British Airways VA Official Thread | The Community's 'Best Virtual Airline' for three years running

Congrats to @BritishAirwaysVA for this incredible 4th years on the VA community and leading this one !

Also a big congrats to @Jon_H, @Chris_Wing and @Matevz_Treven for leading this wonderful VA.

And also congrats to all of the BAVA staff for all that they do to make BAVA what it is today

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And you should! Everything is perfectly organised, the CrewCenter is top-notch, and the atmosphere is amazing!

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What about the CRJ-700?

BAVA won best Virtual Airline of 2020 for the 3rd time in a row congratulations fellow speedbirders!!!

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BAVA YOU DID IT AGAIN YAYY!!

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The Community's Best Virtual Airline for Three Years Running

British Airways Virtual was voted Best Virtual Airline for a third year in a row. This is an exciting and incredible honor to hold as a VA. This was only possible with the commitment of our pilots and staff; a truly incredible team and community to be a part of.

To all our pilots and staff: Thank you!

We have big plans for 2021, which will hopefully be a much, much better year for everyone. Keep an eye out for some smashing updates coming soon!

-The Senior Leadership Team
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Congratulations on winning! BAVA is a very interesting organization to say the least and I thought I’d leave some of my thoughts on this matter.

To anyone looking to join, my experience consisted of getting scared off by passive aggressive staff and pilots and leaving within a month or two. There was no training or help offered when I joined and what resources were available had almost no mention of flying standards. The slack was broken down into many different channels, often which the documentation had no mention of. It was a complete sensory overload with the slack seeming disorganized and confusing. It comes as no surprise to me that pilots were encouraged to vote for a certain VA for a meaningless forum vote- when to my knowledge nobody else does so. But all’s fair in love and war I suppose?

But enough bashing, British Airways is a very prestigious airline with a very diverse route network employing wonderful staff. It just comes as a shame to me that my experience did not reflect the standard that all other VAs set as well as not living up to the expectation of representing their real life counterpart.

And I hope I don’t upset too many people with this, but maybe work to improve those areas that I mentioned. And hopefully I don’t get flagged into oblivion for leaving a review of a VA that I joined and did not enjoy.

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Dear @Guxk,

If your message were constructive criticism, we would welcome it with open arms as we aim to improve British Airways Virtual every single day with our committed pilots and staff. However, as you mentioned in your message, you opted to “bash” BAVA, on our main thread of all places, so please allow us to kindly respond publicly. Please keep in mind that our intention is not to return a bash but merely to clarify and defend in the most respectful manner.

We’re sorry that this has been your experience. We always aim to address such issues as quickly as possible as our goal is to maintain a welcoming, friendly, and professional community at BAVA. As in any other VA/VO and on the IFC, we have had staff and pilots with attitude problems, but we’ve always addressed those issues straight away. We try to help them understand that such attitudes are not welcome at BAVA, help them be more positive, and if we cannot resolve the issues in that manner, we have to resort to demotions or banning from the VA, which we have. Nevertheless, it is unfair to bash an entire VA due to conflicts with a staff/pilot or two. Our staff and pilots remain extremely positive and welcoming.

We have a wonderful Mentor Team who is ready to help each and every pilot. We have dedicated mentoring channels for just that purpose. We also have an 84-page Standard Operating Procedures document that outlines every single standard we ask our membership to help maintain. Besides the two, the rest of the staff AND our experienced pilots continuously help out fellow pilots with any questions or concerns they may have in the mentoring channels. Once again, we are sorry that you felt this way; we strongly believe that we allocate more than enough resources to help our hundreds of members. We also continue to improve our services to the membership, which will include a flight academy very soon.

