Satisfying service experience
Company service profile
Virgin Atlantic (established in 1984) is the second largest and the third largest airline in the UK and Europe respectively (Virgin Atlantic, 2014). Its headquarters is based in Crawley, near Gatwick Airport in London, in the UK. Its route network includes destinations in the US, Africa, India, Far East and the Caribbean (Virgin Atlantic, 2014). The carrier's main competitors are British Airways, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific and South African Airlines (Virgin Atlantic, 2014).
Virgin Atlantic’s core tangible service is passenger transportation (Lovelock, 1983). This is because the airline has incorporated its service system into ...view middle of the document...
Due to the perishability nature of services, the airline has developed strategies to counter the high peak and low seasons. During the high season, Virgin Atlantic normally may hire part time staff to deal with extra passengers whereas in low seasons, the carrier uses discount prices and adding extra value to the trip. For example, they customise VIP lounges and seat locations, hence, giving the passengers the feeling of care and that the airline looks for the benefit of its customers. In order to seek information about the carrier, Virgin Atlantic has broad avenues for the same. For instance, they have up to date websites that contains all their services and products offered. Moreover, they use travel agencies to allow their clients to make reservations and bookings as well as seeking information about the carrier’s flights. This way, the airline has made it its relationship with its customers more convenient and strong (Lovelock, 1983). However, since travel agents may pose competition to the carrier, Virgin Atlantic provides user-friendly strategies to its customers in order for them to make ticket bookings directly through the airline.
In Virgin Atlantic customer expectations are very high. The services range from online seat reservations, four-star staff service, on-board magazine, travel kit for both business and economy classes of flights, individual choice of meals, complimentary meals and hot and cold drinks and duty free services. Furthermore, Virgin Atlantic’s customers expect club house lounges on-board bars for business class (Skytrax, 2010).
The main factors that contributed to the expectations mentioned above include explicit performance of the carrier’s service such as its advertising techniques, the carrier’s implicit service performance that includes its affordable price, positive word of mouth from travel agencies and friends, past flight experiences personal needs (Brink & Berndt, 2004, p. 56; Wisner & Stanley, 2008, p. 103) and personal psychological factors (Dudovskiy, 2012). Furthermore, the influences of these expectations were the carrier’s previous records of service and its competitor service benchmarks (Rai, 2013).
Therefore, from the service encounter above, the performance was way above the zone of tolerance. Furthermore, the zone was so wide in that it increased the satisfaction level.
General consumer experience
The Virgin Atlantic flight from to Johannesburg in South Africa to Heathrow Airport in London on June 7th, 2014 was the most memorable one in my life. Although I wanted to travel using a well-recognized airline, I was hesitant to choose Virgin Atlantic because I had not used it before (Wilson, Zeithaml, Bitner, & Gremler, 2012). After extensive online research and several experience clues (Berry, Wall, & Carbone, 2006, p. 44), I chose the carrier. Both online reservation and booking system took a very short time to process. The in-flight service experience in...