As you may know, I was among those stranded at JFK Airport when a blizzard prompted the cancellation of hundreds of flights on December 26 of last year. My Virgin Atlantic flight - which had been cancelled on the 19th due to a blizzard at Heathrow and rescheduled for the 26th at 6:05pm - was cancelled after we sat on the plane for two hours because of a blizzard at JFK, and was rescheduled for 6:05pm the 27th, then delayed to 7:30, then to a boarding time of 8:15 that didn't happen, and eventually, after great protest from the passengers, finally took off after midnight on the 28th.
Virgin Atlantic still denies that passengers were due any compensation for the experience, even as JetBlue once again proves its menschier status by giving their stranded passengers 10,000 points, scoring customer satisfaction points among its inconvenienced passengers.
What's the problem? Why won't Virgin Atlantic make compensation to the 250 of us who were on VS 004? According to USA Today, Virgin Atlantic (via spokesperson Greg Dawson) claims that "monetary compensation is not due" to the people on our flight - who "had to sleep in the airport terminal because all hotels nearby were booked" - because the snowstorm was an 'extraordinary occurrence.'
Travel writer and the main Twitter voice of our Virgin Atlantic experience Jason Cochran hasn't given up on the idea of compensation, and continues to battle the customer relations and public relations departments via email.
But apparently, Virgin's petulant behavior extends far beyond our particular flight - according to Bnet's Brett Snyder, "Virgin Atlantic has decided it won’t pay Heathrow Airport’s owner BAA anything until an inquiry into last month’s days-long shutdown is completed. Virgin Atlantic is acting like an impatient child here, and runs the risk of making relations with its most important airport even worse."
This preposterous experience just doesn't seem to end. And least of all for writers. Because Jason is still on this situation - it's his job to be. And as for me, while I'm not spending every day fighting about it, I definitely have more to say. Because all the elements of this experience combined into something resembling a psychological experiment in how far people's patience can be stretched before someone cracks and goes postal.
Look for the first part of my recollections to appear later today.