Virgin Atlantic Cancellation Help


For context; I am British and my wife is from the US and is 6m pregnant. We recently (in July) had a trip booked to go to Seattle to visit her family before the baby is born. 

2 weeks before our flights Virgin Atlantic emailed to say they had cancelled our flights to and back from Seattle and offered us a refund or to book onto a new flight. After choosing the new flight option we discovered there were no direct flights to Seattle, only connections through certain airports in the US e.g. LAX, JFK. After asking them to book us onto the connection through LAX, Virgin turned around and refused to do so because we had used air miles on our booking. Despite numerous requests, the best they were going to do was put us on a flight to LAX and for us to sort out and pay for our own connection up to Seattle out of our own pocket. This cost us over $800 and increased our journey time to over 17 hours instead of 10! 

We felt like they had completely left us high and dry and didn't once offer any sort of compensation or cabin upgrade to make my wife feel more comfortable. Does anyone know if legally they should have made sure we could have reached our end destination? I feel like they should have. and in that case does anyone know if they are liable to refund us for the additional cost we had to fork out for our own connection from LAX?




  • edited 4 August 2021 at 1:55PM
    eskbankereskbanker Forumite
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    edited 4 August 2021 at 1:55PM
    Their legal obligations are set out in the EC 261/2004 regulations, which effectively remain in force in the UK post-Brexit (via retention legislation), including (in Article 8):

    [when the airline cancels flights] passengers shall be offered the choice between:

    (a) - reimbursement within seven days, by the means provided for in Article 7(3), of the full cost of the ticket at the price at which it was bought, for the part or parts of the journey not made, and for the part or parts already made if the flight is no longer serving any purpose in relation to the passenger's original travel plan, together with, when relevant,

    - a return flight to the first point of departure, at the earliest opportunity;

    (b) re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at the earliest opportunity; or

    (c) re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at a later date at the passenger's convenience, subject to availability of seats.

    This therefore obliges them to get you to Seattle, rather than LAX, so they should have offered this option, and if they didn't then they should reimburse your costs incurred in doing so.  I fail to understand the significance they attach to using air miles, although if you'd asked for a refund that may have been relevant.
  • NickyStourNickyStour Forumite
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    That's really helpful thank you @eskbanker. I also fail to see the significance of using miles. It seems if you used miles you're treated as less important than using cash even though we amassed miles by spending money on their flights! madness. 

    Will approach them directly for reimbursement and if not successful will take this to the CAA or relevant body
  • WestinWestin Forumite
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    Did VS not however offer you a rerouting (probably via JFK or ATL) for your Seattle flight - but it was you that wanted via LAX?
  • NickyStourNickyStour Forumite
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    Name Dropper First Post
    @Westin No they wouldn't reroute via anywhere. They said I had to wait until direct flights resume for them to reboo me to Seattle (in September) even though those connecting flights were on Delta which is a Virgin Atlantic partner airline. 

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