CAMPAIGN DIRECT: SHOPPING WITH CAMPAIGN - Virgin Airlines Upper Class

Caroline Marshall continues the series in which a Campaign reporter checks out a product or service against the promise of its marketing. This month, with her corporate hat on, she sees what Virgin Upper Class has to offer.

Caroline Marshall continues the series in which a Campaign reporter

checks out a product or service against the promise of its marketing.

This month, with her corporate hat on, she sees what Virgin Upper Class

has to offer.



THE BUYER - Caroline Marshall



As a regular visitor to the comfortless world of the economy class

flight, I’d always wanted to give Virgin’s business class a try. Not

just anyone’s, but Virgin’s. So although I didn’t personally shop for

the two Virgin Upper Class return flights to Los Angeles (at pounds

4,500-odd a throw, it’s just as well they were on the company), I was

looking forward to the experience.



This was because years of spending on persuasive ads seemed to suggest

that Virgin Upper Class (the carrier’s business class seats) offered

more fringe benefits than its more crusty transatlantic competitors:

oodles of frequent flier points, free chauffeuring to and from the

airport, improved leg-room, wider seats, on-board lounges, personal TV

sets and on-board beauty treatments.



Well, the flights were indeed dripping with frills: limo transfers

(although I still had to check myself in), beauty treatments (I opted

for manicures, both ways), OK food (served on real china and glass, is

the kindest thing I can say), and sleepsuits (but does anyone actually

wear them?). Who cares about those victims of gastronomic murder,

squeezed to crunching point for 11 hours in corset-like seats in economy

class? Let them pray for slim neighbours!



And so to my quibble. One of the big inducements to fly Virgin Upper

Class has to be the frequent flier points accrued. First-time fliers get

enough free miles for a trip to the US or Caribbean; second-time fliers

get enough to take someone along too. But it turns out that my tickets

had been purchased on a Continental Airlines booking system, rendering

all the points I thought I had accrued on the Virgin Freeway scheme

ineligible.



So I was travelling on a Virgin flight but couldn’t build on my

relationship with the brand. So much for customer loyalty.



THE SELLER Alison Copus



Alison Copus is the general manager, marketing, of Virgin Atlantic, and

has been with the airline for five years.



Here, she responds to Caroline Marshall’s comments



At Virgin we always take feedback very seriously. That’s how we measure

our success. Being parochial, I was delighted that our advertising seems

to be working. From the service perspective, I cannot deny there are

more frills for Upper Class passengers than for economy passengers. As

with almost every other purchase, you get what you pay for.



The crucial point here is that whatever class our passengers choose to

fly, they will get more for their money. Upper Class may cost the same

as other airlines’ Business Class, but Virgin’s service compares with

First Class on other airlines.



Passengers get first-class legroom and many little touches like

manicures, massage, a bar and even sleepsuits (which most people seem to

use).



We are also the only transatlantic airline to offer Economy passengers a

choice. Everyone gets their own TV screen, with a choice of up to 45

channels of entertainment. For Economy passengers who want more legroom,

a wider seat, dedicated check-in and a separate cabin, we offer Premium

Economy.



I’m sorry you were disappointed not to get Virgin Freeway miles. The way

to solve this problem is to book your Virgin flight through us. But we

believe that real loyalty is driven by the customer’s experience and so

I am really glad that you enjoyed the ’free chauffeuring to and from the

airport, improved legroom, wider seats, on-board lounges, personal TV

sets and on-board beauty treatments’.



Next time, make sure to allow enough time to visit our airport lounge

where we can pamper you even more. The lounges are a real touch of

Virgin magic and you could enjoy a haircut, a facial, or maybe even

practise your golf putting before the flight.



Become a member of Campaign from just £46 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.co.uk ,plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Partner content

Share

1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).