Richard Branson had started airline Virgin Atlantic in 1984 soon after his flight from Puerto Rio to the Virgin Islands got cancelled. Rather than waiting for the next flight, he gave proof of his problem-solving mentality, he hired another plane.
He borrowed a black board and as a joke wrote Virgin airlines on the top of it with the goal of having more passengers for the plane. He also mentioned on the board, “$39 one way to BVI.”
Branson then went out in the airport lounge to gather all the passengers who had been bumped by the airline. He filled up every seat on the plane. 30 years after 1984, counting every single day after the launch of Virgin Atlantic, it’s now the second largest UK carrier.
It hasn’t always been easy during those 33 years. – said Branson in a letter to his employees.
Branson accused British airways of playing dirty politics in the late 90s. He alleged British Airways to be hacking the Virgin Atlantic computer systems and pretending to be one of the support representatives of Virgin Atlantic. British Airways then used to tell the customers of Virgin Atlantic that the flight has been delayed. Everyone called this campaign as the ‘dirty tricks’ campaign. Branson mentioned it in a podcast, “How I Built This”
Virgin later took British Air to the court and proofs were all against the British Airways. Virgin won the case and as a result gained $945,000 in damages. It’s worthy to mention, this is the largest libel settlement in UK history.
It was Christmas time, It became known as the BA Christmas bonus — we distributed it to all our staff equally. – said Branson about distributing the damages
Branson thinks that the fundamental reason of VA success is the people and staff working together. One has to connect and collaborate to be successful in his life and business. Well, this theory reminds me of the balance between producer and the producing capacity as a fundamental of success mentioned in the book, “The 7 habits of highly successful people”