Update: Strike Threat Lifted as Virgin Atlantic Offers New Deal

June 23, 2011
Update, 5:30 a.m. EDT: The BBC reports that Virgin Atlantic and pilots' union Balpa have reached an agreement which has lifted the threat of strike action by the union. According to the union, Virgin has put forward a new offer which will be presented to union members in the coming weeks. Details of the offer have not been revealed. (6 a.m. EDT) -- Brits hoping to cruise the Caribbean this summer could find their holiday plans ruined by strikes. But it's not British Airways this time. Now, Virgin Atlantic's 750 pilots have voted overwhelmingly to strike over a pay deal. Although no date has been set, the first walk-out is expected to be in July, with more strikes over the summer. This could affect British cruise passengers on flights from the U.K. to Miami, bound for the Caribbean, and the West Coast gateways of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle, for Alaska cruises. Although it's low season on the Caribbean, Virgin's holiday operation, Virgin Holidays Cruises, does have a number of departures on short cruises and cruise-and-stay vacations in partnership with Royal Caribbean. At the moment, until dates are announced, passengers are advised to play a waiting game. Virgin Holidays issued this press statement yesterday: “Following the announcement today of strike action by Virgin Atlantic pilots, Virgin Holidays continues to work with its colleagues at the airline to ensure comprehensive contingency plans are in place in the event that the dates of any industrial action are announced. “We urge customers to continue to monitor our website, where regular updates will be posted. However, until strike dates are announced, Virgin Atlantic's flight programme remains unaffected and we're advising customers to continue with their travel plans as normal.” We'll keep you posted if and when dates are announced. --by Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic Contributing Editor