Virgin investigates wet lady, wet luggage
THE START to a relaxing holiday went awry for a group of passengers who had a soggy Virgin Australia experience.
Wheelchair bound Bernadette Webster said she flew all the way from Ballina to Sydney completely drenched after being left in the rain without shelter as she waited to be transported by lift up to the aeroplane.
"Two of us asked for wheelchair assist because the other lady is elderly and I had pulled a leg ligament,” Ms Webster said.
"They wheeled us out to the plane without umbrellas. The other lady went up after another man ... and by the time it was my turn I was soaked.”
Ms Webster was part of a group of eight friends travelling from Ballina to Sydney on Virgin Australia flight number VA1142. Aside from Ms Webster's experience, group members said they were appalled to find their luggage was soaking wet upon arriving at their holiday destination in the Cook Islands.
Fellow passenger, Delma McDonald said it wasn't that they got a little wet from heavy rain while boarding their flight at Ballina Airport, it was seeing their luggage sitting in an open trolley beside the plane.
"Every one on that flight would have had wet suitcases,” Ms McDonald said.
"Surely in this day and age something as simple as throwing a piece of plastic or a tarpaulin over the luggage trolley would have saved all this trauma.
"One lady had a lovely pair of white slacks with a water stain that she could not remove. Bernadette's room looked like a Chinese laundry.”
"We had a lovely holiday after we got over that.”
Ms McDonald hoped future upgrades of Ballina airport would include covered walkways to the aeroplanes.
"Ballina is known for its wet weather, they should be more prepared,” she said.
After four phone calls Ms Webster finally got onto Ballina Airport to complain, she was directed to Virgin Air who advised them to lodge a formal complaint online. Ms McDonald went to complain, but she was unable to enter her flight number.
"When we came back from the Cook Islands it was raining there too, yet they had our luggage covered, everybody got umbrellas and there was a plastic dome cover over the stairs so you stayed dry,” she said.
"If they can do it, why not Ballina?”.
A Virgin Australia Spokesperson said "Virgin Australia takes great pride in looking after all of our guests and their baggage so we were very disappointed to hear about this guest's recent experience. We're sorry for any damage caused and we will review this incident.”