A recent Sunday Times article suggested that more and more people were flying 'ABBA' (anyone but BA). Never missing an opportunity Virgin Atlantic responded with an ABBA themed ad.


Now the problem is, on a standalone basis, Virgin Atlantic is a decent airline but unless they fly where you need them to then that's no use. The BA route network is the largest by far from Heathrow and they're partners in the oneworld alliance meaning a whole range of routes where you can fly while enjoying the benefits of the BA Executive Club frequent flyer scheme.

BA aren't perfect and have suffered a lot from cost cutting over the years but despite all this the on-board teams carry on and generally deliver good service. The teams at BA CityFlyer (operate short haul flights from London City Airport) do a particularly good job and offer a very competitive business class and economy product on flights between London City and Scorland.

To compete with BA Virgin Atlantic need to find a way to somehow be competitive with their route network. As they're 49% owned by US airline Delta it would make sense if they joined the SkyTeam alliance with Delta which would give Virgin passengers easy access to the route networks of KLM and Air France for flights within Europe and heading east. They already partner with Delta for flights to and within the US.

But it's the domestic services where it's really disappointing. Recently Virgin Trains West Coast announced they were halving the miles given to passengers on the service, meaning that claiming Flying Club miles on the west coast route is close to worthless. The earning levels on Virgin Trains East Coast currently remain the same (#BrandConfusion) but we don't know if they'll be cut in the future. If anything the partnership between the Virgin Trains franchises and Virgin Atlantic needs to improve.

Think of this example, if you're based in Edinburgh and you have to fly a few times a year to the US for business and a few times a year to London also for business and the combined domestic and transatlantic travel was enough to get you status on British Airways allowing lounge access on all your flights, but on Virgin got you nothing because the transatlantic flights alone were not enough to get you status then the sensible options would be to fly BA for all these trips meaning both Virgin Trains and Virgin Atlantic will lose out custom due to not having a joined up approach to loyalty.