Throughout life I have held a very healthy attitude about virgins….come back when you know what you are doing.
It’s ironic that the same feeling can now be applied to Richard Branson’s Virgin brands. During my recent trip to London, I was booked round trip in premium economy on Virgin Atlantic. This was the first time that I had a chance to experience the much hyped airline and I was excited about the opportunity to compare them to British Airways (which I have flown twice this year). Needless to say, I was not impressed.
For starters, the planes on both legs of the trip seemed small and dated. The entertainment system was different for each flight and the quality of the video screens were appalling. The onboard laptop power did not work on either of my legs to and from London. Indeed, beyond not working, they are located in the most inconvenient spot between your chair and your neighbor that to even get your cord plugged in you basically have to give a reach around. Finally, their terminal at Heathrow looks like the 1980′s set for the movie Airplane!
When I compare this to the experience I had with British Airways, you can’t blame me for wanting Virgin Atlantic to take a step back and learn some basics from a seasoned brand. British Airways seems to have invested an enormous amount of resource on the user experience. They keep immaculate care of their cabins; the entertainment system was top notch and consistent across all four of my flights, the onboard power worked and was located in a easy to reach place; and their NEW terminal at Heathrow…..well lets just say if they offered condos I would be tempted to buy one. Its brilliant.
My experience with Virgin goes beyond air travel. I also had the misfortune to ride Virgin Train from London to Manchester 5-6 years ago. That experience was also disappointing as the train was run down and dirty. I sense pattern emerging. Virgin has a tight game around their brand and marketing. They really make you think that traveling with them is going to be akin to a “Catch Me if You Can” esque Mile High Club Bonanza. However, when it comes to executions, they FAIL. Kinda reminds me of that cheerleader in high school that liked to talk a big game but when it came right down to it, knew as much about sex as the Virgin Mary.
So Mr. Branson, before you even can count on me to ever consider spending money on your new venture, Virgin Galactic, you may want to focus on your earthly possessions and really deliver what you promise in your ads.
In the words of Edward Dahlbert “What men desire is a virgin who is a whore”.