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First Virgin flight from Manchester to Atlanta cancelled after water cannon salute goes wrong

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This is not your typical Head for Points article but I couldn’t help slotting it in.

To selectively quote from the Daily Mail (original story here):

A Virgin Atlantic passenger jet was grounded after a botched ‘water cannon salute’ by airport fire tenders clogged up its engines by spraying thick foam instead of water.

The Virgin Atlantic plane – with its ‘Beauty Queen’ name emblazoned on the fuselage of the Airbus A330-300 – had just landed in Manchester with 188 passengers on board after its high-profile inaugural flight from Atlanta, Georgia in the USA. 

Virgin Foam

It was preparing to depart from Manchester as return flight VS109 when the watery tradition was set to send it on it way.

But disaster struck when the fire tenders at Manchester Airport positioned themselves to spray a giant arch of water over the top of the transatlantic passenger jet – and someone mistakenly pressed the button marked ‘foam’.

So instead of pure water splaying down the aircraft, it was fire-suppressing foam which got into and clogged up the vital and sensitive jet engines and hi-tech turbine blades.

As a result the spluttering plane, dripping with foam residue, was grounded and forced to undergo a top to bottom safety check-over running to thousands of pounds by Virgin Atlantic engineers

Some 252 departing passengers hoping to enjoy an on-time departure at 10.35am instead faced a five hour delay before finally being told the flight would have to be cancelled altogether. They are being put up at hotels overnight and told to report for a replacement flight at 9.30am Tuesday.


HFP Virgin Atlantic Rewards credit card

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (September 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

You can choose from two official Virgin Atlantic credit cards (apply here, one has a bonus of 30,000 Points until 15th October 2021):

Virgin Rewards credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

The UK’s most generous free Visa or Mastercard at 0.75 points / £1 Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

30,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending Read our full review

You can also earn Virgin Points from various American Express cards – and these have sign-up bonuses too.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for a year and comes with 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

Until 2nd November 2021, there is a special offer on The Platinum Card from American Express.

You will receive a sign-up bonus of 60,000 Amex points which converts into 60,000 Virgin Points.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Points

(Want to earn more Virgin Points?  Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)

Comments (15)

  • Jimmyjimmy says:

    Darwin awards contender

  • Thomas says:

    One word………LOL!

  • David Barron says:

    LOL – Just think of the compensation. I wonder how many bonus Virgin Flying Club miles passengers will get in compo (as well as money due to Flight Delay rulings in the High Court)

    • RIccati says:

      They will just issue a plain denial of your claim, even if there are legitimate reasons. Then, they will take you by exhaustion. Unfortunately one has to go through the motions with the airline before taking the complaint further.

  • MAGGER says:

    Opps…I guess the fire crews aren’t quite used to their brand new fire engines!
    I hope they don’t make a similar mistake if there us an emergency!

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