Three Virgin Brand Airlines Announce Combined Website

Virgin Atlantic Airways, a UK-based airline, is partnering with its sister airlines, Virgin America, and Virgin Australia, to begin a joint entertainment, digital advertising campaign, and to launch a new website.

The three airlines have launched the new website, www.flyvirgin.com, and have released an independent short film, for promotion purposes, highlighting their claims of a strong flyer base, exceptional amenities and modern in-flight entertainment services.

Virgin Group founder, Sir Richard Branson, said, ‘Virgin airlines have swept all the awards for having the best entertainment systems in the skies but a movie about falling in love with a stranger onboard a Virgin plane: now that’s in-flight entertainment!’

The new programme has also launched a fully linked airline loyalty programme for the frequent fliers of all three airlines, which will allow its members to redeem their flying miles for complimentary flights at any of the airlines.

Simon Bradley, the vice president of marketing at Virgin Atlantic, commenting on the new campaign, said, ‘Los Angeles is one of the most glamorous cities in the world, with its style, fame and deep roots in the entertainment industry. It’s also the only destination that brings all three Virgin airlines together with multiple flights per day to cities across the globe. From the beginning, we knew our campaign should live in Los Angeles and we chose a movie as the best way to celebrate all that is great about LA. Departure Date is our love story to Los Angeles where anything can happen and dreams can come true.’

Virgin Atlantic Announces Plans to Acquire Vacant Heathrow Slots

Virgin Atlantic, an airline subsidiary of UK-based Virgin Group, intends to bid for the acquisition of 12 slot pairs at London Heathrow Airport in UK.

The airline is keen to acquire the slots to facilitate its plans to commence short-haul services between Scotland and Heathrow, in the UK. The airport slots will come available when British Airways’ parent company, International Airlines Group (IAG), gives them up as part of its merger with BMI, British Midland International, an airline formerly owned by Lufthansa, a German airline company.

Virgin Atlantic chief commercial officer, Julie Southern, reportedly said in a discussion with Travel Weekly, ‘We will bid for all the slots. We have always provided competition to BA. That is Richard’s (Sir Richard Branson’s) raison d’etre. We believe we can provide point-to-point services. It would be an extension of our network using different aircraft.’

The airline also intends to use the airport slots for new services to Cairo, Riyadh, Nice and Moscow.

Julie Southern has also expressed her dismay at the EU competition commissioner’s decision on IAG’s acquisition of BMI, saying, ‘IAG won the go ahead for its GBP172 million deal to buy BMI from Lufthansa at the end of March. We find it hard to believe the full ramifications can have been investigated in such a short period. The whole process has been pretty disappointing.
We want all 12 (airport slots). We will wait to see the full judgment. There are so many aspects: can we get hold of them? What are the strings? Are there constraints? We are puzzled as to why the slots are in two groups. It would be sub-optimal for anyone to operate (only some of the slots). We feel all 12 should stay together.’

Other companies could also bid for the slots as and when they come available, with Aer Lingus one likely contender.

Beach Wheelchairs now offered at holiday resorts

Virgin Holidays is delighted to announce a new complimentary service for their customers – beach wheelchairs. Available in selected hotels in Antigua, Barbados and St Lucia, these specially designed chairs allow customers who have walking difficulties or are wheelchair user’s, easy access onto the beach and into the ocean. These tricked-out chairs come complete with extra chunky beach-friendly wheels, sunshades and storage for beach essentials.

 

Virgin Holidays employee Nicola Davis, herself a wheelchair user, came up with the idea after visiting the Caribbean on holiday. “I have used beach wheelchairs in Florida for many years and then I travelled to the Caribbean and found out that none of the hotels offered them. I really missed being able to spend time on the beach with my children and realised that many people were missing out on one of the most important parts of a Caribbean holiday.” The chairs were developed in partnership with Aqua Creek Products and have been getting rave reviews from the first customers that have used them, giving a liberating freedom to move around the beautiful Caribbean beaches with ease.

 

The beach wheelchairs are available to Virgin Holidays guests at the Almond Beach Village, Almond Casuarina and Almond Beach Club in Barbados, St Lucian by Rex, St Lucia and the Jolly Beach in Antigua, and are pre-bookable through the Virgin Holidays Special Assistance Team.

 

Virgin Holidays award winning Special Assistance team offers a dedicated service for disabled and limited mobility customers. Brochures highlight accommodation which is best suited for wheelchair access and those with reduced mobility can book accessible transfers, adapted vehicle hire and medical equipment hire. The team also provides theme park and excursions accessibility information to help customers plan ahead.

 

Call us on 0844 557 3998 or email special.assistance@virginholidays.com to find out more.

Bag a Bargain with a Last Minute Holiday

Last minute holidays are becoming increasingly popular for those looking for a bargain getaway! With great discounts, last minute holidays are a fantastic way to go on a dream holiday with a realistic budget. With destinations all over the world, to suit different people with different budgets, on Virgin holidays’ last minute holidays you’re sure to find your perfect holiday.

Package holidays are popular amongst Virgin holidays’ customers. With a varied range of destinations and hotels to suit all different budgets, package holidays with Virgin will surely meet your needs. Whether you want a budget city break in the USA or an indulgent and luxury holiday in the Caribbean, Virgin’s package holidays will provide a holiday to meet your requirements.

