moa999 wrote:RyanairGuru wrote:The hard products were far from class leading, the soft product on-board was lacklustre, the lounges were tired and the staff were disinterested. What a difference a decade makes!.
I'd argue that still mostly describes Qantas today. Sure a few planes, lounges and staff are up there.. but in general it has issues.
It's just that the same applies to Virgin these days.
I think Borghetti had little option to go upmarket as Jetstar and subsequently Tiger came into the market with lower cost bases.
It's just that they squandered the new upmarket image and lower cost base.
In my mind Virgin made a few strategic missteps over the period.
- not joining an alliance when they had a chance (this is a massive advantage Qantas has to attract customers, and the hodge podge of alliances doesn't work)
- creating the 'international' structure that allowed foreign shareholding to go above 50% to its current 90% and dysfunctional shareholdings
- chasing market share domestically which caused big drops in profit on both sides, but ultimately required the shareholders loans and conversions
- not further expanding International (though the lack of profit made this hard)
- poor aircraft choices (Embraers)
But it's also just growing pains (same as JetBlue in the US is going through).
With a young vibe and new young employees and lots of growth everyone's happy and prepared to trade off wages for 'culture' but as everyone gets older this changes and employees want better wages (and in JetBlues case unions) etc
What 'issues' do you think Qantas has today? They're not perfect, nobody is, but they are in a better place today than they have been in years and years.
I think that VA made two major mistakes. The first was not properly defining their strategy, and the second wasn't being more aggressively in hitting Qantas when they were down. Both are a result of a lack of vision and ambition IMHO.
To the first point VA claim to be a full service airline, and their Business Class product is admittedly pretty decent. In Economy though they offer the service that Brucetiki identified, a protein ball the size of your finger nail and water/juice/tea/coffee. They serve alcohol in 'happy hour' from 5-7, yet when I go to Sydney for work I'm inevitably on a 19:05 departure home ... water or juice?
An alcoholic beverage isn't a big deal on a short flight, but when QF are serving hot meals and beer and wine on flights departing at the same time the whole 'premium' product thing seems laughable. VA have managed to wedge themselves somewhere between JQ and QF which is just about the worse place to be. A jack of all trades and master of none.
Secondly VA came about during the darkest days in Qantas' history. Alan Joyce gambled with shutting down the airline, he went all in and won, but history could have been very different. For all the tears on the TV news for holidays ruined, weddings missed etc the people who QF stood to piss off the most were their corporate customers and high status frequent flyers who rely on Qantas to be able to carry on their business and do their jobs. VA ran some status matching campaigns, but mostly just sat back and assumed that QF passengers would walk across the street out of frustration. For the most part they didn't. Qantas was gifting them a once in a lifetime opportunity to pick off their upset customers, yet VA somehow failed to seize the opportunity.