What happened to Virgin?

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Yada Yada

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Hi forum,

It's been a long time since I last posted... about 4 years. After nearly burning out in my last job, which involved flying at least once a week and often more, I quit and took a few months off. The new job I took on required no travel... bliss! Until now.

I was asked to travel to our company's US office to help start a project and it had to be before Xmas because of some prior commitments I have in January. So when tickets were booked just days ahead and with the return flights just a few days before Xmas, few options were available at a reasonable price. Best I could get was premium economy for the main flight SYD-LAX and the rest including the return from LAX was all in regular economy. QF wanted top price so we went with Virgin.

Those who have been on these forums for some time will remember me being an advocate for Virgin Blue. I always found their service great - the cabin crew happy, friendly, relaxed yet professional, the paid-for food a lot better quality than the 'free' meals on QF, the seat pitch a bit better, and fast load/unloading through both doors made life easy. By comparison I found QF staff generally unhappy looking and grumpy, stuffy, and the food and plane interiors wanting. For the business and first class flights QF was always good, no complaints. In Y, DJ in my opinion was way better.

So to the point of my post... what's happened to VA/DJ? They've morphed into QF! On both international and domestic flights I found the crew to be somewhat curt, never smiling unless talking amongst themselves, and a few had the trademark cat's-bum mouth I used to see on QF. They were not friendly and made me feel like they were doing me a big favour when I asked for something. Did this come with the new stuffy-looking uniforms?

If this is what JB has brought to the company I don't like it. I'm happy that they are competing with QF by providing business class and now have more tie-ins with other airlines. But to change the crew culture so much has thrown away a key differentiating factor that is part of the Virgin brand. Surely RB cannot like this? If VA/DJ is identical to QF then I don't really care who I fly with.
 

serfty

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Welcome back :D

I am thinking what you experienced is what I suspect can happen on any airline, especially long haul. Some service is great with enthusiastic FA's, some taken the same route and carrier on another day my be indifferent.

Those who may travel on one or twice a decade only need one poor experience to have them aver they'll never fly ** again, yet those who travel often come to the realisation that it's often hit and miss.

In other words I am not sure 'anything' has really happened to Virgin, it's just you had a coupe of off flights.
 

kpc

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Just wanted to also say welcome back:)
 

Bundy Bear

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Another welcome back.

Virgin is a lot of areas has improved, the lounges are on par with Qantas lounge, sometimes the onboard experience can be better than Qantas but other times it is not, usually I find Virgin are cheaper especially in the premium cabins so I don't expect the same service as Qantas both airlines can have off days.

I am thankfully for Virgin in improving their service as it means that it keeps Qantas on their toes.

I had wondered where you got to as I seem to remember you on the Embraer launch flight to Cairns, all those original E170s have gone so things do change and you always hope for the best, Qantas favourite term enhancement.
 

mella2007

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Welcome back also.

I am another Virgin advocate and have really enjoyed the improvements they have made, and the ongoing changes they are planning on implement. I have had some coughpy sectors with VA, especially this year..however I am prepared to be patient for the little mishaps and find their customer service department with any issues very helpful
 

JohnK

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Welcome back Yada Yada! It has been a long time.

Isn't there a saying that in order to be better than your competition you need to do things the same? Personally I think Virgin is still way behind but my opinion does not really matter.
 
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Yada Yada

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Thanks for the welcome guys. :)

@serfty - I guess you may be right, 3 flights is a small sample. Although it felt like a distinct change in culture, right through to the way the announcements were made.

@kpc - thanks! You're at plat on DJ as well as QF! Well done.

@bundy bear - the Embraer launch flight was fun! Took a day off work for a jaunt to Cairns & back. That was courtesy of CrazyDave98 who I see has moved to QF now. Lucky for QF!

@mella2007 - I've always got time for Virgin because even after AN collapsed, they did not put prices up but continued to compete. If they'd not done that we'd be back in the bad old duopoly days. The BNE-SYD flight was on one of the upgraded 737-800's with a business class section and I see they've copied VX style by using the purple perspex dividers although there was no IFE throughout the cabin! What happened to Foxtel? VX provides the same IFE system as VA and it's free for all pax.

@JohnK - hey! good to hear from you. Of course your opinion matters, you're plat on both QF and VA! Hope the travel is going smoothly and that you avoid recliners. I had one in front on LAX-BNE that reclined during meals! And the 777 has no air vent in Y that I could deploy. :)
 

markis10

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BNE-SYD flight was on one of the upgraded 737-800's with a business class section and I see they've copied VX style by using the purple perspex dividers although there was no IFE throughout the cabin! What happened to Foxtel? VX provides the same IFE system as VA and it's free for all pax.


Row 3 never has screens now even if live to air is equipped on the plane, Galaxy Tabs are offered if the crew are on the ball, the newer aircraft have streaming content to your own device.
 

Justinf

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IMO it got better from what it was. "If you get caught smoking you will made to step outside and sit on the wing" "Flight attendants please be seated for blast off" etc.
The VA I fly now is infintely better than the VB of years ago.
Comparing it to the opposition is a totally different matter, but I think they have improved markedly.
 

QF WP

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Yada Yada, wow now there's a name from the past :D. Good to have you back.

As an original QFF loyalist, I have also finally seen the light and am 105 SC's short of Plat.

As others have said, perhaps not a sizable sample as well as being long haul and not short.
 
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