Again, we are sorry that you felt a “sensory overload” in our Slack workspace. We keep it as organized as possible with each channel dedicated to certain purposes, which are explained in channel descriptions. Our SOP also outlines the main channels and their purposes. Our members continue to give us feedback, which we take seriously and try to implement whenever possible or feasible, but this is the first time we have heard of such “feedback.” We also mention, on a weekly basis, that anyone can give us feedback; wish you had done so to help us improve rather than a bitter public comment after leaving the VA.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, of course. We do not see the IFC Awards as “meaningless.” We believe the IFC Awards are a fun way to engage the community and elevate those who put in effort to make the IFC better and better. As with any other IFC event or engagement, we promoted the awards in our VA workspace; we’re certain the show-runners of the IFC Awards would want more engagement with the entire community. In our message to the BAVA membership, we simply asked if BAVA deserved another vote; no rewards were offered, no perks, nothing. Our membership was made aware and they simply voted if they felt BAVA deserved it. We have absolutely no clue who or how many of our members voted.

For reference, here’s the exact wording: “If you believe we were able to serve you well, that your friends and peers in this community as well as our staff made your VA experience better, don’t forget to visit the IFC thread linked to vote!”

As we mentioned, we aim to promote a welcoming and professional environment at BAVA. We’re sorry your experience ended up a negative one. However, on that note: We did have a disagreement with you in terms of a VA-to-VA agreement when you reached out to us. We believe your negative experience within BAVA is also connected to that experience. Specifically, BAVA asking for some time to observe a newly-approved VA before walking into an agreement was met with an immediate request to cease codeshare operations, which we felt to be highly reactive and unfair, because there were no codeshare issues; BAVA had been operating for years and was ready to sign a codeshare agreement. Nevertheless, it was an unfortunately negative conversation and we do accept partial blame for the tone and misunderstandings.

Our intention is not to turn this into a back-and-forth discussion in our main thread. We are always open to resolve any disagreements in our workspace (publicly, if preferred, or privately) or in IFC DMs. We believe the tone on the IFC should always be a positive one, but we also do not appreciate an unfair public bashing of our VA into which an incredible membership put their hearts and souls.

We wish you a much more pleasant year than the last and hope to see you around in a more positive light.

Kindest regards and blue skies,

-The Senior Leadership Team

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Congraaaaaats @BritishAirwaysVA, I know it was going to be you again so I’m so happy.

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Although I am not a pilot for BAVA, I’ve had nothing but a fantastic experience with their pilots when controlling and flying. I believe that their well-rounded training program and competent staff members contribute to this, and in my eyes, this award is well deserved.

Congratulations, BAVA. Best of luck to you guys!

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Congratz @BritishAirwaysVA for winning best VA award 2020. 3 wins in a row that`s impressiv. Best of luck in the future.

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I fully agree I am a pilot and I love every minute from the amazing pilots to talk to. To the amazing staff! Again well done BAVA!

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I provided my opinion. I gave reasons as to why I have this opinion. Additionally, the last time I tried to provide suggestions on how to improve BAVA(as this is not the first time), I was told “I don’t tell you how to run your VA, and you don’t tell me how to run mine”. Not exactly open arms, eh?

That comment was very obviously a joke and an attempt to lighten the mood. People provide positive feedback all the time on main threads so I do not see any reason as to why negative feedback should not be provided here.

It wasn’t really a few isolated incidents by one or two people, but the entire atmosphere created by the staff and pilots. I strongly disagree that this is unfair as any sort of feedback should be welcomed.

If memory serves. the Mentor Team was to help out with any questions. If I think I’m flying properly, why would I ask questions? For context, other organizations such as DLVA, AAVA, or AIVA(and possibly more) have had training programs that make sure from minute one that their pilots are the highest standard possible. And the 84 SOP is exactly the problem. If you dump information on someone, they are bound to forget some of it. Or maybe they wouldn’t read it at all and just skim it for the gist.

Looking forward to seeing this.

Again, sensory overload with the SOP. I also doubt this is the first time that you have heard such feedback as I have talked to others that have had the same experience as myself. I don’t recall a weekly feedback program, maybe that’s new. And my comment is anything but bitter. Again, if you can provide a positive review of a VA negative reviews should also be welcomed. Shunning negative feedback is not really a good sign.

