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« The Washington Times | Main | Virgin Atlantic Lounge Denies Us Entry »
Friday
May122017

Virgin Called

Video of Incident: https://www.facebook.com/bensko/videos/10155175306050256/

The Executive VP of Virgin Customer Relations from London has called. We had a rather lengthy conversation. I do believe he is genuinely remorseful, and his apology well meant however I'm afraid I'm still too raw, physically exhausted and emotionally drained to engage in what they 'can do to for me to make this right'. My emphasis remains upon the fact that this lack of proper training goes well beyond Virgin and spills throughout our entire US fleet of domestic airline companies. He explained their employee as having an impeccable reputation, I countered that this goes beyond how well someone follows policy and well into the fact that the humanity is no longer allowed a seat at the service table. Virgin has always placed its emphasis on creating a new and improved culture, which is what makes this event even more exasperating knowing it can even happen with them. Employees are trained to stay cool and hold their ground without any leeway for empathy or sensitivity to the human condition. One explanation this most likely occurred was that the employee probably assumed that the international flight rules applied to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse in that all service animals require documentation, and it was the Virgin Atlantic lounge in which this occurred. However, once again, here's our plight as to our ADA rules and regulations not being implemented properly. Their lounge is in the general population area, not in an international terminal. To board an international flight of course there is a litany of steps in the proper protocol such as vaccinations, a letter confirming it's a service animal more so to prevent any issues along the way and one should have it translated into the language of the country you're visiting, etc but this Lounge is used by anyone eligible for entry flying on Virgin Airlines and clearly on US soil. This is the exact type of oversight occurring in today's training. Virgin truly wants to "make it right" with us. I'm talking it over with Blue but she seems as exhausted as I am. Virgin wants to show and express to us how very much Virgin does care for its passengers and asked me what I would need to make it right. I said what I need is for you to please join me in taking a stand in making a statement that this type of treatment and corporate culture is not okay and it needs to change. The conversation, though well meaning, reverted to what Virgin itself could do to prove to me they truly do care for their passengers. I sensed a resistance of willingness to join me for this swim in our toxic environment of airline swamp water. They are a London based company with other concerns I am sure. I gave him my answer as to how to make it better in requesting Virgin take this moment to take this moment with me to be an example of a corporation self-correcting. He assured me he sent out a notification ensuring this will never happen again on Virgin and I do believe his personal intentions are true. This company was founded by Richard Branson, one of the greatest humanitarians of all time. My dialogue with Virgin is not closed, this is all about opening the conversation. But making it better for me is far from why I took this stand from my chair. He stated that in the eleven years he has worked there he has never witnessed any so atrocious. I voiced that the reason you don't see it, or hear about it is there are millions of people every single day who experience such humility at the hands of someone's nephew in a hat and a badge who feels empowered by their status in the rankings of customer domination. The disabled community is too tired from simply trying to exist on this planet to be writing letters and complaining to a ceiling made of titanium. This call was from a human being, I can sense this and appreciate the fact he reached out to me personally. It's just that this is going to take much more time and healing both physically and emotionally for me to utilize my energies in any other manner than to try so very hard to promote change for the population of disabled individuals of which I'm so very proud to belong. 

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