You knew this would happen.
Virgin Atlantic Airways just announced it would deploy larger aircraft on key routes over the 12 days of the planned British Airways cabin crew strike “in order to carry stranded passengers.”
Virgin Atlantic has identified a number of flights on routes such as New York (Newark), Boston, Washington and Delhi where it is feasible to operate the flights with larger aircraft. These selected flights will now be operated by an Airbus A340-600 rather than an A340-300, thereby providing 68 extra seats per flight. The extra seats will go on sale over the next 24 hours.
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are bitter rivals, of course. Which makes the following quote from Virgin’s Richard Branson so — well, let me just play the clip for you:
It is a nightmare for passengers, and you have to feel for them at Christmas time. Any strike would obviously be extremely damaging to everybody – the company, employees and most importantly the traveling public.
But a good PR opportunity for Virgin Atlantic. Why else would you issue a news release on this? (Actually, let me rephrase: What took you so long?)
Meanwhile, British Airways has bigger fish to fry. It’s going after its own employees.
“Strike update: Virgin Atlantic deploys larger aircraft to accommodate stranded air travelers”