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What is the next step in the Virgin Blue makeover?

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needaholiday

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Now we have a frequent flyer programme, what are the next steps in gaining a greater share of the high margin business traveller?

* Revamped Blue rooms where you don't have to pay for stuff inside after paying to get in?

* Some better offering inflight - free food and drinks in the Blue Zone, perhaps a move towards a business class?

* Some system to reward the frequent business traveller akin to Status levels at QF?
 
G

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Well this is an easy one! Fire the people that came up with the finer details of Velocity and hire me.

In all seriousness it does not look like they are going after the hardcore career driven business professional with cash to burn. Their scheme appears to be aimed at ordinary people who are brainwashed into thinking VirginBlue has lower prices, offers a better product and treats passengers better. The family with 2.3 kids and the wannabe big time business traveller.

Velocity is offerring nothing new so _why should_ passengers be excited?
 

NM

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In my book, the only thing that is going to attract more high-margin business travel is to offer some benefits other that points to the highest yield regular fliers. QF does this through status levels offering benefits like premium desk telephone bookings and assistance, priority seating, priority checkin, priority baggage handling etc.

But these things all add cost and complexity to the program and that is not part of the DJ Velocity model so unlikely to happen.

I think the current program offers something extra for those already not tied to Qantas and I think it will help them retain the floaters. I also think the tie up with EK is a great coup by Virgin Blue and will bring them business as the preferred feed airline for EK's growing international operations.

Therefore I don't expect to see too much tweaking by either DJ nor QF until it all settles down (say 12 months at the ealiest). My opinion only.
 

oz_mark

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I have this suspicion that there may be some unpublished benefits as far as the really frequent travellers are concerned. They may offer them something behind the scenes, so to speak.

ALternatively, they are still toying with ideas in this area.

Not sure, but it seems such an obvious hole in the program that there must be something in the works for the real frequent flyers.
 

cpl

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d00t said:
In all seriousness it does not look like they are going after the hardcore career driven business professional with cash to burn. Their scheme appears to be aimed at ordinary people who are brainwashed into thinking VirginBlue has lower prices, offers a better product and treats passengers better. The family with 2.3 kids and the wannabe big time business traveller.
Well, in my experience VB domestic fares are often better than Q's and my budget sees $$$ not points etc. Flying a different airline at times is also good for competition reasons. And last but not least, domestic economy flights don't contribute much to renewing platinum anyway ;)
 

cpl

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oz_mark said:
I have this suspicion that there may be some unpublished benefits as far as the really frequent travellers are concerned. They may offer them something behind the scenes, so to speak.
The joining form asked for flyer status.... perhaps something like AA picking me up at the arrival gate at O'Hare and driving me to the baggage handling area? Really made a difference as my baggage only arrived on the next flight (but they didn't tell me) :evil:
 

oz_mark

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cpl said:
And last but not least, domestic economy flights don't contribute much to renewing platinum anyway ;)

For some of us, doemstic economy (and mostly discount domestic economy) is where nearly all the contribution to platinum status comes from.
 

bigjobs

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cpl wrote:
And last but not least, domestic economy flights don't contribute much to renewing platinum anyway
regarding discount economy flights and platinum status ... i can tell you that if you take enough of them you will get there.

it's kind of like drinking light beer ... if you drink enough of it, you will get there in the end - it might not be pleasant along the way but you get there in the end.
 

aus_flyer

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There are 60,000 QF platinums in Australia. I suspect a very high % would not get there if there were (hypothetically) no SCs on domestic.
 

NM

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odoherty said:
There are 60,000 QF platinums in Australia. I suspect a very high % would not get there if there were (hypothetically) no SCs on domestic.
I would ... but then again, I am atypical in most regards :p . I earned 60 SCs on domestic flights last year, being 3 x economy (K) class @ 20 SC each. The remainder of my 3700 SCs were on international tickets (some with domestic connecting sector).
 

oz_mark

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bigjobs said:
cpl wrote:
And last but not least, domestic economy flights don't contribute much to renewing platinum anyway
regarding discount economy flights and platinum status ... i can tell you that if you take enough of them you will get there.

it's kind of like drinking light beer ... if you drink enough of it, you will get there in the end - it might not be pleasant along the way but you get there in the end.
Or as someone once said, 'it won't happen overnight, but it will happen'
 

browski

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I think VB have made a good start -

A bold "Any Seat availability" policy announcement AND the "coup" with Emirates is fantastic - I don't think anyone can honestly say that they predicted that partnership.

