Pimpin’ Virgin Style

Seats, Virgin America

Virgin America may still be stuck in DOJ regulatory hell, but some additional info about their planned perks is starting to come out and it sounds pretty cool.

First off, how about this picture of an eerie pink glow emanating from a Virgin America A320?

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This is only a tiny piece of the shot taken at nycaviation.com by user Novangus. I highly recommend clicking here to see the full aircraft. It looks like they’re putting some really funky mood lighting on the plane. This is similar to what other airlines do internationally to help people fall asleep and wake up using light. It’s perfect for those cross country redeyes.

And while we’re at it, Today in the Sky pointed me to a good article in CIO magazine today about Virgin America. This was obviously meant to focus on it from an IT perspective, and it centers around an interview with CIO Bill Maguire.

It’s funny that the airline actually hired Mr Maguire through a posting on Craig’s List as part of a cost-savings strategy employed by the airline. Hmm, they raised $177 million at first and they’ve already had to get another loan for over $50 million and you’re telling me they HAVE a cost savings plan?!? But I digress . . . .

There are a couple of interesting little points in the article such as:

  • Seats will be thin to allow for more legroom (um, that depends upon how much pitch there is in the first place)
  • They will have check-in kiosks available when they launch
  • There will be a very robust CRM system which will allow the airline to pass along basic customer history to flight attendants and gate agents. This is similar to what upscale hotels do. The example they give in the article involves someone who had a lost bag in the past. The flight attendant will know about it on that person’s next flight. That opens up huge customer service possibilities.

It all sounds good, but, um, let’s back up. Will they even get off the ground? They’re stuck in regulatory hell for now, and I haven’t seen any movement on it lately. It seems like it could be awhile at best.

And if they do get off the ground, will they be able to succeed? I’m not sure that anything they do will be enough of a differentiator to encourage people to pay a premium. There’s no way they’re going for the lowest fares because they are providing a premium product. True, they’ll be a low fare carrier, but they can’t compete solely on price and still make it work.

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