Back ‘when I were a girl’ (said in a Yorkshire accent) I used to travel a lot with my parents. Commercial air travel was still relatively new and I clearly remember how when we’d see air crew walking through the airport their heads were held high with pride, and everyone looked admiringly at them. Have you seen the film ‘Catch me if you can’? Well, if you weren’t around in the 1960s to see what I’m talking about for yourself, that film shows you pretty much what it was like to be air crew then. It was the coolest job – seriously, those people were mini gods. I remember having ambitions as a little girl to be an air hostess. I have to tell you, however, that every time I said so to my mother that she would quickly retort: ‘You want to be a trolly dolly? Really? Ooh no, I don’t think so!’ (I did secretly keep on dreaming though).
A couple of months back an ad for Virgin Airways was released on TV and it plays on this nostalgia because they are currently celebrating 25 years as an airline. When we fly anywhere long distance nowadays I am of course swayed not only by price but by the convenience of the destination airport for us, plus those all important airmiles. Still, I have to say I have a tremendous soft spot for Virgin and will use them whenever I can. This is partly because I have huge admiration for Richard Branson but mostly because Virgin were once incredibly generous with us. You see we took the girls over to the States one year on an ‘all in’ Virgin holiday and to cut a long story short, our holiday fell short of expectations. Nothing totally horrendous, just really not what we had expected. When we got back I wrote to the company to say how disappointed we’d been, not thinking that I’d ever hear anything back from them. Well, far from it. A short while later I received a letter of apology and – here’s the thing – a full refund for the holiday. I was, and still am, blown away by this generous attitude, so is it any wonder that Richard Branson (already a business hero of mine) rocketed right up in my estimation? It was probably also a clever business move on their part because over the years I’ve missed absolutely no opportunity to extoll the many virtues of Virgin. There is no better advertisement than a totally smitten customer.
Here’s that wonderful ad … and they really couldn’t have picked a better piece of music because it’s one of my all time favourites ‘Relax’ by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. ‘ Ah them were the days’ (she said, back in her Yorkshire accent).