Virgin Atlantic trumps BA’s strike compensation offer

Virgin Atlantic is ambushing British Airways’ goodwill compensation offer to passengers who had their journeys disrupted by the recent strike action at Heathrow Airport.

BA is offering an 80 voucher as a “goodwill gesture” to holidaymakers who found flights delayed or cancelled during the unofficial action.

But Virgin Atlantic says it will accept the 80 vouchers and add an additional 20 discount to any former BA passenger who books with the airline. The offer will be available on all Virgin’s 22 long-haul routes and valid in all classes.

The initiative is designed to attract BA passengers to Virgin, after the BA strike action affected about 80,000 passengers. A spokeswoman for Virgin says that there will be no campaign to promote the offer, but word of mouth and media coverage should alert customers.

BA has begun a PR offensive to restore credibility to its brand (MW last week). The 80 voucher offer comes on top of reimbursement for food, transport and hotel costs incurred by passengers. However, the Air Transport Users Council has criticised BA for offering the same value of voucher to everyone, regardless of whether they were delayed for hours or days.

Meanwhile, no-frills carrier Ryanair has announced a four per cent year-on-year rise in first-quarter pre-tax profits, to 31.8m. The airline carried 5.1 million passengers in the three months to June 30, up 45 per cent on the same period last year.

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