Virgin Atlantic first class massage therapists awarded $500,000 in damages

Two Virgin Atlantic massage therapists have been awarded GBP300,000 in damages for pain caused by repetitive strain injuries from massages performed at the airline’s London Heathrow first class lounge.

The pair claimed their injuries were sustained because most of their (male) passengers were massaged while wearing heavy clothing, requiring more intensive therapy.

According to the women, their abilities to perform normal household chores were impacted by the RSI.

In court, Virgin Atlantic did not deny the claims, but disagreed with the level of compensation being demanded. Once the massage sessions started causing pain to the therapists, Virgin reduced the number of required rounds to two per hour, but soon increased it again. Both therapists have had to abandon their careers.

[Photo: Flickr/Gary Bembridge]

Airlines fined for price-fixing, $1.7 billion so far

U.S government prosecutors have fined 21 airlines $1.7 billion to date in a price-fixing scheme that has cost America’s flying public and cargo shippers millions in a case that dates back to 2000.

Rather than fix problems plaguing the airline industry a decade ago, executives at global carriers scrambled to find an easy way out and avoid financial ruin reports the Associated Press. Between 2000 and 2006 airlines artificially raised passenger and cargo fuel surcharges to make up for lost profits.

“As an example of the impact of the conspiracy, fuel surcharges imposed by some of the conspirators rose by as much as 1,000 percent during the conspiracy, far outpacing any percentage increases in fuel costs that existed during the same time period,” said former Associate Attorney General Kevin J. O’Connor.

They might have not been caught either had it not been for two airlines coming forward to turn in their conspirators. Admitting their “mistake” allowed Lufthansa and Virgin Atlantic to take advantage of a Justice Department leniency program for helping in the investigation. Still, the two airlines were fined over £120 million after admitting to fixing prices on fuel surcharges.

From fines to prison time for airline executives, penalties vary among individual airlines.

Gadling has been following this story all along and in 2008 told of Qantas airline’s involvement . In the case involving Qantas, the price fixing scheme had a focus on their freight division.

It was the freight division of China Airlines too that earned the airline a $40 million fine in the price fixing conspiracy just last September.

Announcing four guilty pleas in June 2008, O’Connor told the Associated Press that the cases “conservatively, has affected billions of dollars of shipments. Estimates suggest that the harm to American consumers and businesses from this conspiracy is in the hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Airlines fined for price-fixing include British Airways, Korean Air, and Air France-KLM but no major U.S. carriers as the case continues. So far, two former executives have been sentenced to six months in prison and two others were ordered to prison for eight months.

Ongoing charges are pending against 15 executives, nine of whom are considered fugitives.

Flickr photo by BriYYZ

Related Stories

Survey reveals hottest flight attendants – Virgin Atlantic grabs top spot

A survey by the Business Travel and Meetings Show asked 1000 of its members to pick the “most attractive flight attendants”. The results are a mixed bag – as expected, the Asian carriers all scored very well, but top spot for “hottest flight attendants” went to Virgin Atlantic with 53% of the votes.

There are even a few surprises in the lineup – with Aer Lingus coming in fifth, and KLM ninth. I can’t say I’d have included either of those in the list.

Top 10 most attractive airline cabin crew members:

1. Virgin Atlantic

2. Singapore Airlines

3. Etihad

4. Emirates

5. Aer Lingus

6. Lufthansa

7. Cathay Pacific

8. TAP

9. KLM

10. Iberia

More articles you might like

Valentine’s Day tribute: Sex museums around the world [Gadling]

The 5 Worst Ideas for Alcohol Ever [FoxNews Travel]

Check Out Former Egyptian President Mubarak’s New Home (PHOTOS) [Huffington Post]

Top 5 Fast Food Cities in the U.S. [FoxNews Travel]

Headless Ghost Forces Theme Park Ride to Move Ride [Reader’s Digest]

Best Up-And-Coming Vacation Spots [Reader’s Digest]

Delta: single large airline looking for Virgin partner

I hope you haven’t become too attached to Virgin Atlantic. The airline has gotten its share of calls lately about potential mergers, but they are qualified with expressions like “early stages” and “far too early” to say anything about. This isn’t all that surprising, given the strength of its brand and the fact that the airline hired Deutsche Bank to help it evaluate its available growth opportunities.

Word on the street is that Delta is sniffing around, but neither Delta nor Virgin Atlantic would say anything about it.

The notion of a merger with an airline of Delta’s size is interesting, as majority owner of Virgin Atlantic, Sir Richard Branson, didn’t have much in the way of positive commentary for the British Airways/Iberia deal, which he believed would lead to higher prices and lower competition.

But, the aviation business is feeling the urge to merge, and analysts are saying that Virgin Atlantic needs a big buddy in order to compete effectively, the BBC reports.

[photo by eisenbahner via Flickr]

Virgin Atlantic ad campaign hits American airwaves for the first time in over 10 years

This morning, at an intimate press event in New York City, Virgin Atlantic announced their new $25 million worldwide ad campaign: “Your airline’s either got it or it hasn’t.” Starting the week of October 11, you’ll be seeing Virgin advertisements on television in the USA for the first time in over 10 years.

The ad, which looks like a sexy music video (and a pretty good one, at that, with a terrific cover of Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” by Muse) is sure to appeal to a younger generation of business travelers and embodies VA’s “we’re not all buttoned up like the other airlines” allure.

Senior Vice President Chris Rossi calls the campaign a “brand redesign,” and to complete the picture, Virgin Atlantic is also ushering in a handful of new planes over the next two years (A330s) painted with a new design — in eco-friendlier paint, no less (it’s a thinner and lighter paint, and lasts seven to nine years). The new design features the brand name in huge, Gotham font letters and an updated Mustang Sally (“our scarlet lady,” Rossi calls her) carrying a far larger Union Jack flag.

The campaign isn’t just about flashy advertising, it’s also ushering in a new era of technological capabilities for the already cutting-edge brand. As early as this spring, you’ll be able to text message and make calls from your own telephone from an upper class Virgin Atlantic seat. Rossi says they’re unsure about the intrusiveness of allowing passengers to make such calls, but assures there will be a trial. “Our brand is a ‘let’s try it’ brand,” he says. Don’t screw it up, guys.

So, give the above commercial a watch and then look for it on TV as soon as the MLB Championships start. Check out the new livery below.