As far as I am aware, no other VA does this. Voters should not be influenced into voting one way or another. If they believe BAVA is the best they would go vote on their own, without needing a reminder. I have never seen a VA send a message encouraging people to vote for them.

If you want to make this issue public I would be happy to pull up the exact messages that were exchanged. They do not reflect this account at all and I am disappointed, yet not surprised, that a comment of this attitude would close of your response.

I will leave it at this. If the leadership team really wants to welcome feedback with open arms then I hope to see some response asking how I(or anyone else) think the VA should improve- noticeably absent here. I do not doubt that the membership has dedicated a great amount of time and energy into BAVA, but that does not mean any sort of negative review is “unfair public bashing”.

I hope BAVA has a wonderful 2021.

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I’ve been flying under the BAVA banner for a few weeks and absolutely love it! And to the chap who had a tough experience; I’m sorry that happened to you. As a social introvert new experiences like that can be overwhelming for me. In fact, I’ll be brutally honest with you, at one point I nearly left because I felt a little under pressure to perform, but I thought on it for a bit and realised it was self-inflicted pressure. For what it’s worth, depending on how long ago that was things might very well have changed. Not being a shill for anyone but there’s always value in second chances :)

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Very very nice Virtual Airline!

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I think I ought to leave a review here too. Let me make this clear, this isn’t VA bashing, simply being honest about my experience. This is also not meant to turn into an argument or anything of the like, and any messages in regards will simply be ignored. For the sake of privacy and fairness, I will not mention any names.

I would certainly say BAVA is the biggest virtual airline on the forum, I don’t think I need to even question that. They have an incredibly large set of members who are active in slack and in sim on a daily basis. That is an achievement that can’t be faulted: the various staff teams up until now have worked hard to get to this point.

I’m putting this in a drop down, as much as it’s a honest review, I’m also a fair person and I don’t want the first thing people seeing to be a negative review. They can read if they are inclined to do so


Story

When I first joined the VA, must have been back in mid 2017, I was greeted by a wonderfully helpful recruitment manager, assigned a high rank pilot who I could ask questions and given a callsign (Speedbird 207, I kept it to my very last day). It was great fun. I got to learn about the VA world and made some friends pretty fast. I had a lot of free time to fly back then, I enjoyed participating in events and group flights.

Fast forward (an amount of time), I am declined a staff role (pretty sure it was events assistant) due to being in another VA as a staff/ owner. BAVA had a rule that allows their staff to only be staff in that VA, not another. We will touch back on this slightly later.

A few months afterward, Aerosync (my Va) closed after many years due to inactivity and a lack of interest since global. Shortly after this, I help the staff team fix their crew center which had broken, and get given the IT manager role. To be honest, it was a role that entailed no work. I was never given stuff to do, and not long after I was given a role as one of the pilot mentors, along with (I believe) 4 other people. It was a welcome role, it was no secret I loved helping the other pilots, and as one of the higher ranking pilots I had plenty of experience.

Going to fast forward again to January 7th 2020, the date of my dismissal (and a fellow staff member at the same time). Please note another member had been banned simply a day before with no kind of explanation to anyone. The situation at hand here, in fact, was myself and the other member being honest with the pilots. Remember the rule about staff at one VA? It turned out that the VA was breaking it’s own rule (outlined in the SOP) at the time by having a staff member that was also staff at another VA, and I’ll add someone that was previously incredibly disruptive. This needn’t have been a big issue, but questions were raised by some of the pilots, shot down immediately by the staff members. I said I would continue to tell the truth if the staff didn’t, one of the points I believe contributed to the “disruptive” reasoning.

