Open Jaw: Virgin Atlantic's 25th birthday
Saturday 20 June 2009
Your piece on Virgin Atlantic and its high-profile boss, as with most pieces of the sort, seemed to emphasise the service "Upper Class" passengers can expect. My only experience of Virgin was a trip to the US in steerage class, wedged into a short-haul European-style seat pitch, with cabin crew whose only interest was their forthcoming layover in San Francisco. Because of that trip, I would have to be persuaded to fly with Virgin again.
What a pathetically fawning interview you gave "Saint" Branson. Yet another gullible journalist swallowing every word he says. BA dirty tricks? Please. How long are you journalists going to allow him to bang on about that? I hope you enjoy the next Virgin beano. You've most definitely earned it.
Air safety in Britain
While I do agree with your comments about the general safety record of flying I noticed that at the end you repeated an assertion that there have been no deaths on a scheduled UK flight in the last 20 years. I live a few miles from Leeds-Bradford airport. Sadly, we did have a fatal crash – albeit not of a large airliner – in 1995.
In March I booked with Ryanair from Bristol to Gerona for two adults. Total cost of this reservation came out at £142.
Last week I needed to change the booking, because the friends who we were visiting in Spain have had the temerity to move further south in Spain. So I tried to change my reservation on the Ryanair website, to Bristol to Alicante, on the same original dates. When I checked to see the cost of the flights and schedules on the Ryanair website I found that both outward and return flights were priced at zero.
I then went through the motions of trying to change my flight from my original flight. After pressing all the correct buttons etc and requesting the change in destination and flights I paid an extra £227 for an apparently "free" flight.
God help me if I need a pee as well. Is there no way of stopping this complete rip-off of decent passengers?
I believe in weighing flying passengers and their baggage together. When challenged myself, I have always looked around and pointed out someone twice my weight, then asked how much extra they would be charged. I have never had to pay for excess baggage.
Is anyone else sick of the sight of Simon Calder? Sorry Simon, I don't mean to be rude, but holiday photos are a bit dull and we seem to be subjected to rather a lot of yours. Do we really need to see you posing in quite so many global locations to prove it? Couldn't someone else in your office go?
And is it really such a great idea to promote endless travel? Does "48 Hours in... (a far flung place)" really justify the flight for environmental reasons? And what about one's health? Forty-eight hours, just long enough to get stressed and realise you should have gone for longer. While Independent journalists report on the brutal reality of climate change, Simon Calder hops on yet another plane.
Anyone else struck by the irony?
In the past month, the cities in our 48 Hours series have been in France and Belgium, with strong recommendations for travelling to each of them by train. The last long-haul destination in the series was Dubai in February, the choice reflecting its popularity as a stop-over for 'Independent' readers on long-haul trips.
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