aa777jr
Posts: 2269
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2004 12:03 pm

VS Sued BA? "Dirty Tricks?"

Sat Oct 16, 2004 5:17 pm

I read an article that said BA was liable and paid damages to VS during the 1990's do to "dirty tricks" BA also had to pay Virgin Dick a nice chunk of change. What "dirty tricks" was the article referring too...it wasn't very detailed.

AA777jr
A liberal is a man who is right most of the time, but he's right too soon.
 
trident2e
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RE: VS Sued BA? "Dirty Tricks?"

Sat Oct 16, 2004 5:19 pm

BA staff hacked into VS's CRS and then contacted their premiuim passengers offering incentives to swith to BA. Initially BA denied the claims but paid out big money once the proof was put before them!
 
aa777jr
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RE: VS Sued BA? "Dirty Tricks?"

Sat Oct 16, 2004 5:22 pm

HAHA...busted! That is serious stuff, wow, it said BA only had to pay £500,000 to Dick, and another crummy £110,000 to VS. Seems very small punishment.

AA777jr
A liberal is a man who is right most of the time, but he's right too soon.
 
nudelhirsch
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RE: VS Sued BA? "Dirty Tricks?"

Sat Oct 16, 2004 5:34 pm

A future US lawyer complains about lawsuits?

sorry, could not resist...
Putana da Seatbeltz!
 
aa777jr
Posts: 2269
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RE: VS Sued BA? "Dirty Tricks?"

Sat Oct 16, 2004 5:40 pm

Heck yeah I'm complaining, I'd be running and gunning for BA balls if they "hacked" into VS computers to steal customers. I would have gone for bankruptcy for BA!  Smile

AA777jr
A liberal is a man who is right most of the time, but he's right too soon.
 
Dazed767
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RE: VS Sued BA? "Dirty Tricks?"

Sat Oct 16, 2004 6:20 pm

Branson could have easily wiped them out, but wanted some competition anyways (not like he needs the money!).
 
JGPH1A
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RE: VS Sued BA? "Dirty Tricks?"

Sat Oct 16, 2004 6:41 pm

It wasn't even proper hacking. VS were hosted in BA's RTB system, which in those days had not much security on it, and was anyway owned and maintained by BA staff. Not exactly a challenge.

Post Dirty Tricks, VS moved their Res to SHARES B (a bit of a lemon compared even to RTB, but at least safer from prying eyes).
Young and beautiful and thin and gorgeous AND BANNED ! Cya at airspaceonline.com, losers
 
carduelis
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RE: VS Sued BA? "Dirty Tricks?"

Sat Oct 16, 2004 7:51 pm

To be more precise, when Virgin started they actually had a reservations system, but what they did not have was a Departure Control System!

BA who had computer outlets at airports worldwide actually helped Branson by allowing him to use those DCS outlets for VS check-in and loadsheet work.

As JGPH1A says, the security was not great, but quite frankly, it didn't matter as normally there's not much in computer DCS information apart from the pax name, flight and odd Other Supplementary Information. However, for reasons best known to themselves, VS said they wanted pax telephone contact numbers be included in their DCS information, and they actually supplied them. They then accused BA of telephoning those pax! That was their way of saying a nice thank you for helping them get set-up!

Even if VS pax were contacted, anybody who knows reservations and ticketing, together with check-in, will realise that Carrier A cannot accept Carrier B's tickets without Carrier B first endorsing them over! By flying Carrier B's pax for nothing, there was absolutely no financial gain for Carrier A!

The main money paid out by BA was as a result of an off the cuff remark made by the then Editor of BA's Staff Newspaper, BA News, in a libel case! At the time there was so much mud slinging, that VS made some mistakes and then lost a case to BA. With damages going backwards and forwards, Virgin Dick achieved his usual publicity in setting-up his new airline, conveniently forgetting that BA had helped him in part of it!

He continued 'ankle-biting' Lord King, the business suited, pompous Chairman of BA, and Branson always presented himself as a relaxed young executive wearing a 'woolly pully'! Lord King who had been brought in by the Prime Minister, Maggie Thatcher, to privatise British Airways, had enough on his plate, so Tricky Dickie just carried on the aggravation, to the obvious annoyance of King!

