Friday, September 16, 2011

Rules made for stupid people to help avoid thinking

The second in a series of why Virgin Atlantic suck are the biggest let-down airline ever. Read the first one on Carbon Offsetting HERE.

I packed a small suitcase which I often take in the cabin with me on flights. It weighed 9kg. Virgin Atlantic told me that 6kg was their cabin weight limit. The reason was so that I can manage it safely and so that the overhead luggage storage can hold it safely. Stupidly, I didn't check the cabin baggage weight, but you can't verify everything in life and rule-of-thumb behaviour based on past experience is necessary in order not to become crazy. Imagine a world where you had to verify literally everything.

Anyway, Virgin have different rules to other airlines I am used to. Fair enough. But why on earth I should suddenly become weaker when I enter a plane owned by Virgin, I cannot fathom, and why Virgin overhead luggage racks should be less strong than their competitors is equally a mystery to me. Still, I check in my bag which includes clothes for a few days and a new large kindle for my grandmother's 90th birthday. (Kindle=genius for people who need to read big-print but have read every large-print book already multiple times. I recommend.)

I get on the plane to find it is less than half full. The flight takes off with the luggage racks full only of the unnecessary cushions and blankets previously placed on empty seats. 

So apparently, Virgin staff have to follow rules but ignore the reason behind the rules. It is 6kg because I might not be able to carry any more safely. The fact that I am not a 2 years old child who can actually manage safely a full 9kg (call me Mr. Muscle) didn't seem to matter. And the fact that the flight was empty resulting in very little in the overhead racks also did not seem to matter.

That Virgin makes rules which have to be religiously followed, I can only assume to be a result of the fact that their staff are incapable of thought or are not to be trusted.

It reminds me of a story a friend told me in Lesotho. A friend of hers collapsed at work and needed rushing to hospital. Of course, you don't call the ambulance in Lesotho - far better to put her in a work vehicle and rush her there. Unfortunately, it was 5pm and for the transport coordinator, 'that's knock-off time' and he refused to organise a car. The girl got to hospital too late and died. The doctor may have been able to save her if he'd had her sooner. Happily though, Mr. Thick-as-two-short-planks had obeyed the rules put in place for people of his kind to follow religiously without having to go to the trouble of thinking about the reasons behind the rules. I am sure he is to be commended.

Back to my lesser Virgin travails. When I got off the flight and went through security - which took about an hour! - the bags had yet to arrive. Everyone was waiting around the belt. They started to arrive maybe half an hour later. Bags from other airlines were arriving with no problem, and Virgin staff were rather rude when people inquired whether there was a problem. I offered to go and get the bags myself - after all, I can carry at least 9kg.

Finally they came. Well, some came. Mine did not. And nor did other ones. Cue: form filling, being dealt with rather curtly. To be fair, there were only two people during a busy period so it is not surprising these poor staff were a little rude. Virgin clearly can't care enough about its staff or customers to ensure sufficient numbers working during busy periods. Pity. Anyway, I leave the airport sans clothes and sans my grandmother's 90th birthday present. Not that any Virgin staff seemed to give a shit when I mentioned this to them. It must be the quality customer service training.

More on the incompetence and lack of giving a shit of Virgin travels of my bag and the Virgin Atlantic policy of allowing staff to steal electronic items from you not having liability for electronic items to come.

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