Why won’t Virgin America’s website allow me to make a payment or add a credit card?

August 26, 2017 - Tech / Travel

I’ve run into a consistent problem not being able to pay for my ticket on Virgin America’s website. Have you gotten to the payment screen and wasn’t able to move on? If so, we think we know what’s happening.

After a few times of not being able to pay for my airline ticket, buying it on a third party site, I decided to finally look deeper into why. Prior to figuring out what was causing the issue, the problem had sprung up no fewer than three times on me. And each time, I decided to just purchase my tickets through Google Flights. And that’s not always ideal — Google Flights doesn’t allow you to select seats for one.

Why Won’t Virgin America’s Website Allow Me to Pay?

After going through several initial steps of selecting my cities, the date, my flight, extra options, I run into the problem on the payment screen of Virgin’s site (https://www.virginamerica.com/payment). Essentially I am one or two steps away from purchasing and confirming the ticket but for some reason, the site doesn’t give me an option to pay via credit card.

The part of the site where I should be able to choose a credit card says “ADD NEW CARD” but when I hover over it, there’s no way to click on it. The only option is to choose “TRAVEL BANK” which is useless unless you have enough Virgin credit or Gift Certificates to pay for your flight. Take a look below at a screenshot I took:

As I mentioned above — I gave up on trying to solving the problem and just went to Google Flights, which luckily provided an option to buy Virgin flights via their site. Then yesterday, I was determined to try and figure out what I was doing wrong. I figured it was my error because I imagine if this was a website bug, they would have had fixed it by now.

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The Simple Solution (but Virgin Should Know Better)

To get straight to it, the issue arises when one is logged into Virgin’s site but has a stored credit card that is expired (or not working for some reason). If you’re both logged into Virgin’s site and have previously stored a credit card in your account, it’s probably because that card has expired. And clearly, expired credit cards don’t appear when you try to pay for your flight.

To get the site to give you a working payment option and allow one to pay with a credit card, what you have to do is delete those expired cards and/or update it with a card that wasn’t expired. Once I did that — the new, working card showed up on the payment screen and I was able to make the purchase with no problem. Ahh the beautiful and satisfying confirmation screen!

Man did I feel stupid. Yes, that’s a silly mistake on my part, but I wrongly assumed that a large company like Virgin would have tested for this.

When this occurs one would think that since you’re logged in, the payment screen would give you an error or message that alerted the user that their payment information is expired and would have to be updated in order to move forward. What would be extra convenient and nice would be providing a link to where the user could make those changes to their account.

Instead, the payment screen just teases you with all the information of the flight you so desperately want to buy without giving you any option but to sit there idle and frustrated. No message or alert to the user of why you can’t “ADD CREDIT CARD” or move forward. I hope that this post helps others because that means I wasn’t the only one not able to figure this out.

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› tags: ADD CREDIT CARD / airlines / credit card / expired credit cards / payment / payment screen / travel / virgin america / website / website bug /

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