At the risk of turning into Tyler ‘Creme’ Brulee, this is a bit of an airline rant. I’ve been spending a lot of time on Virgin Atlantic over the last year or so. I”ve also been travelling with Virgin America with greater frequency. And whereas the latter has become an experience I look forward to, I’m increasingly dreading my transatlantic flights more and more. Richard, I think it’s time we had a bit of a chat.
1. Remember who you are
Once upon a time, Virgin Atlantic’s was the airline to fly for their entertainment system alone. From what I can tell, it hasn’t really changed much in the last ten years. Dull screens, godawful sound yet not actually a terrible content selection. You have an opportunity to completely reinvent the in-flight entertainment experience here and own it for the next decade. What are you waiting for?
2. Remember who your customers are
Your customers have changed. They want USB ports in their seats. They’re quite happy to bring their own headphones. Particularly if you re-allocate that cost to USB ports. Oh, and fix the volume problem which deafens everyone who does actually use their own headphones, when you make an announcement.
Probably the most oft-requested in-flight service. I understand it’s not cheap but surely it’s possibly when the aircraft is over mainland US (same coverage as Virgin America)? Surely the conversion rate on a normal load factor (all classes) would make this a significant revenue generator?
4. Hire somebody who actually gives a shit
You can tell when a company has a dedicated person to care about the quality of customer experience. They have little things like a water-holder in economy (Virgin America), live TV for frequently fliers who exhaust the onboard film inventory (Virgin America) and a fix for the ear-popping PA when you use your own headphones (Virgin America).
“Because the streets is a short stop-either you slingin’ crack rock or you got a wicked jump-shot” -Biggie Smalls
At this exact moment Virgin Atlantic must decide whether they sink into further mediocrity or follow the route their American sister has successfully taken. BA is increasingly biting at their heels (I’ve continued to be impressed at their efforts). Paging passenger Branson.