Monday, June 7, 1999 Published at 05:48 GMT 06:48 UK
Virgin's battle of Britain with BA
Virgin is flying the Union flag - in its own fashion
Virgin Atlantic has unveiled its new Union flag livery on Monday, only hours after BA announced its own plans to go back to "flying the flag".
Virgin boss Richard Branson clearly derived much pleasure at the weekend from BA's discomfort.
He said: "The squiggly lines didn't work, in Britain or abroad, and their profits have dive bombed since they introduced them and Virgin's have gone soaring up since we brought the flag back.
'Proud of Britain'
"When I talk to people from overseas they feel that Britain is something to be proud of and flying in a British carrier, whether it is Virgin or BA, is something that they feel secure and safe in."
BA said on Sunday it would not be completely ditching its much-criticised "ethnic" tailfin logos but would instead be repainting half of its fleet with a new Union flag logo.
He said: "It's what our customers want. It is as simple as that. People in Britain want an image which they can respond to as part of their culture."
Mr Branson said the whole "ethnic" experiment had been an expensive mistake by BA.
Fly and lie
A new fleet of Airbus A-340 planes will have part of their cargo holds converted into upmarket dormitories, although they will not be in service until 2002.
Mr Branson said: "The air hostesses would have to see what you do on take-off and on landing - but in between is up to you."
"The legitimate mile high club is born," he told reporters at the official unveiling at Schiphol East Airport in Amsterdam.
The tycoon said nearly £40m and three years of research had gone into developing Virgin Atlantic's new-look livery complete with prominent Union flag logos and "flying lady".
Virgin hopes the re-launch will help it to win a bigger slice of the lucrative business market.