Virgin could lose its beauty

A beauty therapist for Virgin Atlantic administering a signature hand massage.

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Scott Jagow: The airlines are just getting killed on fuel costs. We've had two airlines shut down this week, ATA and Aloha. Others are raising fares and fees, struggling to stay competitive. The latest sign of trouble: Virgin Atlantic might do away with its in-flight beauty therapists. The airline has called a meeting of manicurists and masseuses in London next week.

Joining us is Angela Jameson, who wrote about this in the Times of London. Angela, what's Virgin up to here?

Angela Jameson: Apparently, they are examining all sorts of treats, but particularly the in-flight beauty therapists fear that their offerings might be ended or withdrawn -- presumably to save costs.

Jagow: Now, Virgin has only 38 planes, but they have 280 in-flight beauty therapists. Why do they have so many beauty therapists?

Jameson: I know, it's staggering isn't it? I think it's because they've tried to woo passengers away from the stuffy, traditional flag carrier airline with these treats that they give passengers. You can have massages and beauty treatments at the airport before you even leave, and they're rather spectacular clubhouse. They're just trying to make the travel experience more entertaining and more relaxing.

Jagow: So if they decide not to offer the "Handsome Hands" mini manicure or the "Back In The Clouds" upper back massage, will this mean trouble for Virgin Atlantic?

Jameson: Virgin passengers have been very loyal, but if these treats are withdrawn, it could mean that they start to look elsewhere and really examine the true cost of their airline ticket.

Jagow: All right, Angela Jameson from the Times of London. Thanks for joining us.

Jameson: Thank you.

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