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#936662 by s2driveruk
17 Jul 2017, 10:14
Interested to get people's views on Virgin 'doing a BA' with their economy product.

Is providing more flexibility by providing bare-bones fares then choosing what bits you want to add back, at cost such as meals or drinks, seat selection costs etc. Is that innovation that would keep you VS friendly or do you see it as a major dilution of the brand/experience and full of the issues which you consistently see BA accused of under the direction of Mr Cruze?

Ladies & gentlemen, the floor is yours.... ;)
#936665 by SlimpyJones
17 Jul 2017, 10:55
I don't think I'd see it either a positive or negative light. I'd just be more confused as I don't see a reason why they would need to offer basic fares.

VS' target market is the long haul business traveller. Their main competitors are BA, AA & UA. They don't serve any short haul or intra-Europe flights that would justify hand-baggage only fares and probably don't see the LCCs (Norwegian, etc) as enough of a threat on the few long haul routes that they share, unlike BA who seem to be having kittens over them.

I imagine my reaction would be "Oh, really? Okay then". Would it put me off VS? Nah.
#936667 by gumshoe
17 Jul 2017, 11:44
VS would be unwise not to treat Norwegian as a threat.

Norwegian are aggressively expanding their LGW Transatlantic operation with (for now) newer aircraft, cheaper fares and what's generally perceived to be a better PE product with lounge access and considerably better legroom.

Norwegian also have a very extensive short-haul network at LGW which can provide the feeder traffic VS lacks.

There's a reason BA are worried about Norwegian. VS should be even more worried. So in answer to the OP's question, yes I think VS will eventually adopt the LCC pricing model. If, as is rumoured, BA decide to extend buy-on-board to long-haul economy you can be sure VS won't be far behind.
#936668 by PaulS
17 Jul 2017, 11:57
I remember flying on Freddie Lakers Skytrain which blazed the trail for VS. There fare structure was as basic as it could be. I remember that at that time 1982 £247 was an expensive economy ticket so I packed my own sandwiches and enjoyed the flight. It wouldn't be th e end of the world if through competition airlines offered a basic get you there price which you could then build up to suit. After all the "Boots" meal deal is often better that what's served in economy anyway.
#936669 by Traveller2
17 Jul 2017, 12:13
If anyone is interested, if you go onto the Air Travel forum on Trip Advisor, there is a relatively new post (written on the 15th) on there titled "Norwegian's disasterous financial report" ...or something similar. It might be worth reading?
#936671 by Joshl257
17 Jul 2017, 16:22
Hi all

My view is simply this with Virgin you know for the most part what you are getting for the money. Norwegian Long Hall, Thomson and Thomas Cook all have trade offs in some way shape of form. Hidden charges is one of them and secondary airports is another. If we use Thomson as a example they fly into Orlando Sanford as opposed to Orlando International. I have flown though both and although Sanford is better for getting through immigration Orlando International is a shorter drive to our house in Florida. So you are paying for convenience with Virgin on most routes.
Another is earning and spending miles with Virgin and it's partners, not all low cost airlines have a frequent-flier program so that something to consider if you travel frequently. In regards to innovation Virgin spend when they need to the recent £30 million spent on the A330 cabin upgrades is a obvious example of this.

If Virgin want to be more profitable long term they need to move to a single fleet type Boeing 787 or Airbus A350. Having a mixed fleet of under 40 aircraft is inefficient. Big cost savings could be made on spare parts, engines, maintenance, crew training and pilot training. I believe Delta would prefer Virgin to be a all A350 operator as Delta have 25 aircraft on order with Airbus. Given how both are sharing resources in recent years I wouldn't be surprised to see that happen.
#936672 by mikethe3rd
17 Jul 2017, 18:57
I also had a 40-minute call with PlaneTalk yesterday and therefore assuming why this thread has appeared. My questions were based on the Norwegian model rather than BA.