To summarise, at the time, anybody who had access to a BA BABS computer could take a look at check-in details of VS, or indeed any other carrier that BA hosted in those days. A great chap called Laurie Simmonds, together with his team had developed BA's DCS in-house, so naturally it was hosted on BA's computers! Quite frankly, I used to have a peep on occasions, mainly just to check last minute loads for personal staff travel. There was nothing else in the info, apart from the previously mentioned telephone contacts that VS had actually supplied to BA

Bearing in mind that DCS infomation is only in the BA system for 24 hours (a bit longer nowadays so as to include through check-in), it was based on a SITA message sent by VS to LHRRMBA, so there really wasn't much time for anybody to 'steal' it, let alone to poach passengers!

Overall, it was the just the start of all the usual hype from Branson, hence my distaste for his usual underhand publicity tactics. Having said that, I have every admiration for his airline in general!



[Edited 2004-10-16 13:15:56]
Per Ardua ad Astra! ........ Honi Soit Qui Mal y Pense!
 
sevenair
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RE: VS Sued BA? "Dirty Tricks?"

Sat Oct 16, 2004 8:19 pm

yeah, i studied this in UNiversity, I do computing
 
luv2fly
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RE: VS Sued BA? "Dirty Tricks?"

Sat Oct 16, 2004 9:39 pm

Aa777jr you might want to take a minute and read up on just who belongs to your favorite airline, alliance! And who is conisdered one of there biggest partner - BA!

[Edited 2004-10-16 14:57:19]
You can cut the irony with a knife
 
whitehatter
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RE: VS Sued BA? "Dirty Tricks?"

Sat Oct 16, 2004 9:51 pm

Truth is stranger than fiction.

Virgin Atlantic DIDN'T sue BA. Branson personally sued British Airways and its directors for defamation in Britain and won. The offending piece was an article in a British Airways magazine which basically stated Branson was not telling the truth regarding BA's activities.

BA settled out of court rather than it go to trial.

Virgin then sued BA in a New York court under US antitrust legislation for the loss of revenue and damages relating to their switch-selling. Virgin LOST that case as the trial judge declared switch-selling to be both legal and commonplace.

The net result was that over the course of the two cases Branson and Virgin ended up paying British Airways money as their costs were greater than the London award. Some victory.
Lead me not into temptation, I can find my own way there...
 
VS11
Posts: 892
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RE: VS Sued BA? "Dirty Tricks?"

Sun Oct 17, 2004 12:54 am

Carduelis -

Just because BA hosted the system for VS does not entitle them to sneak and steal trade secret information and abuse it.

The Dirty Tricks case was about proving that BA had initiated a campaign to destroy Virgin. Virgin proved that BA had hired outside consultants to discredit Virgin Atlantic by spreading rumours in the public space that Virgn Atlantic was going out of business, that Virgin Atlantic was running out of money, that it would stop operations any day now so that eventually people would stop buying tickets on Virgin Atlantic.

The campaign also included poaching Upper Class pax after arrival, and phony phone calls. After BA got the numbers of the Upper Class pax, BA called them presenting themselves as VS agents and saying that the pax's flights were cancelled. Shortly after, BA agents called the same pax offering flights on BA!!!

The money that Branson got from BA were divided among each VS employee, and everyone got 400 pounds.

Regards,

VS11
 
whitehatter
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RE: VS Sued BA? "Dirty Tricks?"

Sun Oct 17, 2004 1:22 am

Virgin proved that BA had hired outside consultants to discredit Virgin Atlantic by spreading rumours in the public space that Virgn Atlantic was going out of business, that Virgin Atlantic was running out of money, that it would stop operations any day now so that eventually people would stop buying tickets on Virgin Atlantic.

Factually wrong.

Read my reply above. The matter never came to court in Britain as BA settled out of court but did not admit liability. Nobody 'proved' anything, and the BA version is very different.

Virgin then sued in New York and lost. Again no proof that the Virgin version was authoratative. The New York court specifically stated that BA had not acted illegally.

Stating that something was "proved" is dangerous ground, as accepting one side's version of events without question cannot be done when the legal processes which ensued either did not come to court or were rejected.
Lead me not into temptation, I can find my own way there...
 
VS744
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RE: VS Sued BA? "Dirty Tricks?"

Sun Oct 17, 2004 1:49 am

A good place to find out all about this and some of the other things that have happened between Branson and BA is his "losing My Virginity" autobiography. You'll probably hate BA when you have read it! BA successed with Freddie Laker, but Branson managed to kick them into touch!
 
VS11
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RE: VS Sued BA? "Dirty Tricks?"

