Distraught pensioner correctly 'offloaded' by Virgin

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mannej

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You can't blame Virgin for her behaviour, that is where she needs to take some responsibility.
Whatmeworry & I cannot possibly be accussed of blaming Virgin for her behaviour. Simply commenting seperatly on a different aspect of the topic. That is Virgin needs to take FULL responsability for their staff AND contractors! There are too many in the world these days who try anything to deflect to or blame others. ( same as Granny was trying to blame her mums funeral - not on!)

Agreed on Virgin needing to take responsibility for their contractors, however the quote I referred to can be taken as if Virgin didn't screw up, it would never have happened.

That is true, however it is not an excuse for her behaviour ;)
 
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pat25d

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Oct 12, 2011
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God Gate staff **** me sometimes...

Yesterday in the lounge waiting for our flight at 1pm, heard a few different calls for boarding for other flights but not for ours (can confirm with Wife and other groups sitting near us), decide to wander to the gate anyway and deal with lining up in a queue.

Once we get there, they are in final stages of boarding and one of the gate staff tell us we are late and holding everyone up, so i comment "well we were in the lounge, the boards didn't say the flight was boarding and there were no announcements", she snapped back "They would have made an announcement and you probably didn't hear it", my response: "Whatever!"

Once on the plane, we were the first in J out of a 9/24 J load, the other 7 of which arrived 5 minutes after us proving my point that they didn't make a call in the lounge.

I get that it's my responsibility to go to the gate at boarding time, I get that people make mistakes and forget to make boarding calls, but I don't get people telling their customers are wrong without even finding out the truth yet.
 

pauly7

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God Gate staff **** me sometimes...

Yesterday in the lounge waiting for our flight at 1pm, heard a few different calls for boarding for other flights but not for ours (can confirm with Wife and other groups sitting near us), decide to wander to the gate anyway and deal with lining up in a queue.

Once we get there, they are in final stages of boarding and one of the gate staff tell us we are late and holding everyone up, so i comment "well we were in the lounge, the boards didn't say the flight was boarding and there were no announcements", she snapped back "They would have made an announcement and you probably didn't hear it", my response: "Whatever!"

Once on the plane, we were the first in J out of a 9/24 J load, the other 7 of which arrived 5 minutes after us proving my point that they didn't make a call in the lounge.

I get that it's my responsibility to go to the gate at boarding time, I get that people make mistakes and forget to make boarding calls, but I don't get people telling their customers are wrong without even finding out the truth yet.

Pretty poor attitude you encountered...! Glad you got some redemption with the other pax arriving after you!

However my experience with DJ lounges (MEL & SYD in particular) is the opposite in the extreme! My beef is they call that flights are boarding, screens say boarding you walk down to the gate - no boarding at all... I've given feedback a few times and got:

'The screens are often wrong because they are not DJ's screens they are the airports screens' & on staff: 'we are training a lot of new staff at the moment / our staff only act on the screens that are controlled by the airport / our staff only act on a call from the gate'. So I give up!

On the original off loading of the lady I'm always wary to judge before I hear a full story but on the facts presented alone doesn't sound that great....
 

beardoc

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Traveling with just $10 is beyond stupid and just shows a total lack of common sense! Should always have at least $50 or more in case of an unforeseen circumstance! Along with other means to access a bank account etc

The article clearly states "So the disabled pensioner, with only $10 and a hastily borrowed credit card from her daughter, had to spend a night in Sydney."

So she used that credit card to pay for the hotel ?
So she used $10 to pay for the hotel ?
So she actually had another means or more than $10 to pay for the hotel

Something doesn't sound right here....

Oh and It's also at this stage that "disabled" is also mentioned for the first time...

I think we're conflating two issues here - attacking the passenger in question for not being prepared in the event of a travel problem, and sorting out the issue.

It is entirely possible that a woman taking a Virgin Airlines flight going to a funeral may not normally have the means to be travelling by air. It mentions that she is on a disability support pension, and so is unlikely to have a huge amount of money on which to live on. It could be that given she was going to her mother's funeral, this was a relatively hastily organised thing with last minute prices for fares. It is possible that having to travel at short notice caused this passenger significant financial hardship, but it is her monther's funeral, so she goes (either by using savings or borrowing money from a friend or from someone like her daughter). Even though she doesn't have any money, she travels to the funeral. It is quite possible that as she was travelling, she only had $10 cash because that's all she had to her name.

So the incident at the Virgin Terminal happened. It's not excusable to call anyone a "cough", and if she did, then Virgin is entirely within their rights to refuse boarding to the passenger. No-one is arguing that. Staff at Virgin Blue have an entitlement to be treated respectfully, as does every employee. It's not unreasonable for them to do what they did.

But as to whether that meant that the woman was suddenly left without resources and having to spend another night in Sydney, the fact that she got a hotel room does not mean she has greater personal resources. The article states that a room was booked using "a hastily borrowed credit card from her daughter". That means that with the passenger left in Sydney and with no other options, rather than leaving her mother on the streets, the daughter paid for a hotel room for her mother. Still there is nothing that is out of the ordinary here.

It adds up just fine. I'm not saying this is how it went down, but it's entirely possible that a passenger of limited resources took a flight for a very important family event and as the result of an incident between that passenger and staff, she was denied boarding and then had to rely on other people to prevent her being homeless for the night. There was a degree of hardship, and it may have been brought upon the passenger by themselves, but I'm not sure that "something doesn't sound right here". Because you would not travel with at least $50 does not mean that it is required. It is possible that she never had that money to travel with.

Now, let's get to the other issue - the Canberra Times and the journalist. The journalist's motive may be to write stories that people will read, so sensationalist language like reporting that the passenger was a grandmother, and that she was disabled helps to build a narrative that Virgin were treating her unfairly.

My take on this was that this was a very unfortunate situation by someone that was probably relatively unfamiliar with airline policies and gate changes, something which you and I understand, but this person was not. Unfortunately the discussions blew up out of proportion (and it's too hard for me to say, but blame for that may be wholly or partially due to the passenger's actions), and it's quite possible that she experienced hardship as a result of that.

Beyond that, I'm not sure there's much that can be said. Attacking Virgin or the passenger is diffcult because there just isn't enough information to go on.

Beyond that, can we discuss these things respectfully?
 
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