Virgin Blue’s Email #Fail – GOLD Frequent Flyer Upgrades revoked

Expect a storm around Virgin Blue over the next day or so, with what appears to be a monumental stuff up with their email database. Late this afternoon, an...

Expect a storm around Virgin Blue over the next day or so, with what appears to be a monumental stuff up with their email database.

Late this afternoon, an email went out to what appears to be a huge number, if not the entire VELOCITY REWARDS email database – that is, everyone who is a Velocity Rewards Member (Virgin Blue Frequent Flyer).

Thanks to one Twitter user Michael below is the email:

Virgin Blue's Velocity Reward GOLD UPGRADE EMAIL

Virgin Blue's Velocity Reward GOLD UPGRADE EMAIL

And this was much to the surprise of many recipients, some who had never travelled Virgin Blue using their rewards account, and thus were barely eligible for ‘SILVER’ membership let alone ‘GOLD’.

To make matters worse, existing ‘GOLD’ members also received the email.. One complaining in an Online Forum:

I just got the email too — except that i was ALREADY gold til dec 2010.

I had 92,000 status credits with DJ (nearly DOUBLE gold) when they rolled over a week or two again. If you’ve all been upgraded to gold, i’m seriously going to never fly DJ again as a matter of principle.

It seems Virgin Blue has a lot of work to do to recover from this.

A retraction was sent out soon after, but not soon enough for the many disgruntled people who had themselves a boost for Friday afternoon thinking their travels would be ever more relaxing with access to the Gold members lounge.

The retraction was as follows:

Virgin Blue's Velocity Reward RETRACTION

Virgin Blue's Velocity Reward RETRACTION

The retraction is one, thing, add to that the VirginBlue’s Twitter status message apologising and a note on the Velocity Rewards website, and you’re starting the slow crawl back to the hearts of your members.

Virgin Blue's Twitter Apology

Virgin Blue's Twitter ApologyVirgin Blue's Velocity Reward Program Website Notice

Virgin Blue's Velocity Reward Program Website Notice

Virgin Blue's Velocity Reward Program Website Notice

However, judging by the number of Virgin #Fail messages on twitter, this won’t be over in a hurry for Virgin Blue.

What can they do?  This is possibly as simple as Human Error – Is the prompt retraction enough to avoid them having to actually upgrade everyone who received the email?

How does a database so big so easily get accidentally sent the wrong message?

Again, I am tipping this is human error.  Question really isn’t how did it happen – no doubt three new hoops will be put in place before another email is ever sent – but how do you make up for the utter disappointment suffered by the people who received it, were quite chuffed, but then were literally rejected.

A free single pass to the Gold Lounge? Even that would be difficult to sustain.

This will be very interesting to follow. 

 

 

Thanks to Scott Korman for the tip off to this story!

Categories
Opinion

Trev produces two of the most popular technology podcasts in Australia, Your Tech Life and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He hosts a nightly radio show on Talking Lifestyle, 8pm Monday to Friday in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show and A Current Affair. Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave. Like this post? Buy Trev a drink!
12 Comments on this post.
  • uberVU – social comments
    13 November 2009 at 10:21 pm
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    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by trevorlong: Virgin Blue’s GOLD upgrade goes wrong – http://bit.ly/ZIgXU – Full story with copies of the emails. #VirginBlue #Fail…

  • Dejan
    13 November 2009 at 11:25 pm
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  • nathan
    14 November 2009 at 12:11 am
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    My problem isn’t so much with the email being sent by mistake, but the arrogant and flippant email that followed. It has destroyed my trust in Virgin Blue because now if they made a mistake when I was travelling I fear I’d get a “so sorry … get over it” response from the bubbly (but probably self absorbed) staff member.

  • Craig Welch
    14 November 2009 at 3:38 am
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    Just like to point out that there’s no ‘gold lounge’. There’s one lounge, and you can either pay to join it or get membership free with gold status.

  • Bastard Sheep
    14 November 2009 at 10:27 am
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    When I received it I was under the impression it was probably a marketing ploy to encourage people to fly more. The “oops” email certainly made me laugh, though.

    I am surprised by the anger this gathered on twitter. It is not as though the people were owed anything or were short changed in any way shape or form. It is only those who may have booked flights based on it that deserve any compensation and have any excuse to be annoyed.

    People really do need to learn how to relax and get over themselves.

  • Keegan Sard
    14 November 2009 at 10:39 am
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    Just when i thought Virgin couldn’t get go any lower, they sent already disgruntled members this email, including myself.

    I wont be flying Virgin Blue anytime soon, unless they actually give all email recipients Gold Status.

    This wouldn’t be tolerated at Qantas!

  • Brett Debritz
    14 November 2009 at 5:06 pm
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    I received the offer late yesterday, and the “oops” email about three hours later. I am planning a big trip later this month with one of Virgin’s partners, and I had a few blissful hours dreaming of the comforts of the lounge. How it happened doesn’t really matter to me, I just want to know what Virgin is going to do about it. I also suggested the idea of a once-only lounge pass, but perhaps it should be more substantial than that. On another forum, one commenter noted that if it had been a contest, Virgin would have been legally obliged to make good. That’s probably not realistic, but they’d better come up with some sort of compensation or I’ll be flying Qantas only for the forseeable future.

  • Matt
    14 November 2009 at 5:12 pm
    Leave a Reply

    I stopped flying with Virgin Blue simply because the service at QANTAS was far superior for almost the same price, in saying that though, I received the Velocity Gold status upgrade email at the same time as everyone else, yet I have not received an email saying it was a mistake etc that so many other people seem to have received. Does that mean I actually get the Gold upgrade? Not that it matters since I don’t fly with Virgin Blue anyway, but I am curious. I suppose I’ll find out if I get a Gold card in the mail.

  • Priya
    15 November 2009 at 10:10 am
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    It certainly looks like the entire database got ‘hit’. I agree with @nathan about the tone of the second email – it was far too glib in tone to make up for the error. I know they pride themselves on their ‘down to earth’ attitude but when I make a mistake booking a flight I certainly can’t get away with the equivalent of “oops Friday the 13th strikes again”.

    I agree that a free pass to the Lounge, valid for 6 months, would have gone a long way to making it up to people.

  • Brendon
    16 November 2009 at 1:33 pm
    Leave a Reply

    I simply cannot believe the righteous indignation of people in regards to this.
    Who cares?? They made a mistake, big deal.

    You have more important things in life than this. And if you don’t, then you, sir, are the most boring person on the planet.

  • nathan
    4 January 2010 at 7:27 am
    Leave a Reply

    My problem isn't so much with the email being sent by mistake, but the arrogant and flippant email that followed. It has destroyed my trust in Virgin Blue because now if they made a mistake when I was travelling I fear I'd get a “so sorry … get over it” response from the bubbly (but probably self absorbed) staff member.

  • Kit Churchill
    6 April 2010 at 1:59 am
    Leave a Reply

    If anyone would like to join me on my fight against Virgin Blue customer service in general, please follow me here:
    http://oneangrycookie.wordpress.com/
    Insider tips, horror stories and rants all welcome!

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