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Lately I've found myself with a lot of free time on DJ flights to do nothing except think about what actually matters to me as a frequent business traveller - ...
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  1. #1
    Established Member trippin_the_rift's Avatar
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    Virgin seem to be getting everything right

    Lately I've found myself with a lot of free time on DJ flights to do nothing except think about what actually matters to me as a frequent business traveller - we have no IFE to thank for this post

    What annoys me about most domestic travel is that it really does have the rat race type feel. You see 200 other people lining up, you see those same 200 people slowly put their things into lockers and the entire process is depressing and very draining when you're doing it 100+ times/year.

    Priority boarding on 100% of my Virgin flights has been flawless and TOTALLY perfect....except the time another AFF'er was infront of me and I had to wait for 4 seconds while they were personally welcomed onboard

    Split boarding is one key here. I've never waited to board the aircraft - no aerobridge wait time - ever. Straight on, straight to my seat and ALWAYS (100% sucess rate) a personalised greeting at my seat before take off.

    Business cabins are never at capacity and last week I was the only person in business and was greeted over the PA as "our customer in business". Everytime other pax have been in business, they've been seated in their own corner (shadow perhaps?).

    The whole Virgin flow from check in to de-boarding has moments of a private jet experience. Speed, recognition, privacy and very very warm service. The best comparision I have is QF F.

    If this is what Virgin mean by `putting the magic back in flying` - I'm sold. It really does feel that way.

    In my mind Virgin have effectively created a new market by changing the value curve of short haul domestic travel, whereby for the first time ever I'm openingly willing to (and do now) pay for full price business tickets.

    Congrats Virgin - I think you're doing a wonderful job of being fabulous.
    edison, drewbles, medhead and 5 others like this.

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  3. #2
    Member koonyaflyer's Avatar
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    Re: Virgin seem to be getting everything right

    Hear hear! Flew a non Virgin domestic flight for the first time in 12 months last Friday. Won't make that mistake again!

    Very happy with Virgin!

  4. #3
    Established Member TheInsider's Avatar
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    Re: Virgin seem to be getting everything right

    Quote Originally Posted by trippin_the_rift View Post
    Business cabins are never at capacity and last week I was the only person in business and was greeted over the PA as "our customer in business". Everytime other pax have been in business, they've been seated in their own corner (shadow perhaps?).
    Well that doesn't seem good for a business then.
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  6. #4
    Established Member trippin_the_rift's Avatar
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    Re: Virgin seem to be getting everything right

    Quote Originally Posted by TheInsider View Post
    Well that doesn't seem good for a business then.
    You're right it's not good. It's GREAT.

    Why is it great? It makes me happy, therefore when I switch my CC points over to Virgin - BAM - thats MILLIONS of points annually going to Virgins pockets, I start raving more about the airline to my friends and family - they start flying/spending with DJ, I'll start using a Virgin branded credit card....the list goes on and on...

    This is the entire point big business DOES NOT UNDERSTAND, and is ONE OF THE KEY reasons why they FAIL TO ADAPT. It is also one of the reasons they need to grow through acquisition or copy the competition rather than innovating their new revenue streams.

    Important Note: Airlines thse days do NOT make money from (standard) seat ticket sales. Most people - including travel agents and airline employees DO NOT understand this. The reason the overall business works is because of a series of gaming mechanics deployed on separate areas of the business. It is designed to suck you in through one area (eg: cheap seats), and get you hooked on another area (points). Another example is cheap seats, but you see advertising - are sold lottery tickets onboard - full skin advertising on side of aircraft - drink/meal sales - being nickle and dimed on every aspect of your 'cheap flight'. Customers put a real value on points and the cycle continues forever. As an additional example, if QF removes F entirely from their offerring - suddenly QF points become far less valuable/desirable and therefore people fly less, spend less (credited to QF), care less and actively look for a better alternative where their perceived value of the point is higher.

