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JetStar vs Virgin

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To some of you flying JetStar versus flying Virgin Australia is a no brain-er but for others this is your final Boarding Call.

JetStar versus VirginYou need to make a quick trip and have to book a short haul flight across Australia! A quick glance at the Internet serves up cheap flights from JetStar, Virgin Australia and until recently Tiger Airways. Prices are much of a muchness as are departure times. Who do you fly with?

Some of us will take the cheapest option albeit only say $10 difference, others may choose the departure time albeit only 30 minutes difference and others like myself will make their decision based on brand loyalty.

Brand loyalty you say… is that still relevant in the modern competitive era?

I’ll let you decide.

Tiger Airways was an off shoot of the national airline of Singapore, Singapore Air. Backed by a state with very deep pockets, it failed to recognise the mood of the people (that’s you and me) and trundled along regardless until its demise this year.

JetStar openly advertises itself as part of the Qantas Group of Airlines. A former national carrier and now international heavy weight, Qantas has big ideas with not much room for the little guys (that’s you and me).

Virgin Australia is part of the Virgin group of companies with a single man at the helm, Sir Richard Branson. A rags to riches story based on the simple philosophy of focusing on the customers (that’s you and me) wants and needs and then giving him precisely that.

But should we base our decision of whom to fly with, just by the company’s backers or origins? Perhaps not so let’s look at the sharp end, the bit you and me feel, the actual flight experience itself.

JetStar will sell you a ticket and then charge you for every conceivable extra imaginable (albeit only $7 here and a few bucks there). You pay extra to choose a seat, to carry luggage, for priority boarding, leg room, in-flight entertainment, to mention just a few.

Virgin Australia will something similar except you still may get a few perks for free (we had free in-flight entertainment last week).

But here’s the real difference, the reason why you’d choose one airline over the other…

JetStar makes you feel like you still owe them something… that the price of your ticket only entitles you to being carried from A to B and anything else (like plain old service or politeness) is an added extra that you have not paid for and dare not ask for.

JetStar ground staff spend more time looking at their watches and counting down the minutes until knocking off time, than looking outwardly and at how they portray JetStar.

Queueing up at the JetStar departure gate is a free for all with little regard shown to those travelling with infants. The tannoy bellows out repeatedly (3 times in short succession) that passengers with oversize hand luggage will have to put it in the hold AND pay extra penalties AND should expect it NOT to arrive on the same flight BUT rather a day later.

The JetStar flight attendants (in name only) are more interested in themselves and their personal escapades the night before than serving you and me. It seems the faster they can get the service trolley from one end of the plane to the other the better, never mind you or I wanting to purchase anything!

Your fellow JetStar passengers seemed to have chosen the almighty dollar over all else and their behaviour (or lack thereof) shows it. Large marauding groups of intoxicated guys or girls with matching T-shirts, heading off on a holiday binge with little or no interesting conversation apart from their names… is your lot.

The JetStar aeroplanes themselves are worn out and dirty. Torn seat fabric and a scuffed interior are the norm but finding old food and loose hair between the seats is just unacceptable.

Virgin Australia is currently undergoing a re-branding from Virgin Blue to its present name and the results speak volumes.

The planes themselves are either brand new or have just been refurbished inside and out. New leather seats and the latest in technology ensure a comfortable ride and ample space (no need to purchase leg room like on JetStar).

Virgin staff have new uniforms and a company ethic that makes them proud to be Virgin Australia employees and it shows. Always polite and courteous, nothing is to much to ask and invariably they deliver.

The extra $10 your seat may have cost you seems to have frightened off the hordes of marauding drunks and replaced it with delightful and entertaining passengers. Perhaps worth the expense on a 2 hour flight!

And the list goes on.

For those of you that are still pondering over which of JetStar or Virgin are the better airline, hopefully you need ponder no more.

It’s Virgin Australia.

The Virgin brand is recognised worldwide as value for money WITHOUT skimping on service and Virgin Australia is no exception.

Happy travels.

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