Spend points for business reward, but get downgraded from A330 to 737

14 replies

Chris_PER

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 19 Feb 2014

Total posts 90

I recently redeemed points for a business seat on VAs A330 from Brisbane - Perth.  The flight was subsequently downgraded to a 737 and retimed 20 mins whilst retaining the same flight number.  Of course that meant going from one of the best business products to arguably one of the worst in Australia - I booked the upgrade based on flying the A330 only.  I made a complaint to VA regarding the change.  


Have any others had similar experiences with Virgin, or even Qantas and did you complain/receive compensation?

Doubleplatinum Banned

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum

Member since 07 Feb 2013

Total posts 431

Complaining about something that happens all the time in the industry shows your lack of travel experience, don't be expecting anything, basically too bad so sad.

GBRGB

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 21 Jan 2014

Total posts 253

Apart from the actual seat is there that much difference, food and drink will be the same, wine etc, still rather be up the front than down the back

ajstubbs

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 15 Mar 2016

Total posts 117

Always disappointing but aircraft changes do happen and that's a particularly cruel one. Not sure there's much they'll offer in compensation because they're pretty careful with stipulating it's a possibility the plane will change. 

Chris_PER

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 19 Feb 2014

Total posts 90

Complaining about something that happens all the time in the industry shows your lack of travel experience, don't be expecting anything, basically too bad so sad.

Lack of travel experience no - I complete the sector 100 times a year, plus others.  However, I uncommonly fly business as I pay for these interstate flights myself.  As mentioned, it is a particularly harsh downgrade - it's not as if they are currently upgrading their fleet.  That would be 'too bad, so sad' as you put it.  You're right in saying that aircraft swaps all the time - but such product variances are very uncommon.  I'm simply asking if others have experienced similar.   

Quicksharp

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 12 Feb 2017

Total posts 4

Happened to me too (Velocity business reward Per to Mel for 4 pax). Luckily for us, our schedule was flexible and we had points to make the changes. I just called the call centre and got the flights changed. Here's hoping they don't change it again...

GregXL

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 26 May 2014

Total posts 304

About half of QF flights between BNE and PER are now 737s, so I would be surprised if there haven't been similar experiences with QF.  The underlying problem is that both QF and VA treat their 737 and A330 J products as interchangeable, when clearly they are not the same product.   If it was a schedule change, then you should have been given options such as a free change to another flight.  Did you even get notification?

bl5965

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 13 Nov 2015

Total posts 80

I don't want to get your hopes up, but when VA first released 'The Business' in 2015, my overnight flight from Perth to Melbourne was downgraded from an A330 to a 737 the night before. In that instance, I got a proactive phone call (because my seat had changed and the cabin was now full) and I also got offered compensation of $250 travel bank credit + 30,000 Velocity points. I only spent 33,800 points redeeming for it in the first place.

I don't think they're that generous anymore and wouldn't expect any more compensation, but it won't hurt to ask.

S

Member since 13 Sep 2013

Total posts 114

Happened to me on an Etihad flight which was supposed to be Dreamliner, but last minute was changed to an A320. 

I was annoyed, but figured it was points, so I can't really complain. 
There was a few people in the cabin who'd paid full price and were having a go at the Flight Attendants about the aircraft change. I didn't see how this was the FA's problem.

David

Member since 24 Oct 2010

Total posts 988

I think it's more than fair for a passenger to expect some compensation for such a downgrade of the experience: going from either the latest Qantas or Virgin Australia A330 business class seat to a Boeing 737 business class is a marked drop in every respect.

Yes, the airline's primary duty is to get you from A to B in safety and in the class you booked; and yes, aircraft swaps fall into the category of "sh*t happens"; and yes meals and service should be the same or equivalent.

But paying for the experience of those advanced spacious fully-flat 1-2-1 business class seats and finding yourself on a Boeing 737 business class is, to me, sufficient to expect some recompense (especially if you were on a  red-eye flight!) in the same way that you pay for one service but are delivered an inferior one.


Whether or not airlines would pony up anything as a make-good is a different matter (personally, I believe they should serve up a slab of frequent flyer points after such a downgrade) but do travellers have a right to be peeved and expect some form of compensation? I'd say yes, they do.

brinkers

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 16 Jun 2011

Total posts 226

But paying for the experience of those advanced spacious fully-flat 1-2-1 business class seats and finding yourself on a Boeing 737 business class is, to me, sufficient to expect some recompense (especially if you were on a  red-eye flight!) in the same way that you pay for one service but are delivered an inferior one.

Whether or not airlines would pony up anything as a make-good is a different matter (personally, I believe they should serve up a slab of frequent flyer points after such a downgrade) but do travellers have a right to be peeved and expect some form of compensation? I'd say yes, they do.


Where it all gets problematic though, is that they sell airfares on the A330 and the 737 at the same price. There is no actual additional cost for travelling on the A330 over the 737.

Having said that, the airlines have in the past been reasonably flexible about allowing you to move to another A330 service, and I know some people that have had points refunded when it has happened to them.

JackMiles

Member since 29 Feb 2016

Total posts 20

As with bl5965, I was on a flight last year which was swapped to the 737 and I was pro-actively credited 30,000pts to my velocity account. As it happens, the guy sitting next to me had had the same thing happen to him recently (poor chap - two flights in a row) and likewise, he had been credited 30K pts. So I was all set to lodge a complaint and request for recompense but the points hit my account before I got around to doing so.

Steve987

Member since 23 Feb 2015

Total posts 258

I feel for you and have had similar experiences, both positive (the exact opposite of your situation) and negative (Upcoming flight to HK being changed from A330 to 747).


While our resident mudslinger above could have put it more eloquently (and didn't need to make comment re your travel experience), it is just one of those things that happens. Hopefully karma means you have the opposite experience soon!!

Steve987

Member since 23 Feb 2015

Total posts 258

As with bl5965, I was on a flight last year which was swapped to the 737 and I was pro-actively credited 30,000pts to my velocity account. As it happens, the guy sitting next to me had had the same thing happen to him recently (poor chap - two flights in a row) and likewise, he had been credited 30K pts. So I was all set to lodge a complaint and request for recompense but the points hit my account before I got around to doing so.

Nice! QF certainly hasn't done that in my experience.

JJJJJJJ

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 18 Feb 2017

Total posts 60

Sorry about doublplatinum's rudeness (and sense of entitlement I suspect), it's a perfectly reasonable question.  We had the same experience and they moved our seats to row 1 - I don't actually like row 1 as it's noisy but at least they thought they were being nice.

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