Posts: 471
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2006 2:31 pm

VS Products For Passengers

Mon Oct 29, 2007 8:13 pm

Hi, I always had the opinion in the few times I have flown on VS that their product was "good". IMHO, SQ product in all classes is "very good/excellent". However, my elderly parents recently came over the pond LHR/IAD last week and reported in Y class they were very uncomfortable, the aircraft was packed etc., the cabin service was very unhelpful as they were told specific seats (aisle) and were placed directly in front of the WC, and to top it off, my father's new suitcase was vandalized where the front left latch was ripped completely off, and another small checked bag was chewed up in apparently a mechanical accident.

What is the different between the various Upper Class and Economy products ? The plane was full, and apparently the service was different from cabin to cabin.

We also spent hours and hours and hours in trying to reschedule flights going back (no luck, due to fare basis restrictions), but that is a very different and very aggravating story. The fare basis war needs to be taken to the airlines who sell unsuspecting customers a e-ticket through travel agents who rarely provide detailed (and understandable) fare choices, rules. -- only after you purchase them, try to change them, do you realise what the pitfalls are. It was a joint EK/VS ticket, and EK was very flexible, VS was "no .. go away" attitude. The original routing was DAC/DXB/LHR/IAD RT - but ultimately it turned out to be DAC/DXB/LHR EK and LHR/IAD VS sold through EK.

I suspect there are many A.netters who will take the high road and say "well you get what you pay for", yes, I totally agree - but most travel agents/airlines staff rarely take the time to slog through the hundreds of lines of terms and conditions that describe the fare basis - and explain to the passenger at the time of booking. Unless you always pay full Y or J fare everytime you travel, you are on restricted fares most of the time - and the airlines just wait for you to ask them "Can I (...) change (.....) please", and T H E N T H E Y H A V E Y O U

DISCLAIMER: I am a passenger, not an airlines staff. I just wanted to change one trip to have my father around a few more days than scheduled and we all spent about 5 hours on the telephones in a week figuring out it couldn't be done.. and it took a round of consultation between UK/UAE/BGD to figure this one out.

Up, up and Away!
Posts: 14239
Joined: Mon May 23, 2005 9:33 am

RE: VS Products For Passengers

Mon Oct 29, 2007 8:35 pm

None of those things in the first paragraph is VS's fault or at least in any way specific to them.

The plane is full, so they had to take their assigned seats which they didn't check out in advance to make sure they weren't by the bathroom. And?
Baggage was damaged by airport luggage system (both bags, sounds like). I hate when that happens, but... And?

You never checked to see what you were buying (seats, fares, changes) and then it's VS's fault?

Fly any carrier on a full flight out of LHR, it'll be the same. Luggage, if you get it, may be damaged. Try to change any discounted Y ticket, it'll be the same. If there's room on another flight, there will be fees involved. Sometimes major fees.

Maybe the thread should be titled: "Airline travel: how does it work?"  Wink
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
Posts: 812
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 5:44 am

RE: VS Products For Passengers

Mon Oct 29, 2007 10:29 pm

That's the way the cookie crumbles I'm afraid. If you get assigned a seat and there's nowhere else to move to then unless you do something at check-in the crew can do very little. VS do run an on-line check in facility where you can select your own seats, but whether this would've been possible considering it was a joint EK/VS ticket I don't know.

If it was cheaper, maybe you should have booked the tickets for each leg individually, then you could've paid extra to have a flexible ticket as VS let you do this, and to try and assign particular seats.

With regards to suitcase damage, they do say don't use a brand new suitcase straight away on a flight!  Wink Bit stupid I agree if you have no other choice. A suitcase is just as likely to get damaged on a VS flight as it is with any other carrier if it's checked into the hold

I can't see how this can be held up as a complaint if you take this to VS and/or EK as (apart from the crew issue) there's very little they can do and they can't just block off the seats by the lav when there's money to be made on them. The only thing you can do really is to look carefully at the Ts and Cs of your ticket before booking it, and learn from this experience. Also if you want to have total flexibility over your ticket, it might be better to book direct with the airline for the legs involved and book a fully flexible ticket with a decent seat. This site might help when it comes to VS:
Posts: 604
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2005 12:17 pm

RE: VS Products For Passengers

Mon Oct 29, 2007 10:41 pm

Basically, your quandary about changing flights is a problem relating to the whole airline industy and not VS in particular. The fact that EK was willing to make changes could be because you bought the ticket directly through them or because they are a Middle Eastern carrier subsidized by their government and don't have to worry about making profits like other airlines, such as VS, do, and were thus more willing to let you slide. However, it is up to you and your travel agent to communally understand what you are buying. If he/she did not explain the rules to you in advance, I am sorry. However, that is not the airline's fault, and like you said, unless you pay money for flexibility you won't get it. Why? Because operating an aircraft from LHR-IAD costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and so the airlines can give you a "deal" if they know you will actually be confirmed on that flight and won't change your plans or cancel at the last minute, making the flight unprofitable. This gives them more leeway, especially in advance, to plan what type of plane they should use for a particular market etc. Again, I am sorry that your parents also did not understand how air travel works but perhaps you should have thought about these questions before the trip, not afterwards.
Posts: 435
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 10:23 pm

RE: VS Products For Passengers

Tue Oct 30, 2007 10:50 am

Some of the locos now offer just two ticket types - Fixed and Flexible - and this can be much easier for the regular passenger to understand and it would be nice if all airlines could move towards such an approach, failing that just some simplification of the current fare type buckets and associated rules might aid understanding as there are currently a bit too many in my opinion.

While fare rules can be long and complex, I think passengers should expect and ask for the basics like refunds / cancellations and change rules without going into all the dramas about routings, upgrades etc.

Its always worth calling the airlines bluff too and asking for a print out of the fare rules to be faxed to you. I booked a cheap W class ticket from LHR - SYD and at the time I couldnt be bothered to struggle with to book stopovers so I booked straight through. About 3 months before departure I thought a few days in BKK on the way out and SIN on the way back might be nice so I rang up and asked about changing it. I was immediately told there were no changes allowed but then I asked the agent to confirm to me all of the rules of the fare class and after a short pause it became obvious they had no idea. I asked them to provide it in writing, but becuse it was a promo fare booked a year in advance the rules werent available so they had no choice but to make my changes and just charge a 50GBP change fee. The flexible ticket at the time of booking was about 700 GBP more!

Best news of all though - I got upgraded to Club on two of ther four sectors! Not bad for a cheap inflexible W class ticket
We'd like to welcome in particular our Executive Club members and those joining us from our Oneworld alliance partners.

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