AeroplaneWhatever I thought might have happened to mess up my trip to the USA, I can’t believe that it was a volcano! I am currently dealing with the fact that my Virgin Atlantic flight home tonight has been cancelled, and the next flight I could get on is not until Sunday- that is, assuming that it goes at all, and the ash does not keep getting worse, or fail to clear. It’s really weird being so totally out of control. Normally, it’s an airline(eg BA’s strike pushed us to use Virgin) or a freak snowstorm, or even a terrorist event that affects one’s travel plans. And that only lasts for a short while. Here we are nearly a week after the eruption and still nothing is moving. That’s a lot of frustrated passengers. It has made me realise how much we all depend  on air travel. I stupidly asked a relative to post me a prescription for medicine because I did not bring enough to last me indefintely- and only afterwards realised that the chance of the package getting to me was nil- as airmail isn’t coming across the Atlantic any more than I am! Sea mail takes five weeks, so I hope to be back before then.  It is affecting students in a big way too. The one lifeline that makes it all just about bearable is the internet and e mail. At least I can stay in touch remotely. If you are one of my students, just e mail…


BA Management’s Stunningly Successful PR

imageI’m a frequent flyer with BA, and have been dealing with the threatened strike action by cabin crew for the past six months, as I try to find a time to make yet another transatlantic return visit to my family.  This could piss me off and turn me against the airline, but in fact, it hasn’t! I teach PR, and am finding the BA management’s handling of the strike to be a classic case study of how to trash your opponent’s image in the press, and win the hearts and minds of your customers. Although on this occasion, I’ve been forced to fly Virgin, in order to get to the USA over the Easter period, I am on the side of the management toughing it out- and all because of the way they have conducted their campaign.

They managed to show the public just how unreasonable the cabin crew are by briefing the media to compare the BA cabin crew wages and benefits to almost every other airline. Yep- BA crew are getting almost twice as much- and yet are greedy enough to strike over changes needed to deal with the fact that the airline lost £431 million pounds last year. Every step of the way, the BA CEO Willie Walsh ends up looking like a hero, when the Unite Trade Union spokesman looks like a throw-back to the 1980s- totally out of tune with what the customers need. Brilliant Job, BA- can’t wait til you are back in business so I can fly with you again!