A few months back, a flight I was on from Melbourne to Sydney got cancelled and I ended up having to chase Virgin through numerous phone calls to get a refund processed. Being the large annoying company that they are, instead of just refunding to my credit card, they credited the flight costs to their Travel Bank credit/refund account service which is supposed to be a unified way for handling all nature of refunds and credits.
Needing to book some domestic flights, I wanted to use this credit up, so attempted to make use of this Travel Bank refund. However seems there’s a bug with the Virgin booking system, where it considers my password “too long”:
After cursing this booking system for some time, I figured that I could just go and change my password to something less secure via the separate Travel Bank interface in order to work around this bug in their system.
Except that there’s no option to change a Travel Bank password, infact, there’s almost no options within Travel Bank itself.
Failing that, I figured maybe the Password Reminder/Forgot Login Details feature could work. Generally forgotten password reminder systems will generate a new password and email it out, which would solve my issue.
Except that Virgin emails out the password you have set, in plain text… a text book example of poor computer security. because it means any Virgin staff member with access to that system can read customers passwords and in event of a security exploit, an attacker could potentially harvest thousands, if not millions of plain text passwords that might have been re-used with member’s other sites, such as their email, banking or social media sites.
This is why it’s good practice to always use a unique password for every website and use a password manager of some nature to handle all your password storage and retrieval.
Finally I resorted to trawling through their FAQ to find any other way to reset, but sadly had no luck in doing so. I did find this amusing Q/A however:
In the end, it took me 30mins on the phone to get the agent to determine that there is infact, no way to reset a Travel Bank password (even from their end), and to do a manual phone booking for my trip in order to allow me to use up the credit.
All this pain to get and use my refund for a cancelled flight has made me really keen to avoid using Virgin again in future…. if they had just refunded to my credit card, I’d probably be in a much better mood today and more willing to still fly them