David Fells Goliath

Virgin Atlantic pins British Airways for an extensive dirty-tricks campaign

FIRST-CLASS PASSENGERS ARRIVING AT J.F.K. airport in New York City for Virgin Atlantic flights were often surprised when agents met them, apologized for scheduling problems, then steered them to British Airways flights. What they did not know was that the agents were really B.A. employees. Other passengers planning trips on Virgin were taken aback when called at home by British Airways employees offering them incentives to switch to B.A. That was only the half of it.

In a remarkable campaign of dirty tricks that used code names such as "Mission Atlantic" and "Operation Covent Garden," B.A. (which operates 250 airliners) fought...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!