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Virgin Flying Club Awards Hong Kong

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  • The Streets

    Anyone know where all the availability has gone

    sm

    Yes very strange. I noticed Monday / Tuesday this week the cash prices were reasonable ( PE return £900) and also lots of availability on reward on all classes was excellent. It’s almost as though they’ve all been removed?

    Gary

    VS website had this up 2-3 days ago. “Looking for a Virgin Atlantic flight to Hong Kong? Our flights to Hong Kong are back on sale from 26th March 2023, ready for the summer next year.”

    Bob

    Everything’s been removed according to seatspy so they’re probably making some back end changes

    mrcrsearle

    Ive got two UC reward seats booked that week. To buy they were £9880.

    Bob

    route is (permanently) suspended now, won’t be resuming in March 2023 hence why all seats were pulled.

    SamG

    I imagine a big part of the reason being the closure of Russian air space, it’ll be a tricky one to operate profitably vs sending the aircraft to the USA twice in the same timing to feed the Delta mothership

    Sprout

    Damn. I’ve got 4 one way upper class reward flights from HKG to LHR in March next year.
    We are spending 2/3 weeks in Vietnam and this was to be our return leg.
    Reading the announcement below:

    “anyone booked to travel from March 2023, will be offered a refund, voucher or the option to rebook on an alternative Virgin Atlantic route.”

    I’m sure I’ll find out in time, but does anyone know what options might be for a rewards booking (as opposed to cash)? I’d be happy to return from a different city in the Far east but as far as I can tell Virgin only fly from Shanghai. Is there any likelihood (obligation) of them offering us seats on a different airline?
    Any advice would be appreciated.

    NorthernLass

    @Sprout – is Virgin the carrier you would be flying on? If so as an EU airline they have to re-route you on your original itinerary (on another carrier if necessary), if they have cancelled your flight. Isn’t BA supposed to be re-starting Hong Kong?
    Don’t accept any kind of refund until you’ve read the threads on here about EU/UK261, which contain all the information you will need.

    *AND they are supposed to inform you of your full rights, which clearly they haven’t here!

    Sprout

    @NorthernLass – Yes Virgin is the carrier. Thank you for the pointer I’ll read up on EU/UK261. It might even work out to be advantageous to us with a bit of luck. Thanks again

    SamG

    I read somewhere (on here I think?) of someone that did get rebooked to Emirates on a reward booking after writing to the CEO

    Jon

    @SamG Indeed – that was me. Took some effort, but they did re-route me, albeit with twice the journey time (via BKK and DXB). Now to go through the process again for another Upper Class HKG booking later next year…

    I’ve often thought Virgin would be a good fit for Kuala Lumpur, all the more so now that they’ve joined SkyTeam (LON-KUL strikes me as a bit of a gap in the network coverage there), and especially with Malaysia Airlines currently being the only direct option and anecdotally flying with full premium cabins. Maybe if VS is pulling Hong Kong permanently, KUL could be a good use of the aircraft and a way to avoid Russian airspace while still serving the region. Would give a non-OneWorld option, and I suspect their brand/style might work quite well for the large numbers of Malaysian students attending schools and universities in the UK, perhaps?

    The Streets

    I just need to try and nab one of the free 500,000 flight tickets to Hong Kong instead!

    polly

    They reckon the free HKG flts will be in Y only, but we can always hope….

    SamG

    @Jon from what I heard from a good source KUL wasn’t particularly high yielding for BA which does ring true as the couple of times I used it was when BA/SQ were ridiculous out of Singapore! Always full though

    I think VS will only fly East on routes that make sense for US connections as well, India/Pakistan/Africa etc

    Jon

    @SamG You may well be right. Although I’m not sure why the route wouldn’t be high yielding, necessarily. There are plenty of (very) wealthy Malaysians, and from everything I’ve heard and seen myself plenty of business, education and premium leisure traffic between Malaysia and the UK. MH seems to be flying with full premium cabins at the moment, and their prices are ridiculous so I’d hope they’re making a reasonable profit from the route! But I can understand why VS might not want to risk trying it – shame though, I think they’d fit well and bring a different flavour as well as an alternative to OneWorld for those who might want that. But I wonder – it wouldn’t surprise me if there might be some, shall we say, government/regulatory “reluctance” to allow another carrier into KLIA for direct London flights… 😉 (Pure speculation on my part – just seems odd that no-one has picked it up; much as I love MH, they are wide open to attack from a clever competitor…).