Sun Oct 17, 2004 1:52 am

Ok, after checking with Branson's book, I admit that I got it wrong. The case indeed was settled out of court. So I would revise my post to be "Virgin had the proof", although they did not end up using it in the case.

Just to quote from Branson's book: "On 11 December 1992 we agreed the terms of the highest uncontested libel payment ever made in British legal history: 500,000 pounds to me personally to compensate for the personal libel and 110,000 pounds to Virgin Atlantic to compensate for the corporate libel."

As to the case in New York, I was not aware of it so I cant comment on it. Either way, however, BA did set up a campaign against Virgin, and Virgin could prove its case. BA indirectly admitted their actions by offering the out-of-court payments to Virgin and Branson. In fact, the reason Branson agreed to out-of-court payments was that according to his lawyer, Branson could end up winning the case but losing 3 million pounds.

Regards,
VS11
 
whitehatter
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RE: VS Sued BA? "Dirty Tricks?"

Sun Oct 17, 2004 1:56 am

Another book is "Branson" by Tom Bower, which is the unauthorised biography.

Branson sued Bower and lost too. The Bower version is meticulously researched and has voluminous endnotes and references. The court case established an important principle in British law, namely that of "fair comment".

An entirely different version of the BA story is documented there. BA were no angels, but if you read both books the only feeling you will come away with is not knowing who to believe.

There is also a book called "Dirty Tricks" available, written by Martyn Gregory. As this is published by Virgin Books I would discount it as being impartial.
Lead me not into temptation, I can find my own way there...
 
aa777jr
Posts: 2269
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RE: VS Sued BA? "Dirty Tricks?"

Sun Oct 17, 2004 2:04 am

Whitehatter,

thanks for the references. I will look into aquiring those books at Barnes and Noble for sure! I have actually never been on a BA flight, so I could care less about them. I have flown VS before. Nice flight!

AA777jr
A liberal is a man who is right most of the time, but he's right too soon.
 
VS11
Posts: 892
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RE: VS Sued BA? "Dirty Tricks?"

Sun Oct 17, 2004 2:06 am

I will check if I can find the Tom Bower book here in the States. I am curious about it as I have heard it mentioned before.

Thanks for suggesting it, and for correcting my previous post. I had read Branson's book 5 years ago so I had forgotten some of the details.

Regards,
VS11
 
carduelis
Posts: 1388
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2001 8:24 pm

RE: VS Sued BA? "Dirty Tricks?"

Sun Oct 17, 2004 2:16 am

As mentioned above, there was absolutely no proof of the allegations made by Branson/VS against British Airways, so suggest you do not assume that they were true.

Rather than reading Branson's extremely biased autobiography, and the account written by a paid for hack, called 'Dirty Tricks' which was totally full of holes, I suggest readers should try to absorb the more factual versions written by Whitehatter and myself above, based on being around at the time. We don't know each other, but the very similar versions relate more to facts than anything that has ever come from the forked tongue of a publicity-minded egomaniac. This subject has been discussed here at length before, about two years ago, so you may find something in a search of the archives.

As for Freddy Laker, again nothing was proved in the insinuations. He retired as a multi-millionaire after closing Laker Airways. Later, I once sat behind him on a BA First Class flight to MIA. During the flight we had a chat and he told me that as a retired former director of an airline he had free travel on other carriers. When I asked him about what he was planning to do in MIA (so near to his beloved Bahamas) he said he was doing a round trip on BA and was just travelling over to MIA to pick up his son to escort him back to the UK - all on BA First class!

A good man - I enjoyed his company during the flight!



[Edited 2004-10-16 19:36:16]
Per Ardua ad Astra! ........ Honi Soit Qui Mal y Pense!
 
aa777jr
Posts: 2269
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RE: VS Sued BA? "Dirty Tricks?"

Sun Oct 17, 2004 3:19 am

Which book do you recommend I read then, if not Bransons autobiography.

Thanks again.

AA777jr
A liberal is a man who is right most of the time, but he's right too soon.
 
User avatar
Richard28
Posts: 1638
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RE: VS Sued BA? "Dirty Tricks?"

Sun Oct 17, 2004 5:19 am

Whatever the pedantics about the legal case, BA was wrong, and VS got the moral victory.

end of story.

a jolly good thing too - competition in the UK marketplace has been excellent for the consumer.

Just look at Germany where there is an effective monopoly in longhaul operations - LH still have no PTV's, and no flat beds in J.

Long live competition!!!!!!!!!

Rich.

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