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Virgin Balloon flights - help please!

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Can anyone help me with a problem I'm having with Virgin and the poor service I've received from them?


I read lillboy's previous thread about them in the hunt for information and my situation is similar but there's a difference which I think may be important.


I did not purchase the vouchers from Virgin, I bought them in CostCo in September 2009 (just under 18 months ago). I think this is important as I did not agree to any terms and conditions as you would be subjected to if you bought them from their site?


As I have come to find out by myself and other upset customers, booking a flight is difficult at best, and is troublesome for us as we also have to arrange childcare for our son and arrange time off work, etc. Every time I tried to book a flight there were no slots available or available slots were at inconvenient times for us.


Since I bought the tickets we have got engaged and will be married in May this year. I thought it would be a great idea to try to use the vouchers while we are on our honeymoon which we are taking in the UK. This is where my troubles begin...


As I understood it when I bought the tickets they were valid for 18 months from the date of purchase (as opposed to 12 months for the vouchers purchased on the site) and this was confirmed to me by a guy I spoke to at their call centre. However there is an expiry date printed on the ticket which I did not notice which says the 1st of February 2011.


I questioned how they could justify an expiry date on a service which is still running and he told me it was so they could keep track of how busy they are likely to be. I asked him about the 18 month validity period further and he advised me to write to the customer services manager, which I did by email.


I received a reply stating there was nothing she could do and if I wanted to I could take them up on their 'generous offer' of buying two more tickets at a fantastic discounted rate of £80 each.


Given that I didn't specifically accept their terms and conditions and I am still within 18 months of purchase, do I have a leg to stand on, or have I wasted the best part of £250?


Thanks in advance for any advice!

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I have an update for anyone who's interested (and given the massive response to this thread it's probably no-one!)


I emailed the head of customer services directly and she has extended my ticket for another month, I wasn't hopeful after I read on a lot of sites how rigidly Virgin stuck to their T's and C's however it seems they are willing to be a bit more flexible nowadays.


So credit where credit is due - they were very helpful and all going well we'll be on our balloon flight soon!

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