I want my money back, Virgin Atlantic!

As those of you that follow me on Twitter may recall, I had a bit of an international adapter crisis before going on this trip. I had loaned my mom my international adapter kit when she last went to Germany, and she decided to loan it to someone else (permanently, it seems). Gee, thanks mom, because you know I never travel internationally or anything. 😉

So as I was ready to leave for the airport I realized I needed an adapter. Fortunately some of you reminded me that duty free aboard flights often sells adapters, and I was happy to see it in the duty free  on Virgin. As the flight attendant took my dinner order she asked if I wanted anything from duty free, and I mentioned I would like to buy a power adapter. She said she would take care of it after dinner.

Sure enough, after dinner when the cabin was dark she came by to get my credit card (I used a British Airways Visa, I might add, though I inquired whether that was even allowed on Virgin) and passport to process the payment, saying that the power adapter would cost £10. Great!

About 20 minutes later she returned with my credit card, passport, and a bag containing my adapter and receipt… or so I thought. The cabin was dark, though I did take a quick look at the receipt to make sure I was charged the correct amount, which indeed I was, and the correct item was listed on the receipt.

Now that I got to the hotel I opened the box she gave me, only to realize it’s actually an extendable speaker (whatever that is):

Now, some might say I should have looked at the box more carefully. Well, when the cabin is dark, the receipt lists the correct amount and product, and the box looks just like an adapter, I figured I was safe. Obviously it was an honest mistake by the flight attendant, though it’s still a bit frustrating.

It’s not a huge deal, though now I get to spend the afternoon in search of an adapter… and bitching on the blog. 😉

Out of curiosity, does anyone have experience with trying to get a refund and/or returning an item bought duty free? That seems like quite a downside to buying stuff aboard planes.

Hopefully there’s a lesson in this — when you buy a duty free item, look at the box very carefully.


  1. Ben, sell it on eBay and consider yourself lucky. I hope you enjoy London–one of the world’s great cities. Whilst off the beaten bath, the Imperial War Museum is a must-see.

  2. Tweet this blog to Virgin I am sure they will take care of you.

    It is not much money, but I love to see you get the right transaction.

  3. OMG, can’t believe it’s that expensive! What is it, even?

    Just bought an adapter for £5… guess I got a good deal. 😉

  4. @ Andrew — Except for the hotel I’m staying at, which, conveniently, doesn’t have a working elevator either.

  5. Also, bathrooms usually have power sockets (meant to be used for shavers) that will take US plugs.

    Good enough for charging your phone, for example.

  6. What a score! That works great with an iPhone to give you a very cool ambient sound for listening to music

  7. Not that it solves your immediate problem, but don’t you think they’d swap it out for you on your next flight? (assuming packaging intact)

  8. i have never read someone’s posts that had so many problems/issues. i hope they had lime/lemon for your drinks.

  9. I will buy it off you Ben – I need one of these. You did get a GREAT deal on the item BTW – and yes you can always buy another power adapter or 3 from the sale of the item!

  10. For what it’s worth, I agree with the other posters that you got a great deal! I have one of those speakers and they’re pretty amazing. Mine is the “mini” version, so it looks smaller than the one you got, but I imagine they sound the same. Of course it’s still frustrating to not get what you actually wanted…

  11. Its a portable speaker for you iPhone to listen to your iPod/Pandora/etc. As others have said, it looks like you got “Lucky” even though you didn’t want it. The speakers run $80 or so on Amazon and eBay…and you only paid £10.

    Maybe the FA thought it was funny that you used a BA card on your Virgin Atlantic flight and figured a guy like yourself needed portable speakers instead of an adapter.

    I would just keep it…would be useful for hotel stays without iHomes.

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