It was curious to read a press release extolling how V Australia has topped Roy Morgan Research’s latest Airline Satisfaction Report. The survey found V Australia passengers are 91% “very” or “fairly” satisfied, which is ahead of stalwarts like Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Cathay Pacific, and, yes, Qantas.
One must assume those are V Australia passengers and not Etihad passengers codesharing on V Australia. The latter, it is understood, are not pleased to find themselves on V Australia.
To V Australia and management’s credit, it has had an Etihad flight attendant accompany V Australia flights to and from Abu Dhabi while the flight and partnership kicks off. But the product differences between Etihad and V Australia are causing headaches.
First, there is no first. V Australia does not offer first class, forcing Etihad first class passengers into V Australia’s business class that, unlike Etihad business, has a seat in the middle. Etihad’s staggered seating in business offers more privacy than V Australia’s seats in a row. Indeed, V Australia’s seats are remnants of the previous management that wanted an economical business class.
Then there are the lack of perks. For customers in the pointy end, V Australia
has no offers limo transfer service only for full-fare business passengers, unlike Etihad. In the back of the cabin in economy, V Australia does not offer in-seat power, unlike Etihad.
It is inevitable V Australia’s premium cabin will have to be upgraded to align itself better with Etihad, Asian partners, and future partners beyond Delta. (Ironically, Delta features the Virgin Atlantic-like business class suite V Australia wanted but did not purchase for its 777s due to Virgin Atlantic suing the manufacturer, Contour, over allegedly breaking the patent and selling a knock-off version to airlines including Delta.)
Having secured a strong customer base and now being profitable, it seems logical for V Australia to be able to upgrade its product and increase fares and yields in the process.
The question for V Australia is when aircraft can be taken out of their tight schedule and when, amidst change programmes and the carrier already tightening up on spending, there will be capital to make such investments.
Update – comment from V Australia:
V Australia does offer a complimentary limousine service to eligible International Business Guests, including all Etihad codeshare Guests. To request their limousine transfers Etihad codeshare Guests can call Etihad, or they can call our V Australia Guest Contact Centre directly (Australia: 13 82 87; UAE: 8000 170 050; UK: 0843 104 7777; Other International: +61 7 3333 6888). More information can be found on our website at http://www.vaustralia.com.au/in-flight-services/international-business/limo-serv ice/index.htm
V Australia passengers may be happy, but Etihad codeshare passengers aren’t
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