Virgin seem to be getting everything right

Discussion in 'Virgin Australia Velocity' started by trippin_the_rift, Mar 26, 2012.

  1. trippin_the_rift

    trippin_the_rift Established Member

    Apr 2, 2006
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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 - we have no IFE to thank for this post :cool:

    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:evil::cool::p

    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.
     
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  2. koonyaflyer

    koonyaflyer Member

    Jun 29, 2010
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    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!
     
  3. TheInsider

    TheInsider Established Member

    Jul 7, 2010
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    Well that doesn't seem good for a business then.
     
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  4. trippin_the_rift

    trippin_the_rift Established Member

    Apr 2, 2006
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    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...
     
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  5. muppet

    muppet Active Member

    Jun 19, 2010
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    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.
     


  6. TonyHancock

    TonyHancock Senior Member

    Aug 26, 2010
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    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.
     
  7. virginconvert

    virginconvert Junior Member

    Jan 15, 2012
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    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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  8. eastwest101

    eastwest101 Established Member

    Oct 26, 2010
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    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.
     
  9. Daggs01

    Daggs01 Member

    Oct 4, 2011
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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
     
  10. eastwest101

    eastwest101 Established Member

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    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.
     
  11. swanning_it

    swanning_it Senior Member

    Feb 13, 2011
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    Had 2D and 2F (with a shaddow in 2E thanks to a lovely SYD angel) on a 700 last Saturday (SYD-OOL) on a happy hour fare. They're selling them alright, just as a standard Y seat (with a nice bit of extra leg room).

    They aren't selling J seats that fly into ports that don't have J on offer, but I'm assuming they'll sell the 700 PE seats though as Y on those routes.
     
  12. Moopere

    Moopere Established Member

    Feb 10, 2010
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    Excellent post! You've covered it all, I agree completely. Lateral thinking creates business opportunity and if your plan is sound profits flow.
     
  13. Moopere

    Moopere Established Member

    Feb 10, 2010
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    They are undercutting ... at least this is my experience on the PER-MEL route. QF = $3100 (ish) and DJ = $2600 (ish) $500 difference is pretty high.

    However, both offerings, QF and DJ, are insufficient to really be asking that sort of money. Aside from the occasional route using the A330 or the (now retired??) 747, theres no consistently routed aircraft with sufficiently good seatmapping to honestly charge that sort of money in my view.

    Drop the pricing to <$2K and PER-MEL or PER-SYD, and commensurately lower for the shorter hops, and I think you'd have no trouble filling the seats. However, as trippin_the_rift alludes to, am I agree, the purpose of the J seating is not necessarily to fill every seat for every flight. Lovely, sure, if you can do it, but in many ways the availability is aspirational and I think it adds vast sums of cash from elsewhere in the business simply by being there, available and at a high standard.

    Even if they never sold a single J seat for cash, used them only to burn off FF points, it would be a good move in my opinion. They get paid for the liability of holding FF points, and the challenge is to get your customers to burn through them in a way that creates overall satisfaction with the scheme and the airline.
     
  14. pauly7

    pauly7 Established Member

    Dec 8, 2004
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    Agreed but have seen a bit of undercutting by DJ here and there though.

    Sales of J have been very weak for them though and id expect further comp pricing, double sc etc to try and build it up for the long haul.
     
  15. markis10

    markis10 Veteran Member

    Nov 25, 2004
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    That would be fair enough if true, however DJ launched J with fares that were 25% below QF, and QF responded.
     
  16. MarkD

    MarkD Established Member

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    Why would you want them to undercut? Their prices are set lower than qantas already. If you can afford a premium fare then it's acceptable, if you can't then there are various levels of y with restrictions varying with price.
    Undercutting gets nobody any results in the long term, as someone will fold
     
  17. simongr

    simongr Enthusiast

    Jul 10, 2006
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    So no IFE, inability to select seat on booking, no food as standard, boarding with no aerobridge (which I know is rare but is my experience) are all better experiences than QF? Oh and the MEL DJ terminal is a craphole.

    Personally since the introduction of PB on QF (which is getting there but for some reason is not yet consistent) I do not see any compelling reason to switch to DJ/VA.

    I have been travelling 1 to 2 weekly to MEL form SYD this year so the journey is just a bus ride. The FAs have been fine and I am not sure how much more I would want them to do - I ask for an extra dirnk - I get one. That is about the interaction I want and need on a 65 minute flight.
     
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  18. TonyHancock

    TonyHancock Senior Member

    Aug 26, 2010
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    Fair arguments, and I think there is someway to go at DJ/VA. I take my own IFE...even on long haul trips, I only ever book flexi fares so food is not an issue...in fact I'm quite partial to the Luke Mangan New Yorker sandwich. I'm in full agreement on the seat selection and to a certain extent with you on the MEL terminal.

    What I do like is priority boarding which QF seems unable to provide for me. I know some people have experienced it but it is so hit and miss I won't risk it unless forced to through circumstances beyond my control. I like being able to place my luggage in the overhead locker above my seat..something that rarely happens with QF (domestic). I also like being allocated seat 3C automatically....I like the four complimentary upgrades, and the opportunity to "fly ahead".

    I particularly like the attitude of staff in the lounges, on the platinum call centre desk, and on board the aircraft. So for me I believe I am getting a better experience with DJ than I do with QF.

    My flying patterns are a little different to yours though, I'm not doing the weekly grind.
     
  19. pat25d

    pat25d Member

    Oct 12, 2011
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    I fully agree.

    Flew our (hopefully) last flights with QF last weekend, Domestic + Y, and I just felt like I wasn't valued as a customer. I got better service from the staff in the VA lounge even when telling them I was flying with QF.

    Huge assumptions about to be made, but I think Virgin is doing a great job of targeting my fellow Gen Ys who are soon going to be the decision makers and money spenders.

    Get with the times QF.
     
  20. markis10

    markis10 Veteran Member

    Nov 25, 2004
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    To say no IFE is inaccurate and misleading, all A330s and most of the 737s have IFE, in fact the chance of getting IFE is higher on a DJ flight number than a QF flight number domestically, even if we exclude the JQ code shares, especially in QLD, not that you would be affected by that as a Sydney Melbourne commuter! Neither would you be affected by the lack of aero bridges either, given DJ don't own the terminals they fly to but still wish to service the ports QF have abandoned, I would take a walk in the rain over a JQ flight anyday!
     

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