Seriously, Virgin Australia, we love you guys and all you’ve done for the Australian music community, but you’ve been making it really hard to like you lately. We don’t know if you’ve noticed, but your baggage handlers suck at ‘handling’ musical instruments.

We’ve previously documented cases of Virgin baggage handlers ignoring the ‘Handle With Care’ stickers on instrument cases and the subsequent social media fallout from the artists once they open up said cases to reveal damaged and scuffed instruments.

However, the message still hasn’t gotten through. Most recently, local trio Woodlock took to their official Facebook page to bemoan the state of their equipment, including a kick drum and guitar case, after a flight from Perth to Brisbane via Sydney.

“We were shocked when we arrived at the Optus Yestival site on Sunday morning and took our kick drum out of it’s case to discover it had been severely damaged on our flight from Perth — Sydney — Brisbane,” the band wrote on Facebook.

“Not only that, when we left Brisbane and arrived home in Melbourne we discovered that MORE damage had been done, this time to our guitar case. We haven’t been able to get a straight answer from anyone and kept being told to talk to different airports, and it’s rare that anyone even answers the phone.”

“Being full time musicians, we don’t have the disposable income to be able to afford to buy brand new equipment to replace what has been damaged. We would really love someone to communicate to us over the phone regarding this matter ASAP rather than a computer or an answering machine.”

Speaking to Tone Deaf, Woodlock manager Ash Hills revealed it wasn’t until Woodlock took their complaints to social media that they actually heard back from Virgin Australia, describing the situation as “extremely disappointing”.

Please share:Dear Virgin AustraliaWe were shocked when we arrived at the Optus Yestival site on Sunday morning and…

Posted by Woodlock on Monday, March 7, 2016

“After realising the first lot of damage on Sunday morning I was on the phone to Virgin straight away and directed to the Brisbane Baggage Department who I only managed to get through to on my 10th-ish time calling, I had also sent numerous emails and filled out complaint forms,” she said.

“I was directed to numerous people, from Brisbane to Melbourne and back and forth. The boys were also offered no help at either airport except for a business card with a PO Box address on it, this is when we decided to go public on social media.”

“Within 20 minutes of the post going live I had received a comment from Virgin asking us to private message them as well as an email from someone in the CEO’s office. Within five minutes of that email I had a phone call from someone in the same office.”

“As I mentioned on the phone to him, it’s extremely disappointing that it takes taking something like this public to get their attention. The contact from Virgin was of course, very apologetic and they’ve offered to replace all of the damage equipment and even any rental costs in the interim.”

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“He has also said they are going to look at the procedures currently in place, as they don’t seem to be working. So overall a pretty positive response from Virgin, but as I said, disappointing that it takes a call out on social media to get a response.”

​According to Ash, the damaged equipment includes a Maton guitar case that was “severely damaged” and a Mapex Kick Drum, “a limited edition series that they no longer make”, putting the total cost of the damage in the “thousands”.

“Virgin have already replaced the guitar case, it’s currently in transit,” Ash said. “We’re trying to figure out what to do about the drum… it’s looking like we’ll need to replace the whole kit instead of just the one drum.”

Whilst the band are no doubt thankful the issue was eventually resolved, it’s unfortunate that the band had to go public with the incident before even receiving a response. It also begs the question: what would a musician without the considerable social media following of Woodlock need to do?

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