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