    So to address your original statement again - not being at capacity is a VERY GOOD THING.
    Then again, I could be wrong.... all those bankrupt north american airlines clearly have it right by filling forward seats...
    TonyHancock likes this.

  7. #5
    Member muppet's Avatar
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    Re: Virgin seem to be getting everything right

    Quote Originally Posted by TheInsider View Post
    Well that doesn't seem good for a business then.
    I agree TheInsider, I'm concerned as a) a shareholder and b) passenger - if they aren't paid for, they'll disappear and I can't upgrade or pay J for holidays.

    However, VA have a much lower cost base, 12 more seats on their 737s than QF, as well as a much smaller and fit for purpose fleet overall. They have successfully moved many pax to higher yielding fares (due to status matches, bonus credits etc.).

    To the OP - totally agree. I find the J class service so much better than the competitor as well as price competitive. I love the Embraer even though it's not proper seats - love two tables. Meals are great. Priority boarding works. Also as a plat at DJ I feel like we're top dogs at the moment (compared to WP1 and CL on QF).

    m.

  8. #6
    Established Member TonyHancock's Avatar
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    Re: Virgin seem to be getting everything right

    I'm a convert...well certainly to the domestic offering. For the first time in many years I'm enjoying domestic travel. The customer service has been exceptional, and continuous improvement seems to be etched into every employee I meet. Priority boarding works and gives me a little more lounge time. I have no interest in IFE because I bring my own.

    Apart from flights required for international connections I choose VA/DJ for my domestic travel.

    International travel is a different story though. The ad hoc relationships are OK but I need more certainty when I am traveling long haul frequently. Codeshares with Etihad are alright but I had my seat selection changed on me two out of four times, and as a creature of habit I am able to select seat 12E on the A380 consistently with QF. Being part of a "proper" alliance would certainly sway me more towards VA/DJ.

    There are things that are just not as good as QF and the website is one, the VA/DJ site is just too clunky. Points also seem to take a little longer to post too.

    Overall though I think that the little things that don't work so well will get fixed...that is the attitude I see at VA/DJ.

  9. #7
    Junior Member virginconvert's Avatar
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    Re: Virgin seem to be getting everything right

    Could not agree more. After years of boorish service from the Qantas Dragons, what a delight it is to board a Virgin aircraft and be warmly greeted with:

    "Good Evening and welcome onboard Mr Virginconvert, we have been expecting you"

    Service in Business Class has been flawless. Was flying ADL-SYD a couple of days ago and had the Business Cabin to myself. Yoey (CSM) and Kirsty were outstanding!

    Many thanks Virgin...
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  11. #8
    Established Member eastwest101's Avatar
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    Re: Virgin seem to be getting everything right

    While I give full credit to VA and their re-launched brand, overall good customer service etc etc - there have been a few bugs and poor choices. The few that stick in my mind are 737-700's flying around with totally available unsold PE seats - FFS either sell them or rip them out! And they really screwed up the IFE going from a market leading offering IFE to a LCC/no solution.

    Others comments about about empty J cabins rings true with me - I fly a lot of Y QF and VA, but do notice that I have never seen a full VA J cabin and very rarely seen J better than 50% full and quite often a totally empty J cabin when J seats were available for sale. Who knows - maybe people are still deciding and have a foot in each camp but its a bit of a worry to me if I was a VA shareholder.

    But I agree - they are on the right track and are improving generally.

  12. #9
    Member Daggs01's Avatar
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    A little bit of tinkering is needed on the J offering. Perhaps a smaller price tag may just entice people across.

    Sent from my GT-I9100 using AustFreqFly

  13. #10
    Established Member eastwest101's Avatar
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    Re: Virgin seem to be getting everything right

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daggs01 View Post
    A little bit of tinkering is needed on the J offering. Perhaps a smaller price tag may just entice people across.
    Daggs01 may be on the money here - just matching QF's J fares is not enough to dislodge regular J customers from QF - you really need to undercut - so that self funded flyers AND corporate travel agents look at the price difference and can't justify paying the price differential any more.

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