Each time we book a flight, we wait with bated breath to see how much it will cost to add on all the essentials we need for a convenient and enjoyable experience. Virgin’s new ‘3 ways to fly’, which offers Economy Light, Economy Classic, and Economy delight, is a new way of framing this rapidly changing but increasingly notable pain point in the customer journey. Is it an even further stripping back of basic seat benefits and a chance to inflate the prices of essentials, or instead a new & beneficial way of looking at the consumer purchasing journey?
There was nothing short of an uproar from BA’s loyal customers when it announced it would no longer provide complementary snacks on short-haul flights, and as permitted hand luggage allowances become smaller and smaller, it’s rare feel satisfied with the value for money of a standard class flight. Constantly being asked if we would like to ‘upgrade’ to receive benefits that 5 years ago would have been included has created for many people a customer purchasing journey that’s clouded by negativity and distrust of airlines.
Virgin’s new product bundling takes a step further down this path, and although it presents the option for an even more basic standard product, the impact on the customer journey may be ultimately positive. A key pain point when booking a flight is the continued drip-feed of purchasing add-ons, and seeing what you initially perceived as a low-cost flight grow and grow by the time you reach check-out. The customer feels let down, disheartened and sometimes deceived. By bundling offers, and delivering an easily-understandable and segmented product, Virgin may have made the psychological purchasing journey of the customer easier and more enjoyable, even with possible price increases.
Virgin’s Economy range takes a step in the right direction because it makes different price tiers benefit-led and easily understandable for the consumer, rather than giving multiple options to down-grade or begrudgingly include add-ons. A business person taking a 1 hour flight can rest-assured they are getting a good-value product that will satisfy their basic needs, while those who know they need more leg-room, priority boarding and extra baggage can be guided by one simple fare and product rather than jigsawing prices and benefits together themselves through a complicated customer journey.
How could you simplify your customer’s purchasing journey by making clearer, more transparent pricing options?