You'd think after U2 frontman Bono got into hot water when pictures of him cavorting with bikini-clad girls ended up on Facebook, social networkers would be careful about what they post online. Well not when it comes to airline and airport staff.

Virgin Atlantic has sacked 13 employees after it emerged they had posted negative comments about the airline and its passengers on Facebook. Meanwhile British Airways (BA) is launching an investigation into online rants about Heathrow's Terminal 5 by London Gatwick employees.

Dozy Virgin Atlantic staff used a Facebook group to brand the airline's passengers 'chavs' and well as alleging aircraft were infested by cockroaches and that jet engines were replaced four times in one year. However, when the airline became aware of the online discussions, it launched an official investigation, which has resulted in termination of employment for 13 members of staff.

"Following a thorough investigation, it was found that all 13 staff participated in a discussion on the networking site Facebook, which brought the company into disrepute and insulted some of our passengers," said Virgin Atlantic.

A spokesman for the told the Telegraph:" We have numerous internal channels for our staff to feed back legitimate and appropriate issues relating to the company. There is no justification for it to be used as a sounding board for staff of any company to criticise the very passengers who ultimately pay their salaries."

Meanwhile BA is investigating a Facebook group set up by 'London Gatwick Ground Staff', which describes Heathrow's Terminal 5 as a "shambolic" and labels passengers "smelly and annoying" and slams "stupid American accents".

A spokesman said: "We will be talking to the individuals concerned about their disappointing and unwise comments, which are totally unrepresentative of the vast number of hard working groundstaff we employ at Gatwick."

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