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VirginAmerica charged $20 to call when couldn't complete reservation online

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I booked a flight for my 86-year-old mom the other day and the website would only let me book seats in one direction, deleting the selection for the outbound as soon as I selected the return, and visa versa. I booked her tickets with the outbound seat and then tried to book the return seat after the fact, but got a notification that there is a problem and I should call.

So I called and, after being on hold for 25 minutes, spoke with someone who was able to book her return seat.

OK, so I'm checking my credit card statement a few days later and I see a charge for $20 for using VA's call center.

Their website has had lots of problems over the last year or so since they "upgraded," so to have to pay $20 to speak to someone when the website doesn't function is ridiculous. Even more egregious, though, is that I never gave them my credit card number while talking on the phone, and the agent never said anything about being charged for the call. So I was charged based on my name and phone number, apparently (my credit card number is not associated with my mom's account).

To add insult to injury, the closest they have to a customer service number is to call the same number, and ask for "guest care." I did so, and the phone tree forced me to give a number for them to call me back. The phone rang 15 minutes later and they hung up as soon as I answered!

Other than the website bugs, I've been very happy with VirginAmerica up until now, but this gives me the impression that they're about to file for chapter 11. In any event, my next already booked flights will probably be my last with them.


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