I’ve been ruining my carbon footprint by taking quite a few internal flights down to the South West for client meetings over the last six months. One morning, I was stood in the security queue at Stupid O’Clock with the rest of the account team (all in our 20s and 30s) when a uniformed Virgin Atlantic stewardess queued up behind us.
This was a bit unusual because Virgin don’t fly from my local airport. We ended up having a chat (the queue wasn’t exactly shifting fast) and discovered that she was flying down to Gatwick to pick up her working flight at lunchtime. We then got on to remedies for jet lag (some crew swear by Berocca, but there at times when only Red Bull will do, apparently), sleep deprivation and the pros and cons of the M1 vs flying down to London. She wished us a safe flight and a good meeting and was off.
That ten minute encounter did more to foster positive brand associations with Virgin Atlantic than every single piece of marcoms I’ve seen from them. If I was flying across the Atlantic, I’d want her to be looking after me. And, crucially, it wasn’t the sexy, groomed image that Virgin so carefully cultivates for its crew that won me over:
she was just a really warm, engaging girl. I’m not suggesting that the solution to the airline industry’s woes is to put stewardesses in every airport’s road warrior security queue, but maybe the Virgin Atlantic brand could use a little more real-life warmth and down to earth personality?