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Handling overbooked flights

JohnK

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Apologies for long rant.

Daughter and I on 2 separate bookings. I booked using Flybuys and then booked daughter via Velocity call centre, bookings linked and seated together.

Yesterday was a nightmare.

- turn up to SYD T2 at 4:05pm for 5:10pm flight to OOL
- use Priority check in and handover drivers licence and daughters passport
- place luggage on scales and it is 24.2kg. Asked to take something out to get it to 23kg. No problem take Baby formula out and now bag 23kg

And here is where the fun starts.

"I can't check you in for this flight"
"Why?"
"Flight is full"
"That's not my problem. I have confirmed bookings on this flight"
"You haven't checked in, I can offer you seat on next available flight" Note not next flight but next available flight.
"That's irrelevant. I'm not interested in any other flights. I'm going on this flight. Take someone else off the flight"

This went on for a few minutes. She won't check me in and is not authorised to take anyone off.

"You'll have to see the sales desk"

By this time I'm very angry. They've somehow managed to overbook flight and have decided the fairest way is to remove people checking in last. Absolutely rubbish VA.

Head over to service desk and I'm still angry.

"Flight is full"
"I have confirmed tickets for this flight. If you want me to take another flight then I want $1000 per person"

She arrogantly laughs. She called a supervisor, went over to see supervisor and comes back

"You have a seat on the flight but your daughter has been offloaded"
"Why? The bookings are linked. Who would offload a 2 year old on her own? Virgin have overbooked a flight and now you are making it my problem when it isn't"
"The bookings are not linked. Your daughters booking is for an adult"
"Seriously? VA call centre made that booking and linked to my booking as we are seated together"
"There is another Gold member who has not yet checked in. If he doesn't check in then I'll give that seat to your daughter"
"No that's not right either. I don't want to take someone else's seat. We're going to BNE. Can you get us a seat to BNE instead?
"Why didn't you say that in the first place? There are seats on the 6:00pm flight"

So off we went. That was very poor handling by VA all round and could have ended up very badly. My anger doesn't help either but if an airline wants to oversell flights it should not try to bully people into accepting what ever it offers.

Everything after that went smoothly but this still leaves a bad after taste. I will be following up with feedback.
 

Sludge321

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Sounds like a stressful experience and not well handled by VA but I doubt it was due to sales overbooking - Sydney has been a disaster for the last four days due to strong winds with nearly everything delayed and loads of cancellations (single runway operations). I'm guessing it was done to try and pack cancelled/missed connections in rather than as a sales thing - not that it helps your situation, but maybe lessens the anger a little compared to deliberate overselling?


09:30 Today:
IMG_20190909_092440.jpg
 
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Ade

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Everything after that went smoothly but this still leaves a bad after taste. I will be following up with feedback.
Yes, you SHOULD and let them know about the bad experience and the agony that you had to go through as a parent travelling alone with a 2 year old.

Besides, it's not even logical what VA tried to do. Airlines should think before saying/acting/doing things that would cause stress to travelers.

@JohnK , I'd think that you've got status with VA and you could use that to your advantage (call the Platinum hotline/customer care) and let them know how you felt.
 

MEL_Traveller

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VA's bump policy is to deny boarding to those who check in last: https://www.virginaustralia.com/eu/en/experience/service-experience/customer-service-plan/compensation-for-denied-boarding/

Subject to factors such as severe hardships, fare type, number in party, on carriage and status within the Velocity and partner loyalty programmes, Virgin Australia will accommodate passengers based upon the time they arrive for check-in.

However, I would have though that travelling with an infant, plus any status you have, might have exempted you.

Something strange seems to have happened with your daughter's ticketing. SHould have been a free ticket... can't see how it translated to 'adult'?
 
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blackcat20

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However, I would have though that travelling with an infant, plus any status you have, might have exempted you.
Except she was on a separate ticket so he wasn’t technically travelling with a child. Linking bookings doesn’t count for much. Plus she’s two, so she’s not free.
 

MEL_Traveller

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Except she was on a separate ticket so he wasn’t technically travelling with a child. Linking bookings doesn’t count for much. Plus she’s two, so she’s not free.
Sorry. For some reason I thought John said he was travelling with an infant.

