Yesterday I wrote about how Virgin Atlantic is fighting for survival. Sir Richard Branson, once the darling of the public and media, is now vilified as a billionaire tax exile, living on his own private island.
Whatever you currently feel about Sir Richard Branson, don’t forget that Virgin Atlantic employs 8,500 staff in the UK, with many more UK businesses relying on the airline.
But What has Virgin Atlantic ever done for us?
I’ll use the Monty Python ‘what have the Romans ever done for us’ sketch to illustrate.
Reg: All right, Stan. Don’t labour the point. And what have they ever given us in return?
Xerxes: Seat back TVs in Economy.
Reg: Oh yeah, yeah they gave us that. Yeah. That’s true.
Masked Activist: And the Virgin Clubhouse lounges!
Stan: Oh yes… the lounges, you remember what the BA lounges used to be like – and still are.
Reg: All right, I’ll grant you that the seat back TVs and the lounges are two things that Virgin Atlantic have done…
Matthias: And more competition on the Atlantic routes…
Reg: (sharply) Well yes obviously the Atlantic routes… the Atlantic routes go without saying. But apart from the seat back TVs, the Clubhouse lounges and the Atlantic routes…
Another Masked Activist: The bar in the Upper Class cabin…
Other Masked Voices: Massages… Haircuts… Twilight check in…
Reg: Yes… all right, fair enough…
Activist Near Front: And the Brandy and Baileys Apéritif …
Omnes: Oh yes! True!
Francis: Yeah. That’s something we’d really miss if Virgin went bust, Reg.
Masked Activist at Back: Limo pickup and sleeper suits!
Stan: And other airlines have had to up their game.
Francis: Yes, they certainly know how to compete with the big boys… (general nodding)… let’s face it, they’re the only ones who could in a place like this.
(more general murmurs of agreement)
Reg: All right… all right… but apart from seat back TVs and Clubhouse lounges and Atlantic routes and Upper Class bar and massages and haircuts and twilight checkin and apéritifs and limo pick up and sleeper suits… what have the Virgin Atlantic done for us?
Xerxes: Brought happiness!
Reg: (very angry, he’s not having a good meeting at all) What!? Oh… (scornfully) happiness, yes… shut up!
What Should Happen?
I believe the UK Government should intervene – perhaps nationalise the airline paying only pennies on the Dollar to the existing shareholders. It’s likely that this is a naive view and there are reasons why this can’t happen – but the one thing I am sure about is that I want Virgin Atlantic to continue flying.
Please see my other articles: