Now look here Virgin Australia (aka Virgin Blue), what’s going on?
I’ve just had two fabulous, peaceful, friendly, efficient flights with you in the space of a week! Are you on something????
My Christmas holiday began with a godawful Qantas International Flight from Sydney to Adelaide on QF81 (20 Dec). Arghhh! We were herded into a departure gate area that comfortable fit about 60 people…all 200+ of us were expected to fit. The flight was due to leave just after 12noon but boarding wasn’t due to begin until 11.45am. Who the hell does that? The gate staff were pfaffing around talking to each other and basically being rude to anyone who went up to them and asked if they could board/why they couldn’t board etc. They even sent a couple of business class passengers away – twice! I was gobsmacked.
They made an occasional rude announcement telling us to relax and take a seat. The only thing is that 100-150 of us couldn’t take a seat because they were all occupied. It was almost like a send up of the Qantas we all know and hate: badly organised, inadequate facilities and rude staff treating passengers like garbage.
The flight was the same. 1 set of crew each side to serve an almost full A330 plane. My travel companion and I didn’t get served anything until more than half the elapsed flying time to Adelaide. The service was shoddy and indifferent. There was one older, bald guy serving who was amusing and polite. The rest were little better than department store dummies.
Not being able to have even a cup of water for so long his really annoyed us because the plane took off half an hour late (they were still boarding when the departure time came and went). No explanations why. As we left the plane I thought “oh those poor bastards who will be on this plane for another 7-8 hours for the flight to Singapore!”
Anyway, it was a good reinforcement to not fly Qantas wherever possible.
But back to Virgin….
We checked in at Adelaide – or Bag Dropped-Off – in the morning for an late afternoon flight and the check in lady couldn’t be nicer. She changed our seats, reprinted our boarding passes and made us feel quite valued! Then the actual flight from Adelaide to Melbourne was terrific. Fast, great smiles and friendly service. They came around with the trolley in good time and were all happy, happy, joy. joy. We bought drinks and food and parted with the credit cards without any concern 🙂
Arrival at Melbourne was also fab – bags off quickly and we jumped into the Skybus and were in town before we knew it!
I thought “oh well, pretty good but probably a one-off.”
But last Monday afternoon, after a week’s holiday in Melbourne, we experienced the same thing – fun, friendly check-in (or Bag-Drop-Off) staff member. Then boarding was smooth and the service on board was also good. The only thing of concern that was, in row 6, with the purple plastic barriers of business class in our way, there was no way we could see any of the safety demonstration. All we saw was the top of the cabin crew member’s head as she stood in business class and did the demonstration.
Overall, we loved the flight. It landed on time or early and the bags didn’t take forever to arrive either.
Two for two!
I have had good Virgin flights before but I’ve had some bad ones. Where the staff thought they were in “Australia’s Next Top Model.” But I think something has changed – consistency is the word that keeps coming to mind. To have one good flight is excellent – but receiving a consistently good level of service is what you want as a traveller. And Virgin Australia seem to be providing that.
The 737-700 and 737-800 we flew on both were modern and clean and did not feel claustro as far as leg room is concerned. That is another big plus.
Anyway, I just had to share…I used to love flying sooo much then Qantas and British Airways turned into card carrying c*nts and it all got ugly and unattractive. I really hope Virgin Australia continues to make it enjoyable again. It’s not just getting from Point A to Point B like in a bus. It’s F-L-Y-I-N-G – it should be a great experience!