Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

You're getting ready to sit back and relax.

London to Boston is a long flight. But you're flying Virgin Atlantic. It's an airline, at least try and make the experience enjoyable.

Unless you happen to get a piece of foam, instead of a seat.

Suddenly, you're given a note. (It was obtained by the fine One Mile At A Time blog.)

The note is signed by the airline's Customer Relations Duty Manager.

It reads: "Your flight to Boston will be operating via Manchester today. In order for us to ensure our customers are able to fly from Manchester to New York today, we need to fly one of our pilots to Manchester. We have looked at other options to achieve this, but this is the only option available to use. You will remain on board the aircraft during our short stop in Manchester Airport. I apologize for any inconvenience and disruption this may cause to your journey."

Ah. Oh. What?

This all happened on Friday. Manchester is around 200 miles from London. British Airways flies there quite a lot.

Couldn't the pilot have flown up there on another flight, without having to drag all the passengers from a completely different flight along for the ride?

Wouldn't, say, a helicopter have been quicker and caused less disruption? Don't Virgin own trains? Doesn't this sound a touch bonkers?

As it turned out, the Boston flight suffered a 1 hour and 36 minute delay. Moreover, it surely cost the airline quite some cash to do this. So why, oh, why?

Virgin's logic is a joy to behold. It told me that there had been a "last-minute pilot sickness."

Yes, when that pilot sickness gets around it can be contagious. Just ask the 200 Air Berlin pilots who simultaneously fell ill last week.

"While we appreciate this caused an one hour and 30 minute delay to customers onboard the VS11 to Boston, it was necessary to ensure 228 passengers on the VS127 from Manchester could also make their journey as planned," said an airline spokesman.


Some Virgin passengers didn't make their journey as planned, so that some other Virgin passengers could? Alrighty.

The spokesman added that the airline had "investigated every possible option to relocate our pilot."

I asked what some of these options might have been. Virgin told me it looked at "trains, public transport and scheduled flights on competitor airlines before this action was taken.

It's unclear whether the Boston passengers received any compensation. Or even a little extra ice cream.

"We would like to thank the customers onboard the VS11 for their patience and understanding in these exceptional circumstances," said Virgin.

Exceptionally annoying to some, I imagine.

How to Fly Private (for Non-Millionaires)
Published on: Sep 17, 2017