Fresh after British Airways infuriated Wales fans by wishing England ‘good luck’, another airline has followed suit with a rugby-related Twitter blunder. Yesterday British Airways – an England Rugby sponsor – was forced to apologise after wishing Eddie Jones’ men good luck against Wales in the Autumn Nations Cup. Plenty of Welsh fans took exception, many of whom pointed out that as BA is the UK’s national carrier and also represents Wales.


That Tweet was taken down and a spokesperson for British Airways said that they had ‘unintentionally strayed offside’.

Now Virgin Atlantic have put their foot in it, by insinuating that Ireland is ‘British’. However, they appear to be sticking to their guns on Tweet. The airline Tweeted: “Good luck to England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales in the rugby this weekend. Nothing beats a bit of healthy competition. #British ”

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Apart from the fact Scotland aren’t playing this weekend, many Irish fans were quick to point out that Ireland isn’t British.


Their upset at the Tweet then kicked off a debate around whether the term ‘British’ is a geographic rather than a strictly political designation. Others pointed out that Northern Ireland, which is part of Ireland in rugby terms, but separate from the Republic of Ireland in political terms, is politically British.

“For those that keep saying Ireland isn’t British, it is. Ireland is not part of the United Kingdom, which isn’t what Atlantic said and Ireland is not apart of Great Britain which Atlantic also didn’t say. Britain is incorrectly used as a political term, it is purely geographical.”


The Virgin Atlantic tweet was meant as a witty repost to the British Airways social media fumble, but it seems they managed to side-step straight into their own political quagmire. While they are standing by the Tweet, it’s not entirely clear if the use of the term Ireland and British together was deliberately to troll rugby fans, as opposed to just British Airways. It seems unlikely.

Who knew wishing rugby fans good luck was such a tricky business?

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