From More Miles To Less Room And Higher Fees, We’re Tired Of It…
That’s the operating question for this article. When will airlines realize that taking away is not enhancement, and that charging more for what once was less is not a reason to celebrate? Last night I attended a Virgin Atlantic event, and usually it would put me in the highest of spirits. I’m generally very fond of Virgin, they even gave me the greatest laugh of my career. We’ve had a nice relationship based on mostly positive news.
So when I turned up to the event last evening I expected something at least moderately spin worthy. Maybe they were going to join SkyTeam, announce A350 details or talk about something new and cool. Instead, it was a party to launch basic economy. it certainly wasn’t marketed that way, but it was. Yes, they launched “delight”, an economy comfort of sorts – but they kinda already had that. They never had fares that did not include checked bags.
Lets make one point abundantly clear. This was move is not about saving passengers money, which many are lead to believe. Virgin Atlantic, prior to the news (like every other airline) already had to compete with low cost airlines on price. Just like all Virgin’s competitors who’ve opted to charge for checked bags on “basic” or “light” fares, this move is about profit. Virgin was already matching and even occasionally besting the lowest fares offered by Norwegian. Those fares included a bag.
All that’s changed is you’ll pay more for what you once received included with the price. The prices won’t really change. Prices are already crazy low, lower than ever before and there’s no sign of that changing any time soon, unless you have to add on $50+ to every fare for the old (better) experience. I’m not remotely “mad” that the change occurred. It was overdue from Virgin, given everyone else had already made the same move. It’s spinning it as if we asked for it, and it’s about us and not their balance sheet that hurts. We’re better than that, and I’d like to believe they are too.
This is just a singular look into a rampant trend. Smaller seats are better for passengers, requiring more miles makes it easier to use miles, you can now upgrade to premium economy (whereas before the same upgrade got you business class) – the tape seems to run without need for replenishment. I just hope one day airlines will give us a bit of credit, call a change a change – neither positive or negative. Celebrate the good, own the bad. Be honest and we’ll be loyal.