    Sprout

    Thought I’d give a quick update on my progress so far in trying to get my upper-class flights rerouted..
    – Initially I was offered a refund
    – I asked for a rerouting and proposed 2 alternatives
    – They have responded by offering me flights on KLM or Air France which are economy and with a connection in CDG or AMS. They say there are issues with the category of flights I have booked (which were reward tickets)
    – I asked them to fulfill their EU261 obligations by giving me “comparable” options on alternative carriers.
    – They have checked with a manager and confirmed they have met their obligation as alternative carriers are KLM and AF and any flight satisfies the requirement of “comparable”.
    – I have countered by quoting them the CAA definition of “comparable” in CAP2155 and highlighting direct business class flights that are available from HKG on the same day operated by BA and CP.
    – I await their response!

    I suspect I’m going to need to take some formal action and have been reading up on the various threads here. So, firstly a big thanks to those contributors (@LadyLondon, @beardyshuhz, @JDB, @Jon and others) without which I wouldn’t have even bothered going this far and would have taken a refund.
    I have no legal experience but hate the thought of these types of practices denying people what they are entitled to. So this may be (probably is) a naive question but is it possible for me to follow a CEDR process without having purchased alternative flights? I don’t have the funds to purchase flights and then risk not being able to get the money back at the end of the process.
    Thanks all

    JDB

    @sprout – you don’t need to buy tickets, but simply demonstrate the cost of replacement ones with screenshots or similar. However, there is an issue with CEDR in that the max award is £10k and you can only make one claim per PNR.

    Try one more call, after that I would be inclined to send them a formal ‘letter before action’ setting out the law and their failure to comply, being specific about the replacement flights you want, how those comply with CAA guidance and the CAA/CMA letter. Say that failing provision of said flights you will take legal action or CEDR and write to the CMA. Give them 14 days to reply.

    SamG

    Did you try writing to the CEO?

    Quite ridiculous behaviour

    Sprout

    Thanks for the reply both. At the moment I am corresponding by e-mail rather than telephone with the executive team. I guess if this doesn’t resolve the issue I could write to the CEO and then follow the CEDR course of action proposed by @JDB.
    If I go down the CEDR route what (positive) outcome could I expect? If I demonstrate equivalent flights are available for sale at £4k each would I be asking for them to provide these flights or would I be asking for £16k cash which would be capped at £10k. (which I could use to purchase alternative flights of my choosing)
    Many thanks

    JDB

    Thanks for the reply both. At the moment I am corresponding by e-mail rather than telephone with the executive team. I guess if this doesn’t resolve the issue I could write to the CEO and then follow the CEDR course of action proposed by @JDB.
    If I go down the CEDR route what (positive) outcome could I expect? If I demonstrate equivalent flights are available for sale at £4k each would I be asking for them to provide these flights or would I be asking for £16k cash which would be capped at £10k. (which I could use to purchase alternative flights of my choosing)
    Many thanks

    You need to put a cash amount for the claim but I’m not sure if can have a £16k claim you accept is capped at £10k – you need to look at the rules on the CEDR site. You can say (if you wish) you would accept tickets in lieu. Bear in mind that if you accept rebooking on CX or other non UK/EU you will not have 261 rights on those new flights. I would write the LBA to the people you are communicating with. Put it in a proper letter and say enough is enough.

    Sprout

    Thanks @JDB.
    I have just spoken to the CEDR people and they don’t work with Virgin. They have directed me to a body called ADR. Looking on their website, they have a limit of £25k per claim so all should be good on that front.

    JDB

    Thanks @JDB.
    I have just spoken to the CEDR people and they don’t work with Virgin. They have directed me to a body called ADR. Looking on their website, they have a limit of £25k per claim so all should be good on that front.

    Sorry, had forgotten they were AviationADR rather than CEDR and brilliant they have the higher limit.

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