View Full Version : Virgin Blue far from blue!

2nd Aug 2005, 04:41
Virgin Blue's 50th “Next-Generation” Boeing 737 aircraft, painted in a special “true blue” livery, has arrived at Brisbane Airport, complete with 5687 names inscribed on its overhead lockers – the name of everyone who has ever worked for the airline.

The carrier, which has transformed itself in five years from a two-plane minnow into a national trunk-route carrier with a staff of nearly 3800 people, is also rejoicing over its performance in a recent survey conducted by Choice magazine.

Choice, the highly regarded, indpendent magazine of the Australian Consumers Association, surveyed subscribers who had taken at least one domestic flight within the previous 12 months. The reason: to gain their verdict on the major domestic airlines for publication. Choice received over 500 responses, rating various categories: convenience of flight departure (both time and day); check-in procedure; punctual departure; seat location; seat comfort; legroom; food; inflight service; entertainment; cleanliness; toilet facilities; punctual arrival; baggage handling and value for money.

The magazine, which does not accept advertising, then ranked consumer satisfaction in a table, showing the scores for Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Blue. Choice declined to include Rex in specific categories because the magazine considered it had not received enough responses regarding Rex flights.

Virgin Blue beat Qantas and Jetstar in every category except in-flight entertainment, which Qantas won. (Qantas, as it happens, is the only one of the three airlines to provide free headsets.) Choice noted that in some categories, namely food, in-flight service, entertainment and toilet facilities, not all respondents had supplied a rating, “probably because not everyone bought food, used an entertainment option or visited the toilet during the flight”.

Respondents raised some airline-specific gripes. They like to have their seats allocated (so Jetstar's seating policy was unpopular) and they didn't like Jetstar's policy of closing check-in 30 minutes before departure. Qantas was criticised for making its frequent-flyer points difficult to use. Virgin Blue was popular overall, with its staff's approach to customer service generally well received, although some respondents found the approach a little too “cute” and more suited to the younger market.

Choice found (unsurprisingly) that much-touted cheap fares are in fact available on a “relatively limited basis” – though exactly how many remains unknown, being regarded as “commercial in confidence”. For one Saturday morning flight, Choice found a price difference of $278 between the cheapest and most expensive Qantas online economy fares between Sydney and Melbourne. Flying Virgin Blue the price varied by $190, while Jetstar had a $154 difference between its two fares.

The magazine priced a specific return trip four weeks before departure and found a saving of just $50 between the cheapest fares offered by the three major domestic airlines.

Rex was the most popular airline overall. Survey respondents' overall rating, based on their experience with the airlines over the previous 12 months and expressed as a percentage, was as follows: Rex 71% (44 respondents); Virgin Blue 68% (276 respondents); Qantas 67 (373 respondents) and Jetstar 47 (106 respondents).

Most respondents were aged 35 and over and 59% were male. About 40% lived in either Sydney or Melbourne, with the trip between these cities being the most common route flown. Almost two thirds had flown for private reasons and one third were on business trips (more for Qantas). Around two thirds of trips (fewer for Qantas) were booked over the internet.

2nd Aug 2005, 09:17
Well, I'll be buggered. !!!

L G Cooper
2nd Aug 2005, 10:50
I would suggest that 500 travellers as a proportion of the total number of people that would have travelled over the previous 12 months on all three carriers would hardly a reasonable sample space make! Lies damn lies and.....

If the company is only just hitting 3800 employees and they've had almost 5700 people work for them in the past 5 years, this would suggest a fairly excessive staff turnover rate. Wouldn't this indicate that quite a few were blue enough to flip the company off?

What's the point of this thread anyway?