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Virgin Blue To Add A Y+  
User currently offlineMarara From Australia, joined Oct 2001, 680 posts, RR: 0
Posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 4553 times:

Virgin open for business
By Clive Mathieson
March 07, 2005

VIRGIN Blue, famed for its one-class discount fare model, will today launch its first business class service as it seeks to wrest more corporate travellers from arch-rival Qantas.
Virgin Blue's new Blue Plus service will not be called business class, but will offer travellers a raft of additional services on full-fare trips.

These include seats at the front of the cabin, where there is already up to 5cm more legroom than at the rear, extra luggage allowances and priority check-in.

Virgin Blue customers flying on its top-rate "fully flexible" fares, which will be renamed Blue Plus fares, will also be offered full refunds on cancellations, less a $30 administration charge. To date, customers who cancelled were offered a replacement flight within 12 months.

However, Virgin Blue is still holding out on the introduction of a frequent flyer program to rival Qantas and its low-cost offshoot Jetstar, which last week said customers on its fully flexible fares could earn Qantas points.

Blue Plus travellers will also have to pay for their own food and drink, like Virgin's other economy passengers.

The new class of ticket breaks with the one-class discount model Virgin has championed since its launch in 2000.

Chief executive Brett Godfrey said the changes were in response to feedback from business travellers, with Virgin now claiming more than 1000 corporate travel accounts.

"We expect Blue Plus to attract new Virgin Blue flyers and we will continue to lobby for an increasing share of business from Australian corporations and government organisations," Mr Godfrey said.

The changes come as Virgin Blue faces increasing competition from Jetstar and a slowdown in its business that caused a heavy profit downgrade in January.

The subsequent slump in Virgin Blue's share price prompted a $2 billion takeover bid from Chris Corrigan's Patrick Corp, which already owns 46 per cent.

The bid has been rejected by Virgin Blue and Richard Branson's Virgin Group, which holds 25 per cent.

The Virgin Blue business push also comes as Paul Stoddart, the Australian-born entrepreneur who runs the Minardi Formula One racing team, prepares to launch his OzJet service later this year. OzJet, which is aiming for a single-digit market share, will offer only business-class services.

Flights are likely to cost the same as fully flexible economy fares on other airlines – about $320 each way on the key Sydney-Melbourne route.

A Qantas spokesman said the airline could not comment on the Virgin Blue business offer without seeing details, but said Qantas offered "the most comprehensive range of flights and services for business travellers in Australia, including frequent two-class services between major destinations".

Isnt it interesting what a bit of competition will do. JQ gives frequent flyer points and status credits and DJ adds a new class!

I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours. Jerome K Jerome
14 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineAntares From Australia, joined Jun 2004, 1402 posts, RR: 37
Reply 1, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 4477 times:

Oh come on. This isn't a business class or a true premium economy class any more than economy plus is in the forward rows of UA domestic cabins.

Its a good idea, but really, nothing more than drawing attention to something that already happens and giving it a hip name.

Personally, I prefer to sit in the back of the Virgin Blue cabins now that they have taken out a row in many of their jets so I can get off faster through the rear door, but I always buy the fully flexible fare.

User currently offlineTravel From Australia, joined May 2001, 355 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 4413 times:

Great Idea however I can tell you for a fact that Qantas will still attract the Business Class traveller way ahead of Virgin Blue.

Virgin Blue is really a middle man between Qantas and Jetstar. Either go fully serviced and introduce a proper Business Class or stay as a low cost budget airline.

User currently offlineAirlinerfreak From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 4402 times:

Are they still planning on applying and flying that SYD-LAX segment that was talked about a while ago?

User currently offlineAntares From Australia, joined Jun 2004, 1402 posts, RR: 37
Reply 4, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 4368 times:

Hi travel,

What business class passengers? According to Qantas they average about 1.8 true J class buyers per inter city leg, the rest are corporate accounts that get it for an economy level, plus the Qantas Club, but only until their contracts run out.

