30 Years at Virgin Atlantic | The Ugly Truth – Part 2


Table of Contents

 

The Ugly Truth – Part 1
Page 1 – Thank You! 
Page 2 – Monitoring Crew Performance 
Page 2 – High Performing Onboard Manager 
Page 2 – Open to Suggestions and Ideas 
Page 2 – Onboard Performance 
Page 3 – The Good Old Days 
Page 3 – In the Beginning
Page 4 – Back to the Good Old Days
Page 4 – Crew Life Downroute
Page 4 – Pre-Flight Briefings
The Ugly Truth – Part 3

 


Thank You from the Bottom of my Heart

The response to the first part of my blog 30 Years at Virgin Atlantic the Ugly Truth has been truly overwhelming. In just a few hours it received more than 6000 views and messages of support poured in on the Facebook page where its publication was announced. I have read every comment and am blown away by all the love and kindness.

Regarding the allegations of bullying, harassment and inappropriate touching made by crew member Bart, none of the cabin crew managers or senior manager who dealt with the case showed any interest in investigating whether this ex police officer of eight years was telling the truth.

I’d read all email correspondence that was exchanged between him and the company which included detailed minutes of a meeting that took place between him and grievance investigation manager Lana. At no time was he advised verbally or in writing that should it be discovered he has made false or baseless claims, he could face disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.

The following screenshot comes from minutes taken during Bart’s meeting with the crew manager who carried out the initial investigation. Regarding him not being happy with the way his ‘Performance Management’ was delivered to his manager, I sent her a copy of what I wrote which is standard practice.

It’s clearly stated in all Virgin Atlantic cabin crew training manuals that an employee’s manager must be copied in on any performance review that has been written. Bear in mind Bart was still in probation having only been flying as cabin crew with Virgin Atlantic for eleven months.


from minutes taken during grievance investigation meeting with Bart


With all allegations being upheld by cabin crew manager Hayley, I immediately filed an appeal. It was dealt with by senior manager xx.

This was an opportunity for her not only to look again at all of the evidence, but to also investigate what I had been stating from the start, that Bart and five members of crew one of whom was his fiancee, were lying.


" "
Reply to an email from my manager who asked how the appeal meeting went


One of the first things senior manager xx said to me in the appeal meeting was because the case had been going on for so long, she would try to deal with it as quickly as possible. I asked whether she had just read my appeal or the entire case. She confirmed she had read all 600 pages.

It took her almost eight weeks to come to a decision. During that time she didn’t speak to any of the crew involved. Bear in mind statements written by the crew who worked alongside Bart and myself in Upper Class told a very different story to those written by the crew who colluded with Bart.

As part of my evidence I made reference multiple times to an important WhatsApp conversation that I’d had with a friend/colleague following the flight. It had been included as evidence and I’d sent a screenshot to cabin crew manager Hayley via her work WhatsApp account.

After crew manager Lana found there was a case to answer, the matter was passed to Hayley who would go on to deal with the grievance.

Hayley did not add a copy of the WhatsApp conversation to the case notes. I’d also sent her a photograph of the corridor of the hotel in Atlanta. That hadn’t been added to the file either. It was to prove another allegation made by Bart and Anna was a lie.

Despite making reference multiple times to both pieces of evidence, senior manager xx did not ask to see them.

The following is a screenshot from an email that I sent to her regarding this matter;


Real names have been replaced with pseudonyms

As someone who was already struggling with mental health and who had only returned to work nine months earlier, dealing with any grievance matter would have been difficult enough. I was not only dealing with a grievance from someone who was telling a pack of lies, but someone who was an experienced ex police officer.



Whilst off for almost two years in 2016 I never believed I’d return to work but somehow I did. Although excited to be going back, I was terrified and wasn’t even certain it was the right decision.

Prior to doing my ‘return to work’ course I had to be cleared by Virgin Atlantic’s Occupational Health team. As well as wanting to talk about my mental health they also wanted me to have a hearing test. The reason was because I had developed tinnitus.

Tinnitus is a noise that’s not caused by an outside source. Although in your ears it comes from your brain so even if deaf, you would still hear it.

Not everyone hears the same sound. For some it’s always the same whilst for others it changes. Some people hear it in one ear, I hear it in both. It’s always the same and never stops. The constant high pitched tone is quite loud and whilst some say you eventually get used to it and can block it out, that’s not the case for me.

I was told by an E.N.T doctor it can be caused by extreme levels of stress. For the ten years before it started I’d been dealing with an unimaginable amount of stress.


Despite having worked for Virgin Atlantic for 30 years, arriving at the office for the first day of my ‘return to work’ course was terrifying. It had been a long time since I’d socialised with anyone and was no longer the bubbly and outgoing person I once was.

I wore a dark suit and whilst waiting for the day to start sat in the corner watching apprehensively at everything going on around me. I didn’t recognise anyone and felt like a fish out of water. I wasn’t convinced I would be able to get through the course.

Driving out of the car park three weeks later was an amazing feeling. I couldn’t wait to get back on an aircraft.

Nine months on to be accused of bullying, harassment, inappropriate touching and not being fit to carry out my role by a bunch of hideous misfits most of whom were still in their probation, set me back enormously.

Their poisonous lies took me on a journey so dark I don’t believe I’ll ever fully recover.

Throughout the entire investigation I struggled to understand why Virgin Atlantic were so determined to uphold the complaint. Proving Bart and his accomplices were lying took over my life and became an obsession.

In the end I was able to prove all twenty two complaints against me were lies. I was also able to prove that all five crew members supporting Bart had lied in their witness statements. It made no difference at all.

Once in uniform no matter what I was dealing with or how I felt, I was representing Virgin Atlantic. On the aircraft I was responsible for ensuring safety procedures were followed and to lead and develop a team of cabin crew. I always did that to the very best of my ability.

I felt personally responsible for ensuring each and every customer on every one of my flights had the best experience possible. I loved working for Virgin Atlantic and always gave 100% on every one of my flights.


Male Virgin Atlantic Flight Manager
Taken at some point in 2019 whilst fighting an impossible grievance


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