Virgin rumour mill

4 Apr 2008 by Mark Caswell

Upper Class passengers may soon have to do without their in-flight massages, while the Virgin Group is said to be in talks about launching a hotel in Manchester.

Virgin’s premium customers have enjoyed free in-flight massages and manicures for the past 18 years, but according to a report in The Times, the airline is calling all 280 in-flight beauty therapists to a meeting next week to review its Upper Class offering.

Virgin said that no decision had been made to withdraw the service, but that it constantly looks “to review our Upper Class service to make sure that our investment is where it should be and that it is meeting the expectations of our customers”.

Should the beauty therapists suddenly find themselves out of work, they might want to hotfoot it up to Manchester, where the Virgin Group is said to be considering opening its first Virgin City hotel.

A report in the Manchester Evening News last week says Virgin is in talks with developer Albany Crown about opening a four-star hotel within a 44-storey skyscraper in the city. If the plans go ahead the development would rival Deansgate Beetham Tower (which houses the Hilton Manchester Deansgate) as one of the highest buildings in the city.

In other news V Australia (the international arm of Australia’s Virgin Blue group of airlines) has announced that it will provide technology on its fleet of Boeing 777-300ER aircraft allowing passengers to send mobile text messages and use GPRS devices such as PDAs and Blackberries.

The service will be work in partnership with Aeromobile and Panasonic, with the carrier due to commence flights between Sydney and Los Angeles this December.

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Report by Mark Caswell

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