My favourite airline: Virgin Atlantic – Scott Pawley

Scott Pawley, Managing Director of Global Travel Management shares his favourite airline and tells us why Virgin Atlantic.  

Charismatic, fun and cheeky: Virgin Atlantic was built in the image of its founder, Richard Branson

The best airline depends on the destination you’re travelling to and the level of service you expect.  So, in choosing my favourite airline I took note of the range of destinations covered and the which airlines ‘go the extra mile.  And, taking account of those two criteria, Virgin Atlantic can rightly claim to be a great airline.  

Since 1984, when Richard Branson expanded his empire from music and entertainment to the aviation industry, the Virgin brand has competed for passenger traffic on some of the most popular routes.  And, as Scott says, they set about changing the way customers saw airlines.  

They had a culture of simply giving passengers everything they wanted and needed – a clubbed together several minds that knew exactly what people want.  Not surprising from a brand that launched Culture Club and Simple Minds. 

They gave legitimacy to having a business with a cheeky personality; but always managed to stay the right side of ‘over the top’. 

Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson shows off a Virgin Atlantic Airbus A350-XWB at Farnborough Air Show

Onboard massages and seat-back video games were among the offers that got Virgin Atlantic noticed and kept them at the forefront of people’s thought. 

Scott also drew parallels between Virgin’s airline brand and Global Travel Management.  

It’s a company that embraced innovation, offered a great service and competed with much bigger, established competitors.  It’s exactly how we at GTM have approached the business travel industry: innovating, providing the best-possible offering and showing how an independent, smaller travel management company can provide a better service than some of the venture capital-owned agencies.  

Although Scott didn’t extend the similarity much further. 

I haven’t flown hot air balloons, abseiled down the Matterhorn or launched people into space.  Yet.  

Scott explained some of the things that sets Virgin Atlantic apart:

The Wander Wall in Virgin Atlantic’s Premium cabin is one of the little things that keeps the airline’s passengers happy in flight

The Wander Wall is an innovative idea from Virgin Atlantic which offers Premium Economy passengers the opportunity to choose from a selection of snacks and soft drinks mid-flight; I’m not aware of any other airline offering such a facility to its Premium Economy passengers.

Also, the Clubhouse. The design and layout are a divergence from the normal type of Business Class lounges at airports all over the world. For example, there is also the Clubhouse Retreat, a relaxation area where passengers can relax prior to their flight, or, go to the opposite extreme and jump on a Peloton.

But what’s most important for business travellers is whether an airline can get them to the place they need to go. Virgin’s network of destinations means that passengers travelling to many parts of North America and Europe can find a route on Virgin or one of its joint venture partners, Delta Air Lines, Air France and KLM.

Contact your GTM Account Manager next time you’re flying to a Virgin Atlantic destination.