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Laid-off airline worker rejected an offer to return to her old job because ‘it would be like going back to an ex’

The former airline employee who used to work for Virgin Atlantic told the BBC that she declined to take her old job back after redundancy

DANIEL SLIM / Contributor / Getty

  • A former Virgin Atlantic worker said she rejected an offer to get her old job back after being laid off.
  • The company offered her a lower salary and inflexible shifts, she told BBC News.
  • Returning to the role “would be like going back to an ex,” she added. 

A Virgin Atlantic airline worker who was made redundant refused to take her old job back because it would be like going back to an ex-boyfriend, she told BBC News.

After working for five years on Virgin Atlantic’s customer service check-in desk at Heathrow Airport, London, Sonya Dhillon was made redundant in 2020, she told the broadcaster.

This was a time when many airlines were making cuts to their workforce because of the coronavirus and the negative impact it had on travel.

Dhillon told BBC News that she thought Virgin Atlantic’s redundancy process at the time was unfair, although the carrier disputed to BBC News that the process was unfair. Dhillon said she refrained from putting her name down on the waiting list for a future job at the carrier.

At the start of this year, Virgin Atlantic contacted Dhillon to see if she would accept her old job back, she told BBC News. The company offered her a lower salary and less flexible shifts, she added.

At this point, she’d already used the money from her redundancy to create a digital marketing agency, she told the broadcaster, adding that her wage had jumped “tenfold” compared to her previous post at Virgin Atlantic.

“I’m not tempted in the slightest,” Dhillon told the BBC. “It would be like going back to an ex.”

Dhillon said in the interview that she declined Virgin Atlantic’s offer because “it’s just not the same place as it once was” and not a company where she sees her career growing.

Virgin Atlantic didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. The airline told BBC News that it made sure that workers who took redundancy were treated with fairness and compassion. It added that the process was lawful and went ahead after discussions with unions.

After cutting staff during the pandemic, airlines are now scrambling to fill the missing gaps in their labor force as summer travel demand soars. The lack of staff has resulted in lost luggage, flight disruptions, and mayhem in airports.

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