It's another battle for hearts and minds. Virgin Atlantic came out with its new site against the British Airways antitrust linkup with American airlines and Virgin's chief executive Steve Ridgway came to Washington to make his case. The last time Virgin battled against a linkup between the two oneworld partners, it painted the sides of many of its planes with the slogan, 'No Way BA/AA'; that was more than a decade ago and since then airlines and advocates have found that they can reach more eyeballs through the 'net. (They're painting some planes, anyway, and putting pictures of Virgin's founder, Richard Branson, up on the web.) You can look at the dueling websites here.
Virgin Atlantic takes the nod in battle of the websites
The question then becomes which cause is waging better fights and here, we have to give the virgins a nod. Take for instance Virgin Atlantic's visit to Washington by its Ridgway, who knows a thing or two about working a crowd. He came to Washington to talk to the International Aviation Club, and before starting, said, "The room needs to be merchandised." So he took the club crest and tacked a little red Virgin plane on it. Then as he got to the end of his talk, Steve said he had a pair of premium economy seats good for trip between Washington and London. All you had to do was guess what the BA/AA joint market share would be between Heathrow and Miami. Cries rang out, and Steve , assuming the auctioneers twang, said "no, too high", or "no too low", until someone guessed right (75%). Then he noted that each of the 20 or so tables in the room had silver box on it. Each box contained a model Virgin plane, and the winner, Ridgway said, was determined by random: all you had to do was look on the bottom of your seat; one seat at each table had a note taped to the bottom saying, 'you win'. Every other seat had a note saying: 'Regulators approve the tie up; you lose'.
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