Virgin updated – Flight disruption – 20 December 14:00
Monday 20, December 2010
The recent severe weather conditions have severely affected all flights in and out of the UK. Virgin Atlantic is working around the clock to re-establish their flying programme and get the passengers on their way during this most critical time of year.
However as a result of the closure of the London Gatwick runway at the weekend, and the ongoing restrictions on the Heathrow runways, many aircraft remain out of position and flights continue to be cancelled and delayed. As Virgin Atlantic recovers their displaced aircraft and Heathrow increases the number of aircraft allowed to depart Virgin Atlantic is gradually returning to a normal schedule. However it will take some days before full service resumes.
Virgin Atlantic has pulled in all available resources to their call centres all over the world in order to handle the massive numbers of calls they are receiving from disrupted passengers, however holding times are very long. Due to the very limited availability of seats it is unlikely that they will be able to rebook passengers who still wish to commence their travel on flights departing before 23 December at least, they therefore urge passengers who are in their country of residence, to contact their travel agents or tour operators or call them (if it is a direct booking) after noon on Tuesday 21 to check availability and rebook their flights if possible. Passengers who have decided to cancel their travel plans do not need to call them in order to apply for a refund this can be done via their travel agents or for direct bookings via their online refunds process.
As always, it is essential to check Flight Status for the latest information on their flight schedules before you travel to the airport. In addition please update your mobile phone details in My Booking in order for them to send text messages in the event of significant disruptions.
London Gatwick Airport:
Gatwick airport has reopened and Virgin Atlantic is hoping to operating as many flights as they can today their, albeit with some cancellations and delays.
All their flights are operating as scheduled.
Heathrow is now open for some arrivals however because of the massive backlog and the frozen conditions on the aircraft stands the number of flights allowed to land and depart from the airport is still severely restricted, as a result some of their flights on Monday 20th December have been cancelled. Please check Flight Status.
DO NOT TRAVEL TO THE AIRPORT IF YOUR FLIGHT IS CANCELLED OR IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A CONFIRMED BOOKING ON A FLIGHT THAT IS DEFINITELY OPERATING
Some flights due to arrive in Gatwick and Heathrow on Saturday18th and Sunday 19th were diverted to other airports in the UK and Europe. Virgin Atlantic expects most of the aircraft diverted into non UK airports to return to the UK with their passengers on Monday 20 December they are however still awaiting confirmation of arrival slots for some diverted aircraft and cannot update passengers any further at this point. In view of this situation they are offering passengers on flights that have been diverted to France, Spain, Germany and Ireland some alternative travel options please view the customer relations pages.
Passengers on cancelled flights can view more information on rebooking options, claims and ticket refunds on their customer relations pages.
ADVICE FOR PASSENGERS WAITING TO BE REUNITED WITH THEIR BAGGAGE
During the weekend 18 and 19 December, five of the flights were cancelled after passengers bags had been loaded into the aircraft. Because the prevailing conditions would not allow Virgin Atlantic to unload the bags very quickly, many passengers were asked to go home without collecting them. These bags are now unloaded and Virgin Atlantic is finalising the details of an off airport location where they can be reclaimed by passengers. Once these arrangements have been confirmed they will update the website (probably around 17:00H). In the meantime, Virgin Atlantic has placed the baggage from the following flights in Zone A of terminal 3 (The Virgin Atlantic check in area) where they can be collected up to 20:00H (UK Local) tonight, 20 December by their owners (or by an authorised representative as long as they have the baggage tags and hand them over to the airport staff or handling agent.)
VS3 due to depart on 18 December to New York JFK
VS7 due to depart on 18 December to Los Angeles
Please do not go to Terminal 3 for your baggage if you were not on the above flights.
Passengers who are unable to return to Heathrow should wait for them to publish more information. Please be aware that due to the general driving conditions and the lack of available resources it is unlikely Virgin Atlantic will be able to deliver all bags to all passengers before Christmas.
ADVICE FOR CUSTOMERS DUE TO TRAVEL ON NON DISRUPTED FLIGHTS TO OR FROM LONDON HEATHROW, BETWEEN MONDAY 20 AND FRIDAY 24 DECEMBER 2010
If you are holding a confirmed booking for any flight that is that is operating to or from London Heathrow on these dates and prefer to travel at a later date, or not to travel at all, Virgin Atlantic would like to use your seats for the passengers from the flights they cancelled over the past couple of days. The options are:
- Refund of unused flights, if travel has not commenced. All refunds will be credited to the original form of payment. Passengers requiring a refund should go back to the point of sale.
- or Re-book to a later date. Take a Virgin Atlantic flight to your destination at a later date within the next 3 months subject to availability of seats in the same cabin.
If your flight has been purchased as part of a package or it includes other elements such as car hire, hotel, ground transfers etc they regret they are unable to change these arrangements or incur any rebooking costs they may carry.
VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR PASSENGERS ON CANCELLED FLIGHTS WHO ARE AWAY FROM HOME
Virgin Atlantic is focussing all their energy on a recovery plan to bring people back home. Because so many aircraft are out of position it will be a little while before things are completely returned to normal. If they cannot rebook you on their flights departing within the next 3-4 days (rest assured they are also planning to operate extra flights as well as securing seats on other carriers where possible over the next few days). You will be asked to give them your contact details and they will be in touch with your new flight details as soon as they have them confirmed. If you have sent them your contact details and received an automated acknowledgement please be assured that they have you in their system and they will get back to you as soon as they find seats for you.
How Virgin Atlantic will contact stranded passengers to advise you of your new flight details?
Passengers who are on the return leg of their journey (ie away from home) should send their details by email to email@example.com, with the following details:
Your booking reference number. (It will be a 6 character with a mixture of numbers and letters e.g. BJVC1X)
Your 7 digit Virgin Holidays Reference number
Full names of all the passengers in your party
Your ORIGINAL date of departure
Your ORIGINAL flight number
Your current contact details
- E mail
- Mobile phone number
- Land line i.e. hotel or other temporary accommodation
- Address of temporary accommodation
(You must provide them with at least one of these contact options, preferably two. )
You will receive an automated acknowledgment to your e mail. Virgin Atlantic will not however send any further reply. They will contact you as son as they have your new flight details.
PLEASE NOTE - if you have already been re booked on a flight due to leave in the next 2 days i.e. up to and including Tuesday 22 December do not e mail or call them with your details. They will not be able to bring you home any sooner so please check in for your new flight as usual.
Passengers who are away from home can reclaim reasonable hotel and meal costs. For information on how to make a claim for reimbursement of these costs along with rebooking options and ticket refunds please view the Customer Relations pages.
Independent Travel Option
Many passengers who are away from home are asking if they can make their own independent arrangements to return home, using other transport providers and modes via mainland Europe for example. Virgin Atlantic would like to empower their passengers who are in a position, and confident to do this and have placed more advice on the Customer Relations pages.
More and more travellers think that researching and planning a European city break is half the fun and they're not interested in pre-arranged trips or escorted tours. Self-guided tours offer a lot of advantages but require some guidance and good resources.
With the recent wild fires, disrupting flights and increasing air pollution, environmental quality is a growing factor in attracting tourists.
The hotel price comparison site www.trivago.co.uk has put together a list of the fifteen most spectacular hotel rooftop terraces in the world.