LONDON – One of the strongest brands in aviation, Virgin Atlantic, has come under criticism for not allowing airline staff to socialize, while they are on an international layover, in an effort to prevent COVID infections.
According to The Telegraph, in December 2021 the UK-based airline has adopted a controversial social-distancing policy that prohibits pilots and flight attendants from eating and socializing together.
Furthermore, the airline has always known how to keep its brand attitude and tone of voice consistent and is therefore considered one of the most innovative brands in the aviation industry.
However, this recognition could weaken, at least on the employee front, as airline executives are trying to suppress a party culture that they fear could encourage the spread of COVID.
The British Airline Pilots Association has defined the rule as “overblown and oppressive” and said the ban doesn’t make any sense given staff work long shifts together.
The staff has also been told to not socialize with workers from other flights.
Martin Chalk, general secretary of BALPA, said: “The challenges faced and overcome by pilots and our cabin crew colleagues during the pandemic, particularly the overblown and oppressive requirements in some places, are illustrated by the difficulties this airline is trying to address.”
“Airline crew already spend considerable time away from their family and friends. These requested restrictions should be lifted as quickly as possible to enable them to support each other as normal while away from home.”
A spokesperson for Virgin Atlantic told The Telegraph: “We continue to take pre-emptive measures to uphold operational and staffing resilience, always putting the health and safety of our people and our customers first.”
“Alongside any local requirements, temporary measures are in place for our crews to minimize the risk of Covid-19 transmission while they are overseas. This guidance to our people means we ensure they stay healthy and well and avoid flight disruption or cancellations for customers. These measures are kept under constant review and will be maintained only as long as necessary.”