Virgin Airlines Is Totally Not Screwing the American Public

From charging passengers per pound to failed rebranding efforts, it’s no secret that we love following the PR trials and tribulations of the airline industry.

Air travel is critical to the personal and professional lives of the American public. So, it is important that we recognize the recognition of Virgin Airlines as the most reliable domestic airline in the United States (according to the 2013 Airline Quality Rating report).

Though many in the public see Richard Branson, the public face and private owner of Virgin Airlines, as some creepy billionaire hybrid of Mary Poppins and Andy Gibb, the brand certainly resonates with local travelers — and airlines everywhere should take note.

The Airline Quality Rating report does something very simple in measuring how successfully airlines fulfill the four most basic and pressing needs of customers:

1. On-time arrivals
2. Denied boardings
3. Mishandled bags
4. Customer complaints

Listen up, airline brands: a basic rule of public relations states that if you want to understand what your customers desire, you need to ask them. The AQR report conveniently measures how well those desires are fulfilled.

Though we think being nickel-and-dimed ranks up there with air travelers’ frustrations, the number one brand attribute we crave is punctuality. Please, get us where we’re going on time. What else do we ask of our travel providers?

  • Don’t oversell our flights. How can you sell us an empty seat that doesn’t even exist? How is that legal?
  • Please don’t lose our luggage. At the very least, when we report lost luggage please don’t treat us as though it’s our fault.
  • Finally, listen to us like you mean it. We’re not talking about the fine folks who listen to our desperate pleas from across the ticket counter; those people are angels. We’re talking about the Richard Bransons of your airlines. What are their names again? That’s right. We don’t know.

Other than that, you’re all doing great. But we’re still going with Virgin.