Virgin staff criticises safety standards on Facebook

In my opinion, Facebook is funny and useful. I use it often to keep me in touch with all of my relatives and friends, to share pictures and news even if they live or work on the other side of the World. The social network has also plenty of groups, were you can discuss, share pictures and information with people that is not strictly a “friend” (someone that is directly connected to you). One of the groups I recently subscribed is the official Virgin Atlantic airline one. A couple of days before I joined the group, something strange happened on that page. A small group of airline’ staff posted some comments about the company’ safety standard and wrote also some malicious comments about passengers. Unfortunately I could not read what those employees wrote, since the staff admins deleted all the “bad comments” and started a disciplinary action. According to the information I obtained, the removed posts regarded the 13 B747-400 that the airline operates from London Gatwick and London Heathrow airports. Some of the crew members referred to the Jumbo as old, dirty “deathtraps” (even if they are quite new, since they entered service in 2001!) and criticised the Virgin Atlantic’s will to comply with the safety regulations and recommendations. Other comments regarded the type of passenger on the typical route flown from Gatwick. In particular, some of the employees referred to the passengers flying from London to Orlando as “chavs” (from Wiki: a slang term in the UK for a person whose lifestyle, branded casual clothing, speech and/or behaviour are perceived to be common, proletarian and vulgar) even if it must be said that flying to leisure destinations, it is quite normal to find Economy classes seats crowded with school childs and young people. Crew members operating on those routes should be used to “manage” such kinds of passengers.
A VS spokesman explained to the BBC that all the malicious comments were removed because “Virgin Atlantic does not tolerate any criticism of its passengers or industry-leading safety standards and is taking this matter very seriously. Safety is the airline’s top priority..”. I’m pretty sure such comments could be useful, but most probably they should be done elsewhere: I don’t think an airline public fans club is the right place to write such things (especially when they are wrong). Just think to a “nervous flyers” who reads an aircraft being called deathtrap by a qualified crew member. The impact could be devastating for both the passenger and airline.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.