I was honest with people about the situation, and was warned to stop, an action I felt completely unfair and dishonest. I was banned (not demoted or suspended) the following day for promoting continually disruptive behaviour in the VA. I would also like to point out I was never given a formal explanation for dismissal. When I pushed further for a reason, I was told (in short) thanks for your service, and my account was deactivated. I received many messages from pilots shortly afterwards asking what happened and wishing me well. I also received messages on various platforms from pilots that had faced similar situations themselves but hadn’t been confident enough to talk about it. There was never an explanation given to anyone for my dismissal, other than that we had been “disruptive”. I still have all of these statements saved onto my phone as they were sent to me by fellow pilots. The statement mentioned "honesty and integrity’, an ironic statement really considering the reason for my departure. I don’t toot my own trumpet often, but there was no question that I was one of the most active members in the slack. I recall myself being very chatty, but never disruptive.

I was 1 of 4 staff dismissed in a matter of 2 months for being truthful to my fellow pilots.


I would like to make it very clear that the staff team has changed substantially since this incident, and I have been told only recently that things have improved massively, but the sour taste still remains. I have no doubt that the VA has improved massively since then.

I said at the time that a VA was made up more so by its members than its staff, and I stick by that. There is no question that the VAs pilots were some of the most dedicated I met, it’s just a shame that at the time, certain staff members were filled with an urge to control and twist the truth to their own liking. At the time, they refused to take any kind of advice or compromise. According to a lengthy statement above, that doesn’t seem to have changed.

I sincerely hope that things have changed internally at the VA. BAVA is one of, if not, the largest VA in the community, and it has a responsibility to set the standard. For me, it put me off VAs permanently, and is the reason I now do not affiliate with any others.


I do wish to congratulate BAVA on winning the award for 3 years in a row, but also like to point out in my 3 years, there was always a heavy emphasis for pilots to go and vote for the VA, whether in the form of an announcement or in conversation. Nonetheless, it’s an excellent achievement, and everyone involved should be proud. I also wish the VA an excellent 2021.

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I’m glad you stuck with it! You’ll be a One World Award holder in no time :-)

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Having just read through all of that (most eloquent, by the way!), though I am not obliged to defend the organisation, I do feel compelled to make plain a current pilot’s viewpoint on BAVA, which I am quite confident many of the others share though I do not seek to be their spokesperson in this or any other matter.

Given the support this and the previous post on this topic have garnered it is evident that, at some time in the past, there was either a culture of aggressive leadership or poor personnel management, or perhaps some combination of the two. I spend my days working in business and, reading these accounts of past events, I can say categorically that if this sort of behaviour were being exhibited by upper/middle management against staff at my company, we would haul them up before a disciplinary board in no time. It’s no way to treat people and certainly not what anyone would deem civilised conduct.

On that point, if anyone from IFVARB happens to read this, I would say objectively that one major element which was clearly missing then and may still be missing now is accountability of SLTs if pilots happen to have grievances which either go ignored or are actively suppressed, as was apparently the case with the events described in the previous post; Everyone must have the confidence to raise their concerns whether privately or publicly without fear of interference.

All of that said, I would like to point out that the general atmosphere at BAVA in the year 2021 is very lively and engaging, and as far as I can see there has been no cause for concern amongst the current crop of pilots for some time, and where issues do appear they are resolved swiftly and effectively. I’ll give you an example; though I’m still quite new there I’ve been rather outspoken in terms of ideas I’ve had for the VA, and all of them were heard, entertained and explored fully, regardless of whether the team ultimately rejected or accepted them.

In summary, it would appear that there is a tarnished reputation which BAVA’s current leadership now finds itself dealing with, having inherited it from their predecessors. It is clear that the old stains of blood have not yet been wiped clean. However, though these things take time and there should not be, nor I would wager will there be, a rush to heal, I would remind those who suffered these experiences that times change and people change, and nobody should be made to answer for the misdeeds of another.

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I have had nothing but a positive experience with their staff members. Although I am not part of the airline… Yet I have spoke to many of their staff members and they are really incredible people.

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I wholeheartedly agree with you’re review on this VA because I’ve seen similar situations play out in which my colleagues and associates were “kicked out” of the airline for frivolous and frankly inconsequential reasons. HOWEVER, the staff and experience has changed during this period and it seems to be a much more positive and fostering environment and I applaud BAVA at this!

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