Many QF members on this board need to remember that VB need to be encouraged - it will be the only way better benefits are forced onto the Qantas program - and I mean FORCED. I mean, can you imagine Qantas opening up more redemption seats WITHOUT competition.

Well, a tie-up with KrisFlyer, and Air NZ and MAS as well as Priority checkin counters - and the landscape will change plenty more.

I am going to fly VB this week, just to celebrate (OK, maybe Jetstar was the only other option from the Sunshine coast)
 

Yada Yada

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d00t said:
In all seriousness it does not look like they are going after the hardcore career driven business professional with cash to burn. Their scheme appears to be aimed at ordinary people who are brainwashed into thinking VirginBlue has lower prices, offers a better product and treats passengers better. The family with 2.3 kids and the wannabe big time business traveller.

Velocity is offerring nothing new so _why should_ passengers be excited?
Virgin Blue does have cheaper prices. I am a business traveller who purchases his own tickets on the web every two or three weeks. Virgin is generally cheaper than Qantas, has better seat availability, is on time more often, loads/unloads more quickly, and has better (newer) aircraft.

NM said:
In my book, the only thing that is going to attract more high-margin business travel is to offer some benefits other that points to the highest yield regular fliers. QF does this through status levels offering benefits like premium desk telephone bookings and assistance, priority seating, priority checkin, priority baggage handling etc.

I think the current program offers something extra for those already not tied to Qantas and I think it will help them retain the floaters. I also think the tie up with EK is a great coup by Virgin Blue and will bring them business as the preferred feed airline for EK's growing international operations.
I generally check-in at the QP when flying QF. The wait is not long. Whenever I fly DJ, the check-in takes about the same or quicker given that there seem to be more desks open, there are plenty of automatic terminals, and now there is web check-in (which I will try on Weds this week).

With regards to the partnership with EK, I would think that DJ may well install 3 or 4 rows of business class seats on their aircraft in the future. It would make a lot of sense to be able to offer this to their airline partners, and my impression is that their current loading would not be affected.
 
G

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Yada Yada said:
d00t said:
In all seriousness it does not look like they are going after the hardcore career driven business professional with cash to burn. Their scheme appears to be aimed at ordinary people who are brainwashed into thinking VirginBlue has lower prices, offers a better product and treats passengers better. The family with 2.3 kids and the wannabe big time business traveller.

Velocity is offerring nothing new so _why should_ passengers be excited?
Virgin Blue does have cheaper prices. I am a business traveller who purchases his own tickets on the web every two or three weeks. Virgin is generally cheaper than Qantas, has better seat availability, is on time more often, loads/unloads more quickly, and has better (newer) aircraft.

I'm a totally self-funded business traveller too, and I've found that there are certain timeframes where by if you are purchasing tickets in that qantas prices are rediculously high. The 6 day - 3.5 week area.

Price Justification on QF vs DJ
- Qantas have a better safety record ( +$1)
- Qantas Club access prior (+$3) or (+$20 after 1pm for booze)
- Priotiy Check in/very fast easy (+$2)
- Food inflight (+$5)
- Inflight entertainment + headphones (+$3)
- Points that I can use on 1st world airlines (+$1 - $5)
- Better pitch, far more legroom (+$3)
- Larger choice of aircraft (+$1)
- Ability for me to upgrade (+$5)
- Connections to intl flights (+$2 - $5) (cost of self-transport)

So, on a typical mel-syd flight at 3pm, connecting to say NRT later that day, virgin would need to be about $50 cheaper(ONE WAY) for me to CONSIDER flying them.

Don't get me wrong, qantas piss me off more than any nagging girlfriend/wife could, but sometimes logic needs to be applied instead of just flatout price competition.
 

NM

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As a Platinum FF with QF, there are some additional comments to your list:
d00t said:
So, on a typical mel-syd flight at 3pm, connecting to say NRT later that day, virgin would need to be about $50 cheaper(ONE WAY) for me to CONSIDER flying them.
Price Justification on QF vs DJ
- Qantas have a better safety record ( +$1)
I have no issue with DJ's safety record, so no extra value in my book
- Qantas Club access prior (+$3) or (+$20 after 1pm for booze)
I would still be using the Qantas Club anyway, so no difference to me
- Priotiy Check in/very fast easy (+$2)
agree
- Food inflight (+$5)
not really an issue for me for a 1 hour flight. Certainly for anything more tnough.
- Inflight entertainment + headphones (+$3)
not really an issue for me for a 1 hour flight. Certainly for anything more tnough.
- Points that I can use on 1st world airlines (+$1 - $5)
agree
- Better pitch, far more legroom (+$3)
only if you can are considering the better chance of scoring an exit row. Otherwise I think they are much the same pitch.
- Larger choice of aircraft (+$1)
agree
- Ability for me to upgrade (+$5)
agree
- Connections to intl flights (+$2 - $5) (cost of self-transport)
agree
 

Yada Yada

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d00t ~ I take your point. The value-add must be taken into consideration.

