You know times are changing when Richard Branson becomes a follower not a leader. In his swash buckling heyday, Sir Richard blazed through industries and showed everyone what aggressive marketing could achieve.
Airlines, railways, mobile phones, vodka, cola. You name it, Sir Richard took it on and his – slightly garish – bright red Virgin brand became synonymous with aggressive pricing and great customer service.
Well now another equally garish and bright red brand – Norwegian Air – has forced Virgin to follow them. Following Norwegian’s pricing assault on the lucrative transatlantic route, Virgin Atlantic this week announced three new economy tickets, all designed to wrest back control – and passengers – from Norwegian. The new ticket categories are called Economy Light, Economy Classic and Economy Delight. (perhaps the Virgin Cola people had a hand in here?)
The Virgin Light ticket looks the most interesting as it’s the cheapest, providing you travel with cabin baggage only. It’s difficult to imagine taking a long haul flight to America with just an overnight bag but as clothes are so cheap there, we guess its better to travel light and dress like an American whilst there.
Actually, dressing like an American is fine by us and as you can also take a second smaller item (Virgin says a handbag or small back pack is acceptable) so your jim jams could remain resolutely British.
The Virgin Delight ticket is interesting too, if only because this section offers passengers an three extra inches of legroom. Three inches doesn’t sound a lot – and certainly doesn’t warrant the ticket being called ‘delight’- but passengers prepared to pay this premium will also get priority check-in and boarding and that would be delightful.
We love it when airlines fight hard as passengers are always on the winning side so we’re delighted to see that Norwegian has stirred Virgin into coming out of its corner swinging punches. Bring it on Sir Richard, we say.