Update 17 November: the e-mail in question was sent to one million members
Last Friday–13 November–Southwest Airlines cheekily wrote a blog post saying travel figures for the day had not dropped and thus passengers were not superstitious of the legendary “Friday the 13th”.
Virgin Blue, unfortunately, did not fare so well.
A processing error accidentally upgraded “many” (the airline won’t say how many) of its Velocity frequent flyers, including yours truly, to its top-tier gold elite status for one year. Normally gold status is obtained after accumulating 50,000 status credits. Gold has the perks of complimentary lounge access (which otherwise costs $369 a year), priority boarding and checking, and free checked luggage.
Two and a half hours later Virgin Blue sent a message saying “Friday the 13th strikes!” The carrier apologised and informed passengers that no, they were not elites.
While the carrier’s mistake is easily forgivable, there were naturally were some displeased passengers venting on Twitter. The ACCC, Australia’s consumer watchdog, said it would investigate any complaints but was unlikely to take action.