Given that most of my flying is domestic, and the short lead time I allow myself to book a ticket, DJ almost always works out to be better for me.

BTW, I'm not a self-funded business traveller - I just don't have a PA so I generally look after all my own domestic travel arrangements. But I am the GM of the small Aussie branch of a US company, so I can pick and choose who I fly with, when, and what I pay.
 

Yada Yada

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d00t said:
- Qantas have a better safety record ( +$1)
- Priotiy Check in/very fast easy (+$2)
- Better pitch, far more legroom (+$3)
At least on these points I think there is no difference. DJ has had no major safety incidents, check-in is fast and easy, and seat pitch on their 737s seems slightly better than on QF's 737s. We're only talking a few cm but it means my legs are not touching the seat in front.

Granted, the A330 is way more comfortable, and I'd take it any day to PER and back over a DJ 737! I generally fly over in economy and come back in a fully paid J seat so I can eat, drink and be merry before a cab ride home. :D But I get the impression I might be one of the few buying my seat on this flight - I often get the feeling that many of the others in J are QF staff. :roll:
 

knoxd

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I never pay for J on a any flight..
I usually fly Bidness anyway using my points..
out of the last 25 times i've flown, i reckon i have been at the pointy end 22 times..

and that includes a return trip to PER from MEL..

oh and I got my upgrade early from CHC to SYD.. went to checkmytrip.com
was on wait list for a couple of hours.. then J waitlist confirmed.. seat 1A

I do earn alot of my points from my CC.. so why not use them and get the bigger seat.. especially when i'm 6'2" and need a shoe horn to get out of a Y seat after a 2 or more hour flight..
 

Mal

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I booked a flight today that was 50% more expensive ($155 vs $101) if I flew Qantas over DJ.

Seeing I'm well over Plat re-qual for next year, I don't need to fly Qantas any more until my year is over. So have the choice.

$54 difference is enough to make me want to fly DJ this time. Plus, now that I get "Velocity" it makes it a little bit better!
 

QF WP

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Naaaah, none of those are the next step! Looks like the boardroom is the next step:

Profits may be grounded but that won't stop Virgin Blue's board seeking approval for a 33 per cent pay rise...

For those who can't access, I think it's important to read the article to understand the full message:

The AgeNewspaper said:
VIRGIN Blue is asking shareholders to approve a 33 per cent pay rise for what is arguably one of corporate Australia's more dysfunctional boards.

The airline, which has had a 33 per cent slump in full-year profits, has also managed to pay bonuses to some senior executives, its annual report shows.

The growing hostility between Patrick Corp boss and airline chairman Chris Corrigan and its 25.1 per cent owner Sir Richard Branson has not stopped the airline seeking to hike the remuneration pool for non-executive directors by $250,000 to $1 million a year.

In its annual meeting notice, Virgin Blue said it would enable "the board to attract and retain directors of a calibre appropriate to the needs of the company". Sir Richard has blamed Mr Corrigan for the airline's financial woes and lack of fuel hedging.

His two representatives on the board recently voted against a Patrick resolution to pay out $262 million in dividends from the airline's cash reserves, which was passed. Patrick raised concerns about leaks from the Virgin Blue boardroom.

Sir Richard has made a pact with Toll to retake control of the airline if the transport company's $4.6 billion takeover for Patrick succeeds.

The airline paid its senior executives $233,250 in short-term cash bonuses, $60,523 in share bonuses and $2.74 million in options over the 18 months to September 30.

Virgin chief executive Brett Godfrey received no bonus. But according to the airline's annual report, he appears to have secured a hefty lift in base pay. From earning $333,623 in the 12 months to March 31, 2004, Mr Godfrey's base pay for the 18 months to September 30 was $655,140.

Mr Godfrey, whose stake in Virgin Blue is worth $44.3 million, also received $3.64 million in options for the 18 months to September 30.

Virgin Blue shareholders will vote on the directors' pay rise at the annual meeting on February 7 in Brisbane. Virgin Blue shares fell 1.5¢ to $1.57 yesterday. They listed at $2.25 two years ago.
 
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