24 hours later and my initial thoughts haven't really changed. Virgin Atlantic is an incredibly strong brand for an incredibly small airline. I still think there's room for a point of difference in the marketplace and believe Virgin could become a favourite airline of many with a minor investment across all cabins. I really am talking minor. I also believe that the general public deserves slightly more respect and that many aren't phased by headline fares.
#936675 by Smid
18 Jul 2017, 11:16
There does seem to be doubts about the long term sustainability of the Norwegian model, it does seem to be grabbing a whole selection of new routes... Are they any other long haul low costers to compare with?
#936694 by VS075
19 Jul 2017, 12:46
Smid wrote:There does seem to be doubts about the long term sustainability of the Norwegian model, it does seem to be grabbing a whole selection of new routes... Are they any other long haul low costers to compare with?


Level is a Norwegian-style equivalent. They are IAG's new low-cost long-haul airline that started ops out of Barcelona earlier this year and go head-to-head with Norwegian out of BCN. I believe Air France are also launching a low-cost long-haul airline very soon.

Traveller2 wrote:If anyone is interested, if you go onto the Air Travel forum on Trip Advisor, there is a relatively new post (written on the 15th) on there titled "Norwegian's disasterous financial report" ...or something similar. It might be worth reading?


Here's one article: https://leehamnews.com/2017/07/12/is-no ... n-trouble/

Interesting reading indeed.

Putting Norwegian's finances aside for one minute, I think it would be irresponsible to dismiss Norwegian as a threat to VS. They're growing at a rate of knots out of LGW, they already compete on the MCO route and indirectly on other routes such as New York. As soon as they can acquire more aircraft, I believe it's only a matter of time before they start long-haul routes out of MAN where VS and Thomas Cook have been growing in recent years.

Don't forget they are taking delivery of 737 MAX-8's which are capable of doing UK-US East Coast routes non-stop and are told are perfectly viable to use on long routes, as well as having A321neoLR's on order (bigger still and are being pitched to airlines as replacements for 757's on longer routes such as how AA, United and Delta use them on TATL routes). The use of A321neoLR's may end up being more viable to use on routes such as MAN-JFK during the winter months than a widebody, and part of me wonders if the lack of 757-sized aircraft is one factor behind that route's frequency cuts with VS this winter?

If there is a seismic shift in trade towards Norwegian and it hits revenue, then the likes of VS may be pushed into reconsidering their product offerings in much the same way that legacy flag carriers have done in response to the growth of LCC's such as Ryanair and easyJet (plus Wizz and Norwegian amongst other smaller players) on short-haul routes.

Short-haul flying attitudes have changed thanks to LCC's. Given Norwegian's success to date, I can't see why it won't be the same to an extent with long-haul, particularly amongst folk who still want to go the USA despite the weak pound vs the dollar and will look to the likes of Norwegian to see if they can make the sums work.

PaulS wrote:I remember flying on Freddie Lakers Skytrain which blazed the trail for VS. There fare structure was as basic as it could be. I remember that at that time 1982 £247 was an expensive economy ticket so I packed my own sandwiches and enjoyed the flight. It wouldn't be th e end of the world if through competition airlines offered a basic get you there price which you could then build up to suit. After all the "Boots" meal deal is often better that what's served in economy anyway.


You see, I'm not against the concept of "building" my own fare to include the things I want, particularly if it results in a total fare that's lower than another fare where it's all included anyway. For very short trips for example (say no more than 3 or 4 nights), you can often get away with taking on a carry-on suitcase and that means you can make a swift getaway from the destination airport once you've cleared immigration. My objections lie with the way some LCC's charge for these elements to the point that it's no cheaper or more expensive than another fare where it's all included.

I also suspect some people don't do their homework and immediately book with one airline (i.e. Ryanair) on the assumption that they are/will be cheaper than the competition, when in some cases it's not always the case and taking the time to do your research can sometimes lead to surprising results. For that reason, I suspect VS, BA and other airlines might have a battle on their hands to change the mindset of those who don't shop around if Norwegian manage to convince enough people who choose flights purely on cost and those who aren't necessarily loyal if it's significantly cheaper elsewhere that they are cheaper than the rest.
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