Should Virgin Australia bring back domestic premium economy?

8 replies

VAGoldflyer

Member since 28 Dec 2016

Total posts 1

Longtime ABT reader but just signed up this evening and wanted to share something with everybody here. Earlier this month I was invited by Virgin Australia to attend a focus group where the airline wanted to workshop the idea of introducing a form of premium economy on domestic routes. I suppose that should be 're-introducing' because of course the airline had a 'premium' cabin instead of business class back when it was Virgin Blue.

Anyway their idea is to expand the Space + arrangement which on the Boeing 737s is currently just the exit rows and convert the first three rows of economy into an extra legroom area by increasing the spacing between each row. Apparently most American airlines have this and passengers pay for the extra legroom, dedicated overhead lockers etc. Virgin also asked us to think about the name and if 'premium economy' or 'economy plus' or some other name might be more appealing than Space +.

I said that I liked the idea, I am a Gold Velocity member and always fly in domestic economy class so depending on the price difference to economy or even if I could use points to 'upgrade' this could do very well for me.

What does everybody here think about having 'premium economy' rows at the front of Virgin's Boeing 737s?

krisdude

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

Member since 21 Jan 2016

Total posts 28

Air NZ domestic A320 jet services has Seat+ from rows 2 to 12 with seat pitch ranging from 83cm to 86cm. If seated in DEF from rows 2 to 9 the seat pitch is 88cm.

Seat+ is only available to Star Alliance Gold, Gold Elite and Koru members and those passengers who pay full economy fare of J fare on Air NZ co-share partner airlines.

Rows 13 to back of aircraft is 76cm seat pitch.

There is no reason Virgin Australia can not introduce Seat+ on the 738's from rows 3 to 14 with a pitch from 83cm to 86cm for Premium and full economy passengers.

Rows 15 to 30 which currently have a seat pitch of 78cm would reduce to 76cm.


Tim Saunders

Member since 13 Sep 2016

Total posts 30

All US airlines have something like this already, under names like Economy Plus or Economy Comfort or Main Cabin Extra. It must be working for them so I can't see why Virgin wouldn't want to adopt the idea here, and just add a few Space+ rows to the front of the economy cabin.

Of course the big issue will be how Velocity Platinums will feel about losing free seat selection in that first row with its legroom but if there are three rows for example then that's three times the seats for them although they can't expect Virgin to do this and not 'up sell' those seats to regular economy passengers so they will probably have to accept choosing a normal seat further back and a free 'upgrade' to the Space+ rows upon availability if those Space+ seats are not all sold.

Mal

Member since 14 Jun 2013

Total posts 109

I bet most Velocity Platinums will hate this idea because their automatic Row 3 privilege will vanish but it does mean there will be three 'rows 3s' in terms of extra room and not having to fight other passengers for your overhead bin. The US experience is that many top tier frequent flyers are automatically given these seats anyway because they're usually not sold out on every flight.

David

Member since 24 Oct 2010

Total posts 988

Just an update: those following this discussion can find a little more information on Virgin's Space+ 'economy plus' workshop sessions at http://www.ausbt.com.au/virgin-australia-mulls-economy-plus-extra-legroom-rows.

Last editedby David at Dec 29, 2016, 12:29 PM.

Doubleplatinum Banned

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum

Member since 07 Feb 2013

Total posts 431

The 'dedicated luggage bin space' will be quickly abused by the selfish bogans who like to dump their bags into the business overheads on the way down to economy

David

Member since 24 Oct 2010

Total posts 988

The 'dedicated luggage bin space' will be quickly abused by the selfish bogans who like to dump their bags into the business overheads on the way down to economy

This is where airline new need to be vigilant and not let economy passengers get away with such... and business class travellers should also make a habit of calling this out when they see it, so the crew have the offending passenger collect his bags and take them back where they belong.

ErinB

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 30 May 2016

Total posts 18

Having just returned from a trip to NZ on Air NZ on a discounted Works ticket I appreciated being put in the Space + section for the longer flights (due to platinum velocity). The extra space and service wasn't really viable to those further back as they pass through which to me means that Air NZ is primarily using it as an extra for frequent flyers rather than an point to up sell.

Most people in the Space + section seemed to be frequent flyers (neither flight was full) on varying ticket classes (those who got a meal and those who didn't)

I wouldn't mind Virgin taking a similar approach but am wary of it affecting the way we use points to upgrade and the cost. 

For the american approach Deltas Comfort Plus cost me about AU$400 to upgrade 3 flights (SYD>LAX, LAX>SYD, JFK>LAX) for over 35 hours of flight time. (so about $11.25 per hour) 

jds747400

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 04 Mar 2015

Total posts 6

If they had three rows of Space+, then they could potentially leave Platinums to row 3 for free as it currently is and sell the other two rows only. That would leave it the same as it is today for row 3, except Platinums could purchase row 4 or 5 if they chose, which I would if row 3 was not available. Then it's a win for everyone without losing a privilege.

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Should Virgin Australia bring back domestic premium economy?

Attach Files