Forgetting about some minor UI bugs and issues of that sort, here are the grabbing and throwing annoyances I experienced:
- Grabbing: I chose "cheapest flights", yet the site directed me through pages focused on dates rather than prices, and then still offered me seat upsells that could turn a $200 flight into a $700 flight.
- Throwing: I tried to choose the carbon offset, but that was incompatible with my payment type, about which I was only informed later.
- Grabbing: Virgin used the dark pattern of opting me into travel insurance... Well, it looked like travel insurance, but after I read through the PDS, it felt far more like "suck it up" insurance.
- Throwing: My session timed out while taking about 10 minutes to read the insurance PDS, so I had to re-enter all the information, rather than the site re-entering it for me. If they were worried about the flight not being available, they still could have attempted to re-process the entered data.
- Grabbing: The luggage is $12 per person per flight. I know this is pretty standard nowadays, but the honest way to phrase these sales would be inclusive of luggage, with a discount for removing it.
- Grabbing: There is a credit card "surcharge" i.e. separate from the "included taxes and fees" that is calculated not on the size of the credit card payment, but on the number of segments, so: 3 people (one an infant travelling for free) x 2 directions x 2 segments per direction x $4.5 unit = get stuffed
- Throwing: Trying the non-credit-card option, called POLi, was rejected because I was using a Mac, so I had to go and do it all again from a PC to avoid the ridiculous credit card rort. This system is an plugin that navigates to your bank, getting you to fill in a few details, and then it basically just BPays Virgin. Why I couldn't just BPay them, I don't know. I guess it's so they know the payment has been made before they conclude the transaction, rather than trusting the customers to pay later. Meanwhile, I now have some rogue bit of software on my computer that has the capability of stealing my money... Awesome.
So, I hope someone from Virgin Australia reads this and makes some improvements:
- If someone says they want the cheapest flights, don't upsell them on flights. Or don't give the cheapest flights option in the first place.
- Make the carbon offset compatible with POLi, otherwise, to pay $9 in carbon offset, I'd have to pay you $50 and that's not going to happen.
- Either offer real travel insurance, remove it, or at the bare minimum, make it opt in, instead of opt out.
- Increase the session timeout to a minimum of 1 hour, or at least implement a way for the already-entered data to be reprocessed at the click of a button
- I know you'll never clear up the luggage thing, but you should really consider it anyway.
- Make the credit card "surcharge" a fixed percentage. There is nothing about the payment method that differs when one trip requires 1, 2, 4 or any other number of individual flights. It's really scammy to surcharge like that.
- Implement a solution for OS X and Linux, or just allow people to BPay themselves, letting them know that the flights will only be held for a set amount of time until they do. I know this problem could be difficult, technically, but there has to be something that can be developed other than taking over one OS. As a bare minimum, warn users at the outset that they won't be able to pay via POLi when they're on an unsupported system, so they don't waste their time.