Reader Thinks Her iPod Is Lost Forever, But Virgin America Has A Surprise

There are many things I’ve learned in three years of reading the Consumerist tipline, and this is one of the most important. Never put any of your electronic devices in the seat-back pouch on an airplane, because you’ll most likely never see it again. iPads are especially vulnerable to this problem. But reader Gladys had the opposite experience from most people who write in. She never expected to see her iPod again, so she was delighted when someone at Virgin America did some detective work to find the device’s owner, and called her up.

On April 3, I left my IPod Touch aboard my Virgin America flight from Los Angeles to Seattle. Its only ID was my partially-mutilated address label on the back. I gave it up as lost, but on April 15, I received a phone call from a Virgin America customer care agent, telling me that she had it and by matching my name to family accounts, she was reuniting my IPod with me. She needed only to confirm my identity and that the IPod was indeed mine. I was happy to pay the Fedex shipping cost, and it was back in my possession the next day.

This is typical of the personal attention I get each time I fly Virgin America. Needing a wheelchair at age 78, I am made to feel that I am a special guest each time I fly Virgin America to visit my daughters and granddaughter in Washington state.

Nicely done, Virgin America! And safe travels to Gladys and her iPod.


Edit Your Comment

  1. MathMan aka Random Talker says:

    How sad is it that I think “hmmmm sounds too good to be true. Virgin America’s marketing team must have had someone make up a story and submit it to the Consumerist as part of viral marketing”?

    I think this says more about my pessimism than Virgin America though….

    • Coffee says:

      It’s okay…I was waiting for the OP to file a lawsuit against Virgin for using name-matching on family accounts in order to contact them. Or something.

  2. deathbecomesme says:

    Bravo! Setting the bar pretty high

  3. clippy2.0 says:

    Virgin airlines are amazing, and personally I feel are well worth the premium. I know folks say Americans are cheap and will never pay the extra for creature comforts, but I’ll be damned if I don’t try to fly them every time I can!

    I just wish I could afford their first class. Drool

    • TBGBoodler says:

      I’ll always check Virgin America first before I fly. Great experience every time.

    • mistersmith says:

      What premium? I don’t find them to be any more expensive than any other carrier — often, they’re much cheaper (ever price out cross-country on Virgin vs. United?).

      Plus, their frequent flyer program is pretty generous. I get a half-dozen SF-LA trips a year out of the miles I rack up using their rewards Visa.

      I love that airline. It almost makes it worth flying into Dulles instead of BWI when I get home. Almost.

      • clippy2.0 says:

        when i fly seattle to boston, its either looking at virgin, jet blue, or air alaska (mostly because air alaska makes me laugh for no good reason). virgin is generally in line with delta or united, but more than AA or JB

  4. SecretShopper: pours out a lil' liquor for the homies Wasp & Otter says:

    awesome story, glad to see that Gladys was the recipient of a good deed.

  5. brr says:

    This letter is from my Mom and I can tell you that it is no gimmick on the part of Virgin America. They called me as the contact listed in my mother’s ICE information and I was able to confirm that it was her device. They then called her and confirmed that delivery would be made. She was reunited with her device within two days of that call. I was very impressed as I’d told my parents to give the device up for lost when I heard it had been left on the plane. Bravo Virgin!

  6. Lucky225 says:

    I think the bigger story here is that a 78 year old is rocking n iPod

    • MikeF74 says:

      And sending tips to blogs

      • MathMan aka Random Talker says:

        Hence why my “too good to be true” radar went off even more.

        • iesika says:

          My 75 year old aunt does her blogging from an ipad, so it’s not outside the realm of possibility…

        • MMD says:

          My 62-year-old mother works online from home. Not one of those scammy “earn thousands at home” schemes, either. A real job for a real company that didn’t want to lose her when my father retired and they moved out of state.

  7. 2 Replies says:

    I’d like to hope that press like this would encourage airlines to do similar…
    … yeah, “like to hope”.

    It’s sad when a company is so bad you find yourself cynical about your HOPE for a company. -_-‘

  8. daemonaquila says:

    Good for them. However, let’s not go overboard and create a “problem” of people putting things in seat back pockets. For the record, I fly extensively, put my iThings in the seat back pocket all the time, and have never been at any risk of forgetting them. People lose stuff all the time, and it doesn’t take an airplane seat back pocket to create a risk. They leave stuff in the bathroom, let it fall out of pockets and bags, forget it on tables or at TSA checkpoints, put it under the bed, and so on. People just have an unreasonable expectation that if you happen to lose something on a plane – an incredibly public space – it’s somehow different than losing it in a theater or classroom or restaurant. It really isn’t. Granted, there are fewer people on a plane than in some places, and they have a record of who sat (theoretically) in an assigned seat, but that’s about it. I doubt anyone has statistics about how many things are lost per capita on a plane versus in other public venues, but I’d guess that it’s much less of a problem than anyone imagines, especially the sensation-hungry media.

  9. iesika says:

    Electronic gadgets are a lot easier to return than most lost items. Any company that doesn’t return phones, wallets, etc, to their owners makes me very sad.

  10. TinaBringMeTheAx says:

    Twenty years ago I left a book (a book!) in the seat pocket of a United plane and they overnighted it to me that very day, at no charge. And I think it was a $199 JFK>LAX round trip ticket.

  11. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I’d love to try and fly this airline. But they don’t come anywhere near where I live, as far as I know. :(

    Nice that someone turned it in instead of just pocketing it. Getting something back that you lost starts with the person who finds it, not the company.

  12. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDave‚Ñ¢ says:

    I have a lock screen on my iPod Touch that has a link to my webpage, which has tons of ways to contact me, just in case. I also have it set up to wipe after ten tries and I’m also registered with Apple.

  13. TheyCallMeMcGyver says:

    Last year Alaska Airlines had me overhead paged as I was heading to the 2nd leg of my flight home. Evidently I had left my iDevice on their plane. The returned it to me before I even knew I left it behind. Wrote them a nice letter, thanking them.