Business passengers overwhelmingly fly on an economy fare between the capital cities these days. Silly of Qantas to screw them up with crap food, and reduced legroom, and slashing their points, just when Virgin Blue is giving more room and putting in live news and stock exchange reports on Foxtel from July.

QF is getting a very big kick up the backside for taking us for granted, let me tell you. Well come back for better service, not worse, and we'd rather walk that put up with Jetstar.


User currently offlineJohnnybgoode From Germany, joined Jan 2001, 2187 posts, RR: 6
Reply 5, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 4231 times:

the problem of Virgin Blue is rather a 'lifestyle' problem. it's got a fresh and young and quirky image and Qantas has got a rather conservative image. the top clients will always go for QF, but there are still many people that would not use DJ just because it's not QF. i don't think it's that much about the onboard service levels, it's about whether the image is appealing to the customer or not.

i think that DJ now tries to become more attractive to the top business traveler by trying to be a bit more 'serious'.


If only pure sweetness was offered, why's this bitter taste left in my mouth.
User currently offlineQantasffCL From Australia, joined Apr 2004, 86 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 4217 times:

Do you people realise the effect that this will have for the sales of Qantas.

I heard this as a quote of a very high person from QF: Most people don't want Neil Perry meals in J (Sydney to London) they want to get there as efficiently as possible and as conviently as possible.

Virgin is providing everything that they want, quick checkin, easy boarding, space, easy disembarking and easy refund of fares.

Qantas will loose so much J revenue which is a real worry. Now its as easy for them to refund like the business people I know who buy three SYD-MEL flights and three return and cancel it easily.

User currently offlineMonkeyboi From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 457 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 4164 times:

Just a quick question......

If it's such a fantastic idea and going to take loads of passengers off QF, why has DJ only just come up with the idea? How long have they been flying?? I can remember as a teenager when Compass went bust. Although there was all this bad press against QF and AN at the time for 'killing them off' it was more likely down to the fact that they had ignored the business traveller and corporate accounts. Towards the end they introduced a 'zone' at the front of the aircraft for frequent flyers and a frequent flyer programme.

From what I have read, Virgin Blue's advantage was gained from the demise of Ansett, not from the throngs of passengers that deserted QF.

There is one thing that a seat at the front cabin of a low fares airline will never be able to replace....kudos. People want to say they travelled Qantas Business Class, not Virgin Blue Plus. 'Business Class' is one of the biggest money makers (and possibly scams) on short haul flights. The airlines pay a tiny amount for the food provided because of the wholesale quantities they purchase and contracts they have drawn up with the caterers. QF would dictate the price paid to the caterers in OZ, as without QF the catering firm might as well close up shop. Much of the alcohol provided to airlines is also given free as 'promotional material'. Ie Mini Smirnoff bottles being supplied to QF's J class pax is great advertising for them. They probably also receive free advertising space in the in-flight magazine.

Virgins new business concept will probably attract some travellers from small or independent companies. I wouldn't like their chances of taking over many of the major 'corporate accounts' though. Most of the large airlines are fiercely protective of these and will simply re-negotiate, throw in a few more perks.

I don't know if QF has a similar thing, but in the BA Executive Club we have a status level called 'Premier'. This is never achievable by points or miles travelled. It is only available through 'invitation' by BA. And guess who it is aimed at? ... 'Those in corporate industry who have influence over the distribution of corporate airline contracts'.... These premier card holders are literally treated like royalty and don't want to lose their status.

And before anyone mutters 'what would a pom in britain know?'...i'm an aussie.  Smile)

User currently offlineAntares From Australia, joined Jun 2004, 1402 posts, RR: 37
Reply 8, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 4150 times:


You're a pretty poorly informed Aussie in that case. The figures are that hardly anyone is PAYING the J class fare, and judos mean stuff all. Do people roll about saying 'Wow that guys driving an Audi (like me)/Beemer or Jaguar.' No.

Do they say "Wow that guy flew J class." No. They wouldn't know or care.

