Which is a real indictment as Virgin Blue was renowned for their culture. That has been totally lost over the past 10 years, and now Virgin Australia don't appear to stand for anything other than not being Qantas, but wrap it up in red and purple to try and cling on to that 'Virgin-ness'. It looks increasingly hollow and fake IMHO.
10 years ago Qantas were a fuddy-duddy old airline with a complacent attitilude born from a lack of domestic competition and an illusion of former grandeur. The hard products were far from class leading, the soft product on-board was lacklustre, the lounges were tired and the staff were disinterested. What a difference a decade makes! There is a palpable energy and enthusiasm at Qantas these days that I have never seen before. The products are being reinvigorated, exciting new routes are being launched, and the staff are (mostly) enthusiastic and clearly proud of their airline.
I've said it before and will continue to say it, I loved Virgin Blue but cannot stand what they have morphed into.
Staff conduct at VA needs a big kick up the backside, and hopefully the new CEO provides the kick most of their staff need.
Currently VA staff do all they can to avoid passenger interaction. They hide in the galleys during boarding, and God help you if you dare show them your boarding pass (oh God, they actually have to do their job and greet passengers). You then get the privilege of being treated like a nuisance for the duration of your flight as a protein ball is hurled at you, and you're reluctantly offered an extremely limited range of drinks on flights (water, juice, or tea and coffee - and of course tea and coffee leave the menu if you hit turbulence). If you're lucky you'll get one of the sealed hospital-style cups of juice. If you're unlucky, you get a small cup of juice. Then there's the pre-landing Nazi run, where you must prove to the cabin crew your seat is in the upright position (despite the fact you haven't reclined the seat at all during the flight). Upon disembarkation, the customary thank you to the cabin crew (again, hiding in the galley), might get you an annoyed grunt in response.
It's not much better in business class - where you might get a half-arsed meal, if you're lucky. Seriously, how hard is it to cater appropriately for 8 high paying passengers (where, again, serving passengers is seen as an imposition by the crew).
Then there's the hard product. The ex-DJ aircraft stand out like the proverbial, with the tired looking interiors, that not even the red and purple seat backs can hide. Sure, the outside looks nice and fresh, but it's a whole different story inside.
Compare that to QF - warm greeting by staff, a decent snack (at worst), or a fairly decent meal (at best), and a wide range of drinks (including soft drinks) available. If you have a particularly nice crew on board, they'll slip you a second drink too. Service is efficient, but the crew engage in a little chit chat with passengers.
And the hard product - even if you do have an older plane, it still feels fresh.
Even the customer service from the crew on JQ is much more personable than VA. JQ happily address passengers by name - even during the service. On my last flight, the passenger next to me was personally greeted by name and advised of their spending credit as part of their bundle package. I then bought a couple of items from the menu, but asked for a receipt. The crew then addressed me by name, and passed me an iPad to enter my e-mail address for the receipt.
The fact that I got more personable treatment on a JQ flight than I did on a business class VA flight says it all really.
Now it was only a few years ago Pam Ann's parody of Qantas was scarily accurate https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLEcid15gks&t=24s
. Since then, they've improved out of sight with cabin refreshes, improved snacks, better crew engagement etc. You're even seeing that culture filter down to Jetstar. These days that parody could easily be applied to VA. There is hope for VA, and if the CEO can pull the staff into line, then that'll be a good start. We'll see what happens.