10 May 2011

by Marc Passion

Virgin, I’ve got the Blues

Where do I begin? It’s RANT time and have I got a bag full. Or should I begin by saying:

Dear Mr Branson,

"I'm way to bust to make a decision right now"

Let me introduce myself. I am a self proclaimed Travel Extraordinaire. I’ve been on the move for many years now experiencing different cultures from many different countries. This has taught me many things including how I take many things for granted, but when I haven’t had access to these things for some time, I forget about them and become accustomed to the simple necessities of life.

I have flown Virgin Blue, Pacific Blue, V Australia and V America numerous times during 2010 and 2011 and these are observations from my latest flight from Honiara to Brisbane.

After a quick and easy check-in and boarding I thought, hmmm I’m a bit peckish. So I opened ‘the menu’, but not just any menu. This was a menu put together by celebrity chef Luke Mangan. First of all who the hell is Luke Mangan? And secondly why would any chef with a certain amount of credibility want to put their name to an Airline catering service? Wouldn’t that be lowering your standards? That would be like Stephen Hawking teaching the times table.

Seriously Luke, have a think next time and if you want to be famous open the best restaurant in the world…

Now ‘the menu’ has a huge selection of Luke’s Meal Selections and continued through the menu is Luke Mangan noodles, Luke Mangan Beef Pie…..Luke this, Luke that. Hello! I get it. Luke Mangan designed the menu.

Once you get over the Luke factor, you’ll then have your eyes open right up and the look of amazement on your face from the exuberant prices on the menu.

After 5 weeks of eating terrible food in a mining camp my mouth began to water with the choice of  a ‘Hot Gourmet Beef Pie Meal’. AU$15.00! A pie and a beer comes’ to $15.00? Really? I guess the special tomato relish made up the other 5 bucks.

Bring back good old tomato sauce I say and drop the price while you’re at it.

Now, if you think you’re a bit hungry on a flight remember your budget. The average wage in Australia surely doesn’t cover those prices to buy a pie and a beer. Not Fair I say! And if you think that’s unfair imagine the folk from the Solomon Islands. If they ever managed to afford a flight to Australia, what would they eat? The guys earn $7 Solomon Dollars an hour at the mine I work at, which is the equivalent of $1 Australian dollar. It would take them 15 hours before they could afford a meet pie and beer!

While all this was going through my mind I hear the PA: “If you’d like a TV it will be $20.00”. What? The flight I’m on is just over 2 hours. About the time it will take to get all this off my chest. How can Virgin justify $20.00 when you can’t even finish watching the movie you started?

At the time of this announcement I had the Virgin Blue Magazine in my hand. This might be a coincidence but here goes.I see an advert for the Life Style Channel. It will be showing Donna Hay and some tricks for cooking. A few pages later I read an article titled ‘Beside Myself’.

This is the first paragraph from the article:

‘Anyone who travels for work knows the story. After a while, the initial excitement fades like that of a reality TV cooking show.’

Conclusion: Virgin is offering you a $20.00 fee to get over your excitement. Now that sounds like a holiday.

But after all this, I am impressed with the new uniforms. Like Mad Men the TV series, Virgin have brought back a sort of 60’s look which I do find quite sexy. (But a small complaint from one of the Airhostess’ was that it was a very impractical outfit for their working requirements).

Now that that is all off my chest, post your comments below. I’d like to hear about your flying experiences. Whether it is good, bad or funny!


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  • Nomadic Samuel

    Mate, that´s a fantastic article. I love the wit and sarcasm. At least, when I fly with Air Asia if I want a hot meal it´s going to be $5 at most. Those prices are seriously outrageous! I guess it´s best to load up the belly and make sure you get your fill of boob tube in b4 the flight :)

  • Marc Passion

     So I sent this to Richard Branson….not hopeful of a reply though.

  • Marc Passion

    Cheers Nomad Sam. I wrote this after working 5 weeks straight, therefore a little irritated. But still, I’m sure I got my point made. And for loading up before a flight, always! (Especially boob tube haha)

  • James Clark

    Ouch, those prices are crazy! I found out the same thing with Jetstar recently as well. Not good value at all. Like Sam said, AirAsia offer good value meals on their flights.

  • Marc Passion

    Hey Namad Jimmy! Yeah crap prices. I flew Air Asia a while a go too. Found them to be the best value out there.

  • Curly Claire05

    So that’s why you purchased a Premuim ticket this time so you can stuff your face for nothing! Flirt with the hostie and you may be lucky enough to score a free bread roll with your soup haha!

  • Marc Passion

    Ha! The bread roll was an effort to make up for dropping the airbag on my head! And actually I used points for this flight.

  • Curly Claire05

    I know. Our paperwork tells us that!
    Just didn’t wanna mention that in case I was wrong therefore insulted a full fare Premuim passenger! The oxygen mask was deserved & required for demonstration purposes and it got your attention right?!
    Made me and Tim laugh anyway!

  • Marc Passion

    Glad you guys were able to laugh at a valued customer! But deserved? Was I not paying attention? And I was a full points paying passenger….to enjoy the extra comforts of a red seat.