This is the world of 'best fare of the day' for large corporate accounts never mind small ones. And these regular Qantas flyers are that ones that just got robbed standing up out of up to 40 per cent of the value of their points.

Come to your senses man. There is serious aggro about QF out in the market at the moment, especially as they have jammed their Y seats near as close together as in JQ and DJ has spaced them out on most of their jets.

Somebody in QF isn't paying attention. And the consequences are going to be very painful. DJ has around 32 per cent of the market including routes it doesn't fly on. On Sydney-Melbourne it has got around 39 per cent.

When Ansett went down DJ had about 9 per cent of the market.

JQ has stopped it growing for now, but live Foxtel in every seat, ... I think that's going to change a few things. I want up to date news and stock prices if I'm flying, damn, I'd even fly JQ is they had that.

User currently offlineBNE From Australia, joined Mar 2000, 3208 posts, RR: 11
Reply 9, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 4126 times:

These include seats at the front of the cabin, where there is already up to 5cm more legroom than at the rear, extra luggage allowances and priority check-in.

Virgin Blue customers flying on its top-rate "fully flexible" fares, which will be renamed Blue Plus fares, will also be offered full refunds on cancellations, less a $30 administration charge.

I really don't see a heap of business people jumping at this.
Extra baggage what is the point, business trips are usually short anyway.
Priorrity check in, Virgin are usually fairly quick at this and already provide a dedicated check in lane for those without baggage.
So now you get the front of the cabin with some extra leg room, well you could already get it.

Virgin can do better than this.

Why fly non stop when you can connect
User currently offlineMonkeyboi From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 457 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 4089 times:

Mis-informed, maybe.

But Antares, let's work on your premise that a business traveller is going for the cheapest possible fare ok. Say from Sydney to Melbourne. As business travellers tend to book at the last minute lets say tomorrow, 8th March.

On virginblue.com the cheapest one-way fare SYD/MEL for the day is AUD89.00.

On qantas.com the cheapest fare of the day is AUD83.00 one way.

Considering QF has loads more flights on the route, has a FF plan, cheaper tickets at the lower end of the scale and THE cheapest fare on the route.....who cares its seats are nearly the same pitch as DJ when it is cheaper??? I won't say it is a better flying experience because that is something totally personal. What I like in an airline others might not. But come on, I can't imagine droves of people leaving QF, they seem to be competing pretty well!

User currently offlineAntares From Australia, joined Jun 2004, 1402 posts, RR: 37
Reply 11, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 4019 times:


You have to be here to understand why Virgin Blue is doing so well.

Qantas flies widebodies on the route, including at odd times A330s, and it loads using ONE door. On DJ's 737s you are half way down the road to Sydney or Melbourne by the time people are still locked in a scrum trying to deplane the Qantas jet.

Incidentally most of the suits on these flights couldn't care less about what the fare costs, but they do care about how they are treated.

This whole strip-your-points-and-then-put-you-on-Jester for the secondary routes has brassed off travellers en masse. I'd like to see Qantas get its act together...I do own shares...and I think some of the actions of management have been right on the money...but stuffing your passengers around is bad business.

User currently offlineMiami1 From Australia, joined Feb 2001, 707 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 3930 times:

All three airlines offer a similar fare product though the benefits of each vary quite considerably. I guess it is up to the individual to decide which they prefer. There are benefits to all of them.

- Fare is usually $30 cheaper than BluePlus and $40-50 cheaper than QF FlexiSaver.
- Non refundable though completely changeable, including name and destinantion. Only additional charge is fare difference.
- Can be changed at any time until midnight of day of travel. Includes no-show. Can be changed more than once.
- Priority boarding (though you have to be at the gate early and fight with screaming children to sit in the front few rows).
- Full QF Frequent Flyer points and status credits. QantasClub access to members (including Chairman's Lounge and Gold and Platinium FFs).
- 30" pitch (a couple of rows on 320 and 717 are 29") though seats are over an inch wider. Both aircraft types have greater hand luggage stowage than DJ and QF domestic aircraft. Baggage wait times less than DJ and QF.
- Schedules compliment QF in shared markets and rival DJ in others.