If that's not the case, a two year old shouldn't be allowed to be ticketed in a separate PNR by themselves?
 

knagelli

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"The bookings are not linked. Your daughters booking is for an adult"
Even if the bookings were not linked , it is stupidity to allow booking for a kid as an adult. I had the similar experience with VA in the past where my kid who was one then , was booked as an adult. I had to pay another $160 just to get that updated.

Is it intentional that VA lets the booking for kids as adult even after selecting as a child. Looks like some money making process if nothing else. VA is going down hill and if members with Gold/Platinum are having to experience this kind of mess , it is not very long that loyal customers shift to other ff programs.

All is well that ends well but this should not be left without further escalation down the VA ranks.
 
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PDog

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Bunch of idiots !! pardon my language, but offload a 2 year old ?!?!?!?!? Really VA!! Come on!!!
I don't understand- they are holding a seat for another unchecked in gold member (which they offerred to your now bumped 2 year old) but not you?
Can you buy a seat for a 2y/o on a single booking??
Sounds stressful, but also a weird turn of events.
 

burmans

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While I understand JohnK's frustration and in particular think they handled the 2YO situation poorly am not really sure why he thinks they should have bumped someone else rather than him. Virgin are not alone in overbooking and it appears the decision was in line with their policy. In fact I would suggest that if JohnK was not a long time poster here we would have had a number of people pointing this out by now in no uncertain terms.
 

RooFlyer

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, but offload a 2 year old
travelling with an infant
bumped 2 year old
According to the OP, Virgin had the daughter recorded as a separate adult booking (obviously a booking mistake, but that's what was recorded). So being 'bumped' as a late check-in wasn't that scandalous, per the conditions quoted by Mel_Traveller above.

And in the OP's own quotation of the conversation, he comes across as aggressive, so wouldn't have been helping his cause.
 

MEL_Traveller

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JohnK - were you aware at the time of booking your daughter had been booked as an adult?
 

Daver6

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I don't know what VAs policy is, but you couldn't send a two year old on QF as an unaccompanied minor.

@JohnK good on you for standing your ground.
 
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Matt_01

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@JohnK so reading many of your post in which you promote the value of QF WP why you you fly VA. Even if you have VA WP status surely you would know that the 2 are poles apart?
 

TomVexille

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I don't know what VAs policy is, but you couldn't send a two year old on QF as an unaccompanied minor.

@JohnK good on you for standing your ground.
VA don't do UMs under 5, which may be where things began to go wrong, as a 2 year old should not be able be on their own booking.

While I don't think overbooking is a great practice, I am of the opinion that the OP contributed to their problems by the way the trip was booked.
 

PDog

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According to the OP, Virgin had the daughter recorded as a separate adult booking (obviously a booking mistake, but that's what was recorded). So being 'bumped' as a late check-in wasn't that scandalous, per the conditions quoted by Mel_Traveller above.

And in the OP's own quotation of the conversation, he comes across as aggressive, so wouldn't have been helping his cause.
Not sure why you quoted me? I deliberately didn’t make any judgement, let alone suggest it was ‘scandalous’.
Daughter is two, was bumped- ergo bumped 2 year old.
 

Mattg

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According to the OP, Virgin had the daughter recorded as a separate adult booking (obviously a booking mistake, but that's what was recorded). So being 'bumped' as a late check-in wasn't that scandalous, per the conditions quoted by Mel_Traveller above.
I agree that this is probably true, but VA should have used some common sense once they realised they were in fact bumping a two-year-old from the flight.
 

eastwest101

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From the original post, bookings linked and seated together, assume that JohnK's 2yo daughter was a paid fare booking?

Then due to overbooking/flow forward and the VA policy of how they bump overbooked flights they attempted to bump JohnK himself? This appears to me that the bookings may have become "unlinked" in VA"s system.

JohnK did you do OLCI for either yourself or your daughter that might explain why the bookings got unlinked.

On SYD single runway ops days with VA I will remember to always do OLCI as soon as practicable to avoid the "last to check in VA bump", and have a paper boarding pass, that makes it more difficult for an airline to bump you on an overlooking day.
 

MEL_Traveller

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From the original post, bookings linked and seated together, assume that JohnK's 2yo daughter was a paid fare booking?
This is what I'm wondering. OP says booked via Velocity - which implies an award? If a ticket wasn't available for a 2 year old, did JohnK know it was being booked as an adult award at the time of booking?

If so, that changes the equation.
 

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