regretA Virgin flyer’s recent decision to treat themselves to a Business class upgrade ended in bitter disappointment. This member feels they received second class service, including last meal choice, because they had upgraded from an Economy ticket. This member watched on as full-fare paying passengers received blatantly preferential treatment.

It seems the type of fare purchased is visible to the cabin manager on Virgin’s passenger list. So, the crew was aware that this member had upgraded and decided to factor this into the service provided.

Many members agree that, regardless of how they got there, all passengers are entitled to a level of service commensurate to their class of travel. Upgrading passengers may not have paid a full fare on that given flight. But one member argues that they have still paid indirectly through the thousands of dollars spent earning the necessary frequent flyer points or building status with the airline.

This member also argues that it’s bad business to neglect upgrading passengers. These passengers may become valuable, full-fare paying customers in future… but only if they were satisfied with the service.

On the other hand, some members have taken Virgin’s side. They believe that it is indeed fair to offer preferential treatment to full fare paying passengers. Others are quick to defend Virgin for a different reason. They say they have been looked after well when upgrading, and that this sort of treatment is unusual.

One member points out that catering is never assured when upgrading in the lounge just prior to a flight. This policy exists on both Virgin and Qantas. However this does not apply to this case as the member had upgraded well in advance.

Join the discussion HERE.


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]