Virgin America airline has quickly made its way into the public eye since the company’s launch in late 2007. Known for their snazzy inflight safety video Virgin America has obtained popularity with its consumers and recently they updated their video that has the web abuzz. But does having an entertaining video embedded with humor and wit generate a profitable airline? Are Virgin America’s marketing dollars really paying off?
ConsumerReports.org ratings show Virgin America as the top airline preferred by customers, with comfortable leather seats in coach and baggage handling as being the top points of satisfaction. Not to mention of course the inflight entertainment system being one of the swankiest in the industry. Other features that consumers rate on are cabin cleanliness, ease of check-in, and more leg room. But are those amenities really selling points to the average consumer?
According to The Wall Street Journal an article from early May of this year dubbed Virgin America has only collected a profit in one quarter since the company first opened its doors. Taking into account that the company is still new in the industry and with continued efforts to increase their areas of service and adding new routes the potential for the company isn’t small. And data is showing that Virgin America’s loses are decreasing overtime.
Although many newspaper journals are praising Virgin America as being a top-of-the-line airline and most preferred by consumers, does that preference entail that consumers will spend more for an airfare when they can find a seat somewhere else cheaper. One of the airlines known for their poor customer service, cramped seats, and fee entrenched experience has seen a profit in the last few years. Why? They pride themselves as offering the slowest fares. Spirit Chief Executive Ben Baldanza says on CBS’ This Morning about consumers, “They know they’re getting a lower total price than they’ll get anywhere else.” And Spirit has the financial data to back this up.
Cool features and amenities are nice to have but are not required when making a big-ticket purchase, such as airfare. The price of an airline ticket is still the biggest determining factor in choosing which airline to purchase with. Consumers will commend airlines for snakes that are more than just a pack of peanuts or satellite TV, but they are also speaking with their wallets.
Does this mean there is no room for Virgin America to play with the “big boys” in the airline industry? Definitely not. The airlines image aligns and has formulated a loyal customer base with a large portion of young entrepreneurs on the west coast and in the Bay Area. There may be an untapped niche market in that. I enjoy a great flight experience as much as the next person and although my principal deciding factor when choosing an airline ticket is price I appreciate Virgin America and their spiffy accent lights trailing down the cabin. Alright, if their flight is ten to twenty dollars more than the cheapest airline, I’ll choose Virgin America. How’s that?