I'm an inconvenience to the crew). In my opinion, there is no magic there - contrary to their advertising.

FWIW, I also can't stand the audio recordings that are used (particularly the one to prepare the cabin for landing). It just feels so impersonal and mundane - as opposed to one of the crew making the announcement, which adds a personal touch. Just my opinion, though I suppose it's hard to decide which is worse - that recording, or the QF Cricket safety demo... Off topic, I now always listen closely to the landing announcement on QF, to see who manages to say "when planning your next trip, make your first destination Qantas.com"... I always smile when I hear "when planning your next holiday, make your Qantas.... destination..... website.... make your first destination Qantas.com" haha! :)

To be fair, I haven't travelled with VA since the Sabre changeover, but from what I've read here, it doesn't seem like I'm missing much!

Anyway, I used to be a massive VA fan-boy (and even went 10 years without flying QF), but I'm just not feeling it anymore. VA's main advantage (for me) used to be price, but that gap has been closed (to the point that VA is usually more expensive than QF with a lesser offering - at least on almost all of the dates and routes that I travel), so it becomes harder and harder to justify booking a flight with them. Going on my stats from last year, for every flight I take on VA, I take 16 on QF. The only time that I find myself booking with VA these days is when I'm planning on using Fly Ahead - often by booking the cheapest flight of the day, and then showing up incredibly early to have it changed to a flight that was triple the price. Taking advantage of the offer, perhaps yes, but without that feature, I would have just booked with QF. This is also from someone that never took up a status match with VA - I was still exclusively a VA flyer at the time that was offered. Things change over time!

To summarise, it's hard to feel at home, when you're always a Guest ;) (or an inconvenience haha)
 
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AirlineGuy

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The Crew themselves arent solely to blame for a decline in service. They are all beyond exhausted, and have been working with ridiculous service standards and offerings for far too long that they are now showing signs of the 'beyond caring' attitude.

I have numerous friends who are VA crew and the stories I hear are definitely not what I would expect to hear!

VA need to do away with the Flexi thing IMO and introduce some type of FOC offering for everyone - a much more streamlined and efficient service for everyone - passengers and crew, dont you agree? No more crew having to hand out meals to some and not to others, no more crew having to reference some list to see who gets what and whos sitting where, no more having to complain about not receiving a meal. The VA Inflight Service is in desperate need of an overhaul. Fly to PER get one type of FOC offering. Fly ATR, another FOC offering. Fly within WA, another FOC offering, SYD/MEL to CBR, another type of FOC offering. But Mainline BNE SYD MEL ADL etc get nothing. Wierd? VA are still yet to completely crack that LCC mindset with regards to the onboard service and retail offering.

IMO the crew do the best they can with what they have. Lets remember these guys do more than what we see. They clean the toilets and the cabin on turnarounds, theyre expected to check catering and prepare and present the cabin for the next sector, run from aircraft to aircraft, do this and that, much of which QF crew are never expected to do. Infact I was told that VA instructs the pilots to turn off the Air Con on the ground during a turnaround to save fuel. Poor crew having to clean and tidy up after us in those conditions. By the time we arrive at the door, I cant imagine what is going through their heads! Its to be expected they the minute they can eat or have some privacy behind a curtain that they do. They probably do feel like theyd prefer we weren't there - but thats not their fault. We have to fault management.

Until VA Management change the way they work their Cabin Crew, then unfortunately I don't see service delivery being as amazing as we would like or expect it to be. If the crew felt like they were onboard purely for the Safety and then the Service aspects, as goes with the Full Service legacy airlines, then we would get the type of service we expect. Unfortunately, these crew are still worked as though they are working for an LCC. Fact.
 
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ChrisFlyer

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Very well said AirlineGuy - you make some great points there... a perfect summary really! I will just add that I particularly agree with "the crew do the best they can with what they have" - they're always polite, but whenever I speak to them, they always seem to have their mind in two or three other places (and kudos to them for having the ability to do that) - they are just overextended, and it's now easier to observe than ever. :)
 
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