Basic Economy is currently the “in-thing” with airlines, with Virgin Atlantic last night launching a range of new fares in Economy Class – including its own take on a Basic Economy fare.
So what are the new fares? Three new fare types are being built out:
- Economy Light – Virgin Atlantic version of a Basic Economy Fare. This will be akin to other Basic Economy fares (hand baggage only), seat assignment at check in, and non refundable or amendable
- Economy Classic – the current Virgin Atlantic economy product – with 1 free bag, free seat selection and upgradablity with miles
- Economy Delight – an extra legroom product – with one bag allowance, premium check in and priority boarding
Virgin Atlantic handily put this all in a table to digest
Virgin Atlantic call this “The three new ways to travel are part of a wider investment in Virgin Atlantic’s Economy cabin – delivering innovations on the ground, and in the air”.
Up to 36 Economy Delight (think Delta Comfort Plus/United Economy Plus) will be deployed per aircraft. These seats will be pitched at 34″ legroom. Meanwhile on the ground, automated bag drop is being introduced – with four kiosks to give at Gatwick for Summer 2018, and 18 to go live at Heathrow for Winter 2018.
Also, Virgin Atlantic are teaming up with candle maker Rachel Vosper to create a new scent called “Air.” According to the airline it is “designed to evoke wellbeing and inspire future travel”. The scent will be wafting its way across check in, the gate and upon boarding the aircraft.
The fares also match up to the Delta products (so Basic Economy = Economy Light, Main Cabin = Economy Classic, Comfort+ = Economy Delight).
Onto the quotes, with Craig Kreeger, Chief Executive of Virgin Atlantic, stating:
“We’re unveiling the biggest change to our Economy cabin in over a decade – launching three new ways to fly, and a host of innovations on the ground and in the air as part of a wider £300 million investment in our customers. We know that one size doesn’t fit all, and from spring our customers can afford to be choosy and still travel in the UK’s leading economy cabin.
“We always want flying with Virgin Atlantic to be more special than other airlines, and we’ll never compromise on excellent service, industry leading food and drink and cutting edge inflight entertainment – regardless of which Economy ticket our customers are travelling on, they’ll be able to enjoy all this onboard.”
Meanwhile, Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic, states:
“When I started Virgin Atlantic I wanted to challenge the status quo and make flying amazing – regardless of which cabin you’re in – and that’s still true today. We’re unveiling a multimillion pound investment to make Virgin Atlantic’s Economy cabin the best of any UK airline and setting the bar for others to follow.”
Well, it was inevitable when one airline released their basic economy product, others would follow – and that applies to any of them as they try and work out how top compete against the upstart airlines such as Norwegian Air Shuttle, Primera Air, and so on.
For passengers – it does mean that you need to be extra careful and select the fare that’s right for your needs.
And that goes for any airline. This is even more important when booking tickets on consolidators like Expedia, Kayak, Orbitz, Opodo, etc, etc who normally advertise the cheapest fare – which is normally the Hand Baggage Only/Light fare.
Whilst Virgin Atlantic is meeting a perceived need, for the passenger – remember two words.
Let the buyer beware
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