I love it when an empty threat actually works.


I am leaving the country on a longish trip starting in late August, and so I was hoping to get my phone unlocked so that I could use the local SIMs and service in the countries I will be visiting. I had recently heard that ATT (my provider) was finally officially unlocking phones at the end of their subscriber contracts, and I knew that I was very close to being at the end of mine. So I called them and asked them to unlock my phone before I leave for my trip. The woman on the other end did a lookup and told me my contract would not be over until the end of September, so there was no way they could unlock it before then. In a calm and sweet voice, I explained to her that while I would still be paying on my contract of course, it was insane to expect me to pay ATTs exorbitant rates in Europe while travelling, and that I preferred to use a local SIM. She said she understood, but this was the policy and they would not change it for anyone. I asked to speak to a manager, and got exactly the same story. I told them at the end of the call that because of this I would probably switch carriers when my contract expired, and that I felt it was ridiculous that they would not unlock my phone one measly, single month earlier, especially since I had been a customer in good standing for so long. They said they understood my frustration, but there was really nothing they could do.

After hanging up, still full of discontent and bile, I dashed off the following email note to their support:

I am going out of the country on Aug 24, and need my phone unlocked  before then. Your reps on the support line said you wont do this, even though I am a great customer and have only a month left on my contract.  If you refuse to unlock my phone, I WILL move to another carrier as soon as my contract is up. Do you really want to lose a customer over this?  You will.

Not ten minutes later I received an email from ATT informing me that they had unlocked my phone, and that I should do a restore in iTunes to activate the unlock. Sure enough, after doing the restore I was greeted with this glorious message:


Dear Virgin America, so far you are crap


I am a technology professional who has never flown with Virgin America before, but my brand associations (due to your marketing) were of a hip, modern airline with up to date conveniences. And so when I was planning on booking my current travel to LA, SF, and back to New York, I decided to try out Virgin America. Your website and system have made me never want to fly with you again, and I haven’t even boarded the first plane. Here is a brief list of the problems I have encountered:

1. Unable to book multi part itinerary on your site and had to call in to book travel

2. When logging into my account (anytime over the past several days), site is slow and unresponsive

3. After logging in, I am often logged out mysteriously while trying to make changes

4. Unable to make changes to itinerary using your site

5. Trying to get to seat mapping/changes results in wrong or no information showing, or a wiped out seat selection

6. Once checked in, no option for paperless boarding pass

7. On my iPhone, no app available for Virgin America (for check in, travel alerts, boarding pass, info)

In short, using your company has been a royal pain before even boarding my first flight with you. Congrats to your marketing guys anyway for duping me into believing you had a handle on the modern, internet-connected world when clearly you do not.

Most sincerely,