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Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2850
Experience:  Partner in national law firm
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Virgin Ticket refund

Customer Question

Hello I have been flying from London to Washington on 13/03/13 and returning on 18/03/13 with Virgin Atlantic flying Upper Class. The total ticket price was around £4,800. On my return flight from Washington to London I went to the check in desk and the lady on check in said that upper class is overbooked and if I would downgrade to Premium economy I would get 75% of my total purchase price + 40,000 air miles. I spoke to several people from Virgin and asked for the manager to attend to make sure this is all correct. The manager attended and told me that she is the highest ranking person here and that this is ok. Before I boarded she met me at the gate and gave me something to sign (see attached). I signed the attached document which states that I get 75% back + 40k air miles. As you can see i asked her to cross out some wording next to the 75% and replace with full ticket price. I spoke to Virgin today and they apologized and said that this is not their policy and it seems the person made a mistake. They are ok with the air miles but not with the 75% refund. They are currently reviewing the situation and promised to come back to me within the next few days. My question is, if they come back and say sorry and tell me that I won’t get the 75% back, what do I need to tell them. After all, I have it in writing and it’s not my problem if they made a mistake. Also, it is not like an item I can send back in the post, I gave up my upper flight class based on the basis of getting 75% + my air miles back – as stated in the coupon. I even filled in a slip which asked what payment option I want i.e. cheque, bank transfer or refund to credit card Many thanks Christian ,


Attachment: 2013-03-27_144105_v.docx

Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alice H replied 5 years ago.
Hello and welcome to Just Answer.

My name is Alex and I'm happy to help with your question today.

Please bear with me while I read the document.
Expert:  Alice H replied 5 years ago.

I've had a look at the document you attached and can certainly see the 40,000 air miles and notes beside the 75% discount.

As a basic principle of contract law if they have made you an offer which you have accepted then Virgin must honour that agreement.

It was clearly made in good faith and by someone who had the authority to complete the remittance slip. Failure to honour the agreement would give you grounds to take legal action against Virgin for compensation.

Their suggestion that the person who made the offer did not have authority to do so could be an argument not to bind the company to the offer they made. However that argument simply can't be correct if the person in question is given authority to complete the discount slip with a number of options available.

Either way if Virgin are unhappy about the arrangement they should honour the offer made to you and take disciplinary action against the person in question.


Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hi, they came back to me and offered 75% refund on my return flight but the person + the slip shows 75% on the entire ticket price. I am awaiting their response but isn't that slip a legal binding agreement. Therefore, they have to honour it? If they refuse, what are my options? Go to the OFT?


Please see attached full email conversation. Is there anything else you would recommend I should say?


Attachment: 2013-03-28_150905_v.docx



Expert:  Alice H replied 5 years ago.

I think it would be difficult to argue for 75% on the entire fare. Firstly you appear to have received the benefit of the Upper Class service on the way out. That trip appears to be uneventful. Secondly a Court (if the matter went that far) would apply the principles in the case of Hadley v Baxendale (1854) and only award reasonable losses which are not to remote. I think it would be difficult to argue that the entire trip should be subject to 75% discount when only the return trip failed to meet your expectation. You can certainly complain to the OFT but the principles in H v B will be applied.

Expert:  Alice H replied 5 years ago.

I am following up our conversation to see how you got on with the issue. If you need any further help then please let me know - remember I am a qualified UK Solicitor and able to help on most aspects of English Law. I am London based and usually able to respond to your query very quickly.

Alex Hughes