New York, NY - When the volcanic eruptions in Iceland forced British airlines to ground many of their aircraft at various American airports until the skies cleared, American airline operators saw an opportunity to take advantage of the situation: they started using British jets for their trans-continental flights from NY to LA, as well as other routes.
Dingus Stirling, a spokesperson for one of the British airlines has confirmed this. "While the cat was away, the rats were out and about, I'm afraid. We didn't discover what was going on until the day the flight ban lifted and we went to ready one of our Boeing 747-400's for a trans-Atlantic trip and it was missing! We originally thought it had been sent for routine maintenance during the down-time, but it wasn't in any of the hangars either. We were stymied."
"And then, about 4:32 that afternoon, pretty as you please, in taxies our aircraft back at the gate with an American pilot at the wheel. Busted! As they say in America, and bloody well good for the blokes who took the plane. We've since reported this to the proper authorities."
Although British lawyers are refusing to say whether or not they are considering filing a lawsuit against the US operators, there are rumors that the Brits, though angry, do understand the reasons for the US airlines' actions.
"Consider a hapless chap who owns a 20-year old Mini in sorry shape and then, for one or two days, has the opportunity to drive a shiny new BMW. That's precisely what happened in this case. US operators are in the process of purchasing new aircraft but, in the meantime, their pilots are required to fly around in the old pieces of flim-flam. When our lovely, nicely-appointed jets were just sitting there with brand new released movies in the queue, I assume someone fancied taking one for a spin and others just followed suit."
The American airlines have offered to recompense for the airtime it stole, but the Brits aren't sure how to calculate that. Said Stirling, "I think just the fact that those pilots got a taste of what it was like to fly one of our superior aircraft and then had to go back to flying one of their planes, well, that's punishment enough, eh mate? The only thing we may charge them for is the champagne, caviar, and fancy nuts they voraciously helped themselves and their passengers to. We certainly do consider that theft."