Sunday, January 16, 2011

Virgin Atlantic: You can do better with your systems

I have frequently discussed how much I love Virgin America and how
much I loathe United Airlines even though I am a Premier Executive
flyer with them. On a recent trip to London I decided to fly Virgin
Atlantic. One month before I had flown United to London and as usual,
it was horrid. Their seats are super uncomfortable and despite having
status I was trapped in horrible coach seats both directions.

In another post I discuss the in-flight experience with Virgin
Atlantic. This post is about their systems. Compared to the ease of
use of the America line, Virgin Atlantic has a way to go. Check-in
online is not intuitive. When asked about your checked luggage, it
shows you a graph of your allowed bags and then asks you how many
EXTRA bags you need. Once you decipher this, you check-in but cannot
pick your seat until after you have checked in.

I changed my seat after check-in and received a confirmation saying if
I had changed my seat, it would not be reflected in this confirmation
message. Really? How incredibly backwards.

Next issue: upgrades. They are available but not through online
check-in nor at the check-in kiosk at the airport. When I inquired at
the bag drop counter (which had a very long line at both airports) I
was able to upgrade to Premium Economy. The agent there assigned my
seat then directed me to ANOTHER line to actually make the payment and
get my boarding pass.

And this is why I was knocking people over as I hurried to my gate in
Heathrow, despite getting there early.

I expected better from Virgin Atlantic given how smooth systems are
for Virgin America.


  1. Please update the title. It seems that Virgin Atlantic has a way to go with their systems and not Virgin America. But I do agree, Virgin Atlantic's flow is not intuitive and leaves quite a bit to be desired from a user experience standpoint.

  2. Thank you to Anonymous for catching my glitch in the title. Virgin Atlantic, not Virgin America!!