If you’re planning on club hopping in Miami’s South Beach, or if you’re planning a fun filled family trip to Orlando, or even a golfing trip to the numerous golf courses along the Florida Keys, Florida holidays with Virgin will meet your needs. And why not visit all three? With Virgins twin-centre and multi-centre holidays, you can arrange the Florida holiday of your dreams and see everything that Florida has to offer. Whether you’re planning on retreating to a luxury resort or making yourself at home with a holiday villa or apartment, with Virgin’s Florida holidays there’s a number of different options for you to consider. Florida holidays with Virgin even give you the opportunity to combine your visit to Florida with a cruise holiday, setting sail to North America or the Caribbean.

For great value accommodation, renting Florida villas is a great alternative to a resort hotel. With Florida villas you’ll get a fantastic amount of space which no hotel room could compete with, and having your own space means you can make your Florida villa your home away from home. Florida villas are located in upmarket, quiet, residential areas, and are only ever a short walk or drive away from the action. Florida villas are certainly the most wallet friendly options for accommodation in Florida, leaving you with plenty of extra cash to spend in Orlando’s exciting theme parks, Miami’s vibrant bars or the many malls, restaurants and attractions around Florida.

To book – www.virginholidays.co.uk or Call 0844 557 3859

Hurricane Irene – advice for travellers.

Hurricane warnings are in place for parts of the Caribbean and the US as Hurricane Irene approaches. Hurricane Irene will pass over the north coastal areas of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and the Bahamas during 22 and 23 August, with strong winds and heavy rain affecting neighbouring regions.

A hurricane warning is in place for Turks and Caicos Islands. Airports are expected to close from 21:00 (local time).

Hurricane Irene is expected to reach Florida on 25 August.

Travellers can monitor the progress of storms on the US National Hurricane Center website, and advised to monitor local and international weather reports. British nationals should follow the advice of the local authorities and tour operators.

Branson’s island ravaged by hurricane Irene
The Hurricane has already hit Sir Richard Branson’s luxury Caribbean home, burning it to the ground. The Massive house on the Virgin tycoon’s £60million private island was struck by lightening on Monday morning when the whole region was battered by the storm.

Branston revealed that his family and guests all escaped unharmed. Guests included Kate Winslet, who carried Branston’s 90-year-old mother to safety.

Virgin pilots won’t strike

Holidaymakers travelling to the US and Caribbean for the summer break can breath a sign of relief – it has been revealed that Virgin Atlantic’s pilots’ will not be striking.

An offer has been secured, according to Union Balpa, and this will be put to pilots in a ballot possibly ending the strike.

Balpa general secretary Jim McAuslan said: ‘Pilots have never wished to inconvenience the travelling public, especially those looking forward to summer holidays.

‘We have therefore lifted the threat of strike action. Virgin Atlantic pilots will proudly continue their role of flying passengers safely to their destinations.’

Virgin Atlantic said tonight: ‘We can confirm that negotiations are now concluded and Balpa will present a pay offer to its members over the coming weeks.

‘The threat of strike action has now been removed and our flying schedule remains completely unaffected.’

The strike threat has been lifted, which will leave the airline and travellers very happy. Balpa asked Richard Branson to get involved in negotiations, however he declined but did offer to speak privately to the pilots, after a high percentage voted for industrial action.

In a letter to the pilots, Sir Richard warned that unless Balpa withdrew its threat of a strike it would leave an ‘indelible scar’ on the airline and ‘impact customers’ trust in us and damage the unique and friendly culture at Virgin Atlantic.’


BA wont strike .. but talks continue over Virgin walkout

Traveling with BA this summer? You can breath a sign of relief as the two year long cabin crew dispute looks to be over.

However those travelling with Virgin have more to worry about. Virgin Atlantic pilots have so far refused to back down from the walkout and could ruin tens of thousands of family holidays this summer.

Hitting key long-haul routes, including flights to Disneyland in California and Florida, as well as the Caribbean, the Far East and Australia, strikes would be incredibly disruptive for many holiday makers.

Strike dates have not be revealed yet, but the first is expected to take place in July, with further walk outs to follow over the summer.

But there was better news for passengers today though, as BA’s union Unite balloted several thousand of its members, recommending acceptance of an agreement thrashed out between the two sides after 18 months of conflict.

The agreement includes a two-year pay deal and the return of travel concessions for thousands of staff who took part in 22 days of strikes last year, which cost BA £150million.

Sir Richard Branson’s airline said it was disappointed but was preparing ‘contingency plans’ to deal with any walk-out.

Travel industry experts condemned the strike as ‘disappointing and frustrating’.

Balpa chief Jim McAuslan said: ‘There has been no UK pilot strike for 32 years. But there comes a time when even moderate people say enough.

‘With no pay increase since 2008, a below inflation offer for 2011 and proposals for 2012 and 2013 that will be sub-inflation this is now a six-year attack on living standards which has not happened in any other UK airline.’

He added: ‘We do not want to inconvenience the public and hope that Sir Richard will use some of his undoubted flair to settle this.’

A spokesman for the airline said its pay offer was ‘industry leading’ and ‘double the national average for a UK business’.

He added: ‘We are naturally disappointed with the result of the ballot but remain committed to further talks with our pilots’ representatives to find a solution.’