Mr R Branson

Chairman of Virgin Atlantic


Dear Mr Branson

 I am writing this letter to you since I know how passionate you are about your enterprise.

 On 8th June 2006, returning from San Francisco to London on Flight VS20, a medical emergency arose onboard the flight and the Captain announced the assistance of a Doctor.  Following the announcement I identified myself to the Cabin Crew to deal with the medical emergency.  This was a case of a Diabetic patient who checked-in her Insulin and syringe with her luggage and did not bring it onboard. 

 After my intervention, it appeared that there was no insulin onboard the flight, and having interviewed the patient myself, I made an executive decision that the patient should be fine for the remainder of the journey, which was approximately 3 ½ hours.  I reassured the Head Cabin Crew that there was no need for panic and calmed the situation. 

 This happened to be the case and the patient remained fine throughout the journey, until it landed at Heathrow airport.

 To deal with this Medical emergency, it took me 45 minutes, and after returning to my seat, I was expecting, at least, the Captain or the Head Cabin Crew to come and personally thank me for my professional assistance, which without, could have caused panic and anxiety amongst the other passengers.  Unfortunately, this was not the case and it seems that my Professional services were taken for granted by your personnel.

 On returning home, having spoken about the story to my other colleagues, they told me that under similar situations on flights from other airlines, when they have offered their medical help, the Captain personally thanked them after the incident, and up-graded them to a first class cabin with full complimentary hospitality for the remainder of the journey.

 We have been advised by our Medical Defence Unions, to be extremely cautious when we offer our professional assistance and services outside the UK and NHS boundaries.  There have been several cases of litigation against Doctor?s who willingly offered their help in case of medical and surgical emergencies.

 As a regular traveller with Virgin Atlantic at least once a year, after this incident I will certainly no longer identify myself as a Doctor onboard your flights due to the lack of courtesy by your Cabin Crew and Captain.

 I hope you will discuss this matter during your Annual Appraisal with your Flight Captain?s and Crew?s and perhaps similar situations in the future can be handled with more courtesy.

 Yours sincerely,

 B Shafighian MD FRCS

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

Passenger on Flight VS20 on 8th June 2006 ? Seat 56C

 E-Mail :

Reply by

Dear Doctor B Shafighian,

                                Thank you for forwarding your letter to
Of course we are nothing to do with Virgin Atlantic Airlines. Firstly I must thank you for helping a fellow passenger in distress. I'm sure that your presence and soothing words from a medical man must have help to calm the passenger. Unfortunately you were traveling with a third class airline staffed by a third class crew captained by a third class pilot. I wonder if it could have been Captain Tony Slaney he seems to fit into the picture drawn by your letter. He usually doesn't bother too much with passengers in distress only bothered with his own ego.
       My advice to you is to tell all your friends "do not fly Virgin Atlantic it's not worth it".
    In the unlikely event that you should receive an apology from Virgin Atlantic please feel free to draw my letter and remarks to their attention. (They may offer you a discount reward to fly with them again).
                          Yours sincerely, Edward Phillips

<<<< Back to Virginaircrewlies <<<<