Virgin Downgraded To 3 Star

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  • Anonymous


    I don’t know when it happened, but I’ve just seen on Skytrax that VS are now only a 3 star airline. We know who Skytrax are and what they do, but it highlights the declining standards.

    I’ve not used them at all lately, but it is clear that things have slipped even further judging by the large number of terrible reviews posted. Their average score is now only 3.9 verses 6.4 for BA.

    Can anyone who has used them lately comment?


    Had quite a few flights on Virgin this year – all pretty bad to be honest. I think the worst of them was my trip to Las Vegas (flew back to london from JFK) and both flights were awful!

    On the Las Vegas leg we were in the seat behind the front row in the cabin. The people in the front row had paid the upgrade to sit there for the extra space (we know this as we could here them talking). There were quite a few stag parties on the plane who congregated at the front of the cabin right in front of us – just standing around and drinking. They were really loud and fell on top of the people in the front row more than once. The chap eventually complained and the hostesses did nothing – in fact they were flirting with the stag guys every time they went to the galley! They ran out of all drinks apart from water two hours into the flight, didn’t have my preferred dinner option, and the entertainment was the old style loop system.

    On the JFK return flight, the entire entertainment system broke in every cabin in the plane. When we checked in we were told there weren’t 3 seats together (and we were there 3hrs before the flight) and yet when we got on the plane there were loads of spare seats we could have taken. I was asked to move twice due to “logistical issues” and the seat I ended up in didn’t have a reading light – far from ideal when there’s no TV.

    I have flown so many times with virgin over the years, and I just feel they have lost their sparkle. My dad and his wife have over a million airmiles each and they said they now complain to virgin after nearly every flight for broken chairs, TVs not working etc etc. Might seem petty to some but when you’re paying 5k for a seat you expect a decent experience.

    Wont give up on them as I need to use some airmiles (also a drama as their website is pretty useless for this), but remain hopeful my next flight is a little better.


    I don’t know whether I’d put too much faith in Skytrax ratings, my experience is that they tend to be selective about which reviews they publish.

    They didn’t appreciate my submitting a number of (very positive) reviews of Aer Lingus which reflected my experience with the airline at that time. Surely the purpose of a review site is to do just that??



    I don’t place much faith in Skytrax, but I think the issue with Virgin is not just the product relative to competition, but the product relative to the expectations that Virgin itself sets.

    If you run slick glossy TV ad campaigns that glamourise your product and the reality is markedly different, then customers will be disappointed.


    We had the same experience as blondcat describes on our flight to Las Vegas on Virgin. We paid the extra for the front row seats in the economy cabin which we thought would offer extra legroom. However, that space seemed to become the ‘party’ space as soon as the seatbelt signs were turned off. A noisy group squeezed into this space to drink and chat and were right on top of us. The cabin crew did nothing about the situation. We have not flown with Virgin Atlantic since, but I do enjoy their TV ads!


    Virgin advertise rock star service, be trated liek a rock star…… perhaps they include the the vomit and drunks as standard.

    Not an airline I have much time for and reading this confirms my fears. Vote with your feet.

    Skytrax however means nothing.


    And to think my friend was berating me yesterday evening for lumping all my Biz travel arrangements for the rest of the year with BA CW instead of VA Upper Class…

    …looking at the details of the pro’s and cons on airlinequality, it looks like its Virgin’s economy food standards and inconsistent onboard standards (as bucksnet stated).


    I agree re Skytrax, with some other Airlines having a 5 Star and I found they did not match some 4* Airlines standards.

    I have flown UC with them 3 times this year to Cape Town, and they far outweigh SAA for eg,. Same type of aircraft, awful service, un-interested crew, plain food, and very pretentious for little atmosphere and a poor experience compared to VS.

    VS are ok in Upper Class, the ground services at LHR, (u can arrange yr own transport to the drive up check in now), lounge, security. I have a FC Gold card, so no matter which class these add benefits.
    Upper Class needs a re-vamp which is in the pipeline the crew Manager’s say. The bar remains a nice facility, otherwise only on other’s A380’s, somewhere to go to from your seat with some purpose.

    But many of VS routes tend to be more tourist driven, and the new A330’s do not have a business product. The cabins are in need of some updating work, but the lounges,LHR complex, cars provided, on board bar and privacy of the seat, i still value much, compared to other carriers.


    Ah good old Air Maplin – Gave up on them when they switched from 744’s on majority of routes as suites shrank by 2-3 inches. Upstairs on 744 was very good value with First Class length seat for Business money. Not any more. Also found the pruple lighting and the glitter ball a bit Essex. (Apologies for being parochial and Essexist but I think UK readers will follow).
    For once, I agree with Hippocampus. I think Skytrax ratings are for the birds but in this case the direction if not the degree make more sense than normal – Ready for my lobotomy now, doc…


    It’s probably worth mentioning that the star rating is derived from an in depth annual audit from skytrax. Passenger reviews and rating give no weight at all.


    rferguson: Interesting information.

    But if the passengers’ reviews carries no weight then it is more like the hotel star rating system in Europe whereby adding a uninviting bar, a tiny health club and a bad restaurant would give them extra stars.

    Surely the customers know best and go for the best service/value carriers.


    Skytrax has its flaws but it is the best currently available.

    It’s detractors should focus on addressing the message rather than shooting the messenger.

    No other survey comes close by a factor of 100 in terms of sample size, geographic spread and independence.

    Which survey/award body do others regard as a better benchmark?


    That’s the very point, CallMeIshmael; Skytrax passenger reviews are not taken into account in the ranking process, so the number of reviews is not the sample size employed.

    Since Skytrax do not publish their methodology in the public domain, it is impossible to draw more than broad conclusions from their subjective rankings.

    As long as they refrain from publishing their methodology, which they have every right to do, then they open themselves to questioning about how rigorous and objective it may be. Fuel is added to the fire when regular passengers question the relative rankings of certain carriers whose positions in the ranking seem to be at odds with the generally-expressed user consensus.

    JD Power would not, and could not, get away with such opacity.

    With reference to Bucksnet‘s concerns, and having read Virgin reviews for many years, I don’t see a sudden change in levels of reported satisfaction – the things people continue to praise and complain about are largely similar. Recent cancellations and irrops might be having an impact, but it’s too soon for that to have fed through into any third party measurement system.

    As cabins become older and more worn, there are more comments about poor cosmetic maintenance – but that’s the same for Singapore Airlines and they apparently retain a ‘5-Star’ rating.

    Perhaps, then, Virgin should never have been a ‘4-Star’ airline, but we’ll never know as long as the audit specification remains secret.

    I will declare a non-interest here; I am a Virgin Gold Flying Club Member and have been for a number of years, but I have never set foot on one of their aircraft. Which is probably as odd as Skytrax ratings.

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