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Virgin accidentally cancelled my open booking.

  • leecar

    The flights for my booking were cancelled in late 2020. At the time Virgin offered several options which included a cash refund or the opportunity to have an open booking and a flight upgrade (valid for two years) as a reward for my loyalty. I opted for the open booking and flight upgrade.

    Whoever was dealing with my query misread my request and said they would refund my ticket (this was all via whatsapp). I called Virgin and was assured that the refund hadn’t gone through and that they’d give me an open booking and upgrade voucher. I was also told this in writing (via whatsapp). Soon afterwards, the open booking appeared in my dashboard on the Virgin Atlantic account.

    When I contacted Virgin to rebook the flights I was told that there was no open booking at that a refund had been made back in December 2020. They acknowledged that this shouldn’t have happened and gave me an upgrade voucher, but said they wouldn’t reinstate the booking as too much time had elapsed since the refund had been made. N.B. I had purchased ‘Golden Tickets’ as part of Virgin’s Cyber Monday promotions. Frankly, I’ll never be able to get Manchester to Barbados return flights for £175 again.

    What can I say to Virgin to have them reinstate this booking?
    I’m happy to repay the £175 or pay whatever the current taxes, fees & charges +£1 is. The reason I didn’t notice the refund is because it had gone back to a credit card I only use for travel, they had assured me that there wouldn’t be a refund and there’d be an open booking instead, the open booking was in my dashboard on my Virgin account, they had sent email updates about how to use the open booking (there was no other booking that this could’ve related to) and they had never sent confirmation that a refund had been processed.

    Many thanks.


    EU/UK261 gives you re-routing rights here and Virgin have confirmed that you didn’t agree to a refund. I’d say you’re within your rights to ask for new flights at your convenience but you may have to re-book these yourself and make a claim against Virgin at MCOL or CEDR. Be careful that they can’t claim that you agreed to accept the upgrade in exchange for agreeing to the cancellation.

    There are many, many discussions on this on here so it might help to read through some of the excellent advice (especially from Lady London) which has been given to other readers if this is an unfamiliar area to you.

    • This reply was modified 52 years, 7 months ago by .

    Thanks so much for your advice, I’ll have a look through the threads too.

    Lady London

    +1 you have 6 years to make a claim. They admitted their error and thank heavens you have evidence of what they promised to do.

    I’d aim and request and sue them to provide the open ticket they promised. This is slightly sticky though, though absolutely not untenable. The key point is that at no time did you agree to waive your 261 rights.

    To be technically safe – @JDB what do you think? My gut feel is that you should ask them to fulfil what they said they would do but actually identify a date for your cancelled flights to be rerouted to and be prepared to give them an option to issue tickets for your chosen date as the intervening time has given you a chance to identify this specific date as a convenient date for you to reroute to. You can mention again that you would prefer them to honour their promise you have a copy of in writing, to issue an open ticket but you can accept a ticket with your specific reroute dates as a practical solution.

    Put this in your Letter Before Action (read up as NorthernLass says) and I’d give them 30 days to provide the ticket failing which you will take formal action.

    Funnily enough I think if Virgin is in an arbitration scheme you should win just by taking it to arbitration as both the law and more importantly reasonableness is on your side.


    Thanks once more.

    One more thing, the original open ticket was valid up to the end of December 2022 (I can’t remember off hand if that was the last date to travel or the last date to book). Were I to book another flight and fight for Virgin to reimburse me, would it have to be done by the same date?

    I would have travelled earlier this year (when I first tried to rebook), however, their cancellation threw a spanner in the works.


    Unless I misunderstand the scenario, the ‘open booking’ was essentially just a voucher for the original flight value (in your case £175?). So if they’ve actually refunded the £175 instead you are better off as you can spend it on anything you like including but not limited to another flight on Virgin Atlantic.

    It wouldn’t have simply been a voucher for a future flight on the same route – you would have had to pay fare difference.

    I believe they were waiving a small token amount of fare difference per person when these open tickets were used – I think all you could be pushing for is to be entitled to that, in addition to the free upgrade they’ve already given you, and then you’re back on for what was agreed in the first place.

    • This reply was modified 52 years, 7 months ago by .
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