Following a disappointing service on Virgin Australia which raised the question of potential serious safety oversights, I sent Virgin this letter last Sunday. What started as a joke has turned much more serious as they responded with the below response which made no assurance that this aircraft was operated safely. In fact, their response was so appalling, that it warranted a serious reply, which you can see at the bottom of this page.
From: Virgin Australia Customer Care [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, 19 February 2015 5:57 p.m.
Subject: Virgin Australia Guest Relations: [reference removed]
From: Kenny Ardouin
Sent: Thursday, 19 February 2015 8:07 p.m.
To: ‘Virgin Australia Customer Care’
Subject: RE: Virgin Australia Guest Relations: [reference removed]
Thank you for your response. As you can probably tell in my
first email, I outlined some pretty serious issues to you in a humourous manner
as is my usual style of making complaints. However, one can only assume that
you did not read my original complaint or wrote the key points off as a joke as
you have failed to address the complaint at all. Therefore, in this response, I
am going to put all jokes aside so we can focus on the key issues. The primary
complaint I had in my initial email to you, was that the main issue faced was a
lack of communication. I made reference to the fact that everyone makes
mistakes and it is how you respond to those which is important. I provided you
with an opportunity to respond appropriately to your mistake.
Let me elaborate why I am unhappy with this response:
1) In my initial email, I directly asked
you the question ‘Did staff fail to complete the pre-flight safety checklist?’
– if I was sitting in your seat, I would view this as a very serious accusation
that I would want to absolutely assure customers was not the case. Your
response made no such effort.
2) You make the following comment:
“Whilst we make every effort to ensure that our flights depart on time, there
are circumstances that may arise which means services may be disrupted and/or
delayed.” This is very amusing and makes a mockery of ‘on-time departure’ –
this flight did in fact make an on-time departure, however I believe that an
‘on-time departure’ is negated if the flight later returns to the point of origin
to finish off the paperwork that should have been completed before take-off.
3) You also say: “I completely
understand how frustrating it is waiting around at airports and in the
aircraft, particularly if you are not made aware why.” If you re-read my
original complaint, you will see that this was my main issue. I explicitly
asked for an explanation of why the flight was turned around – please
tell me why this is such an unreasonable request? You must be transparent with
your customers – if you cannot provide an explanation as to what happened on
Saturday night, you are fuelling speculation that there was a serious breach of
safety – something which will see myself and anyone else who views this thread
to not fly with Virgin Australia.
4) Lack of customer retention. I am a
little disappointed that you have not made any attempt to convince me that your
airline can perform better next time around – I have a choice of airlines for
trans-Tasman and domestic Australia flights – please tell me why I should fly
I look forward to your response addressing the above issues.