British Airways, also known as BA, used to be a respected flag flyer for Britain. How sad, then, to see the level to which they descended in order to stifle Richard Branson's attempts to establish a competing airline in the shape of Virgin Atlantic.

The apex of the dirty tricks campaign which BA waged against Branson was when BA employees abused their access to the central seat-booking computer system to obtain names and contact details of Virgin Atlantic passengers. These passengers were contacted by BA staff, masquerading as Virgin employees, and were informed of fictitious problems with their flight, ('mechanical problems with the plane', etc). The caller would then offer to refund their fare and book them on a BA flight instead. Richard Branson discovered this deception and took BA to court, where he won.

The final nail in the coffin of the BA campaign against Virgin was when the CAA allowed Virgin Atlantic into Heathrow, (they had previously been restricted to Gatwick). This opened up many more potential routes to Branson, ensuring that he would not got the same way as Sir Freddie Laker.

For the record, they're not even "The World's Favourite Airline" anymore - that honour belongs to Lufthansa.