- Additional legroom over QF and JQ (Is it 32-33"?)
- Separate check-in
- Complimentary Blue Room access
- Baggage allowance equal to QF.
- Fully refundable, less $30. If you choose to keep your fare as a credit you can only change it once.
- Changes, including name, may be made up to 24 hours after flight departure.
- Checked baggage more likely to get wet in bad weather as all baggage is bulk-loaded. (QF and JQ use containers on 320/330/767 aircraft.)
- Reasonable schedules.

Qantas Flexi-Saver
- 30-31" pitch on most domestic aircraft. Boarding a full 737 is a nightmare.
- $16.50 extra for offline fares (DJ and JQ are $10).
- Lose entire fare in case of no-show
- Full QF Frequent Flyer points and status credits. QantasClub access to members (including Chairman's Lounge and Gold and Platinium FFs).
- Date and flight only may be changed. Name changes not allowed. Only additional charge is fare difference.
- Average wait times for baggage longer than at DJ and JQ.
- Greater choice in flights on CityFlyer routes.

Regarding JQ's full fare product I think it is a shame they cannot include greater baggage allowance and premium seating. As every JQ flight has a QF code I it is dissappointing that customers cannot swap between the two carriers in shared markets like OOL and HBA.

QF should feel very threatened and needs to enhance both its own product and that of JQ (at the corporate end). DJ has done very well at capturing the corporate market though limits itself in only providing half solutions. Even a FF program would be of little use if it is not part of a large alliance and I cannot see that happening any time soon (though would love to be proved wrong). JQ has done a great job at providing service to leisure travellers though basically ignores corporate customers on routes where QF has little or no service. The new JetFlex product is again only a half solution. It does provide greater flexibility in regards to changes than the similar product at QF. Perhaps QF has a master plan in terms of the corporate Australian market? Hopefully they do something to ward off the threat of DJ. Maybe reduce J by up to 50% and split Y into two products. Though that would confuse things with JQ being present. And with QF's high costs I cannot see JQ going away any time soon.

Antares -
QF use two doors for boarding and disembarkation on the A330 most of the time. Hence the installation of two aerobridges at select gates in BNE, SYD, MEL and PER. I agree using forward and rear doors at JQ and DJ certainly makes it much quicker.

QantasffCL -
Are you still convinced that domestic J class create large amounts of revenue? It certainly is necessary for QF to have domestic J but it loses money as a stand alone product.

User currently offlineQantasffCL From Australia, joined Apr 2004, 86 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 3849 times:


I agree with your comment regarding halving J and having two Y products. As I said previously, not all want the upgrade for a kings chair, and the 3 entree' and main or whatever!

They want to get out of the cattle truck and into decent comfort. Easy Y+

Y+ would not have all the additional costs like wines, meals. Some might be free but in some ways it would still satisfy the bulk of the passengers with a lower cost basis.

I thought even five business travellers paying $400 (20% discount) to Melbourne for J is better that 10 paying $200???

I know people say less than 1% of J fares are full. But, they are still receiving substantial revenue over Y for corporate accounts. I mean come on a few thousand extra a flight must make a difference.

User currently offlineAntares From Australia, joined Jun 2004, 1402 posts, RR: 37
Reply 14, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 3818 times:

Miami 1,

We know of corporate accounts that Qantas gave away for 60 per cent of full economy for business class plus the Qantas Club lounges.

However the half yearly results do show a robust performance by Qantas domestic and we believe from the briefings that this has been overwhelmingly derived from lower fares not higher fares. Qantas has realised that the mythical business traveller that used to demand all the perks now works for mean spirited penny pinching corporations that just want to slash their travel budgets, and changed tactics accordingly.

There is an ugly rumour going around the Qantas is considering charging for domestic meals as well as alcohol but with a voucher system for account regulars to they don't have to fork out.

Totally insane thing to do in my opinion if this turns out to be true, and while I first doubted it I was reminded that American, Swiss and Scandinavian are already doing just that.

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