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Since launching in 2007, Virgin America has been the epitome of a market disruptor. The San Francisco-based airline has positioned itself as a customer experience leader, offering travelers amenities and services years before competitors. What the airline lacks in extensive travel options (Virgin America flies to 24 U.S. destinations, compared to United’s 342), it more than makes up for in unique CX.
Leveraging the latest technologies, Virgin America was among the first to offer Wi-Fi and on-demand flight entertainment on across its fleet. Technology is often a large factor in building a disruptor, as these types of amenities go a long way in offering consumers an experience that feels new, fresh, and completely unlike what they’ve seen before.
Combining these advances with the oft-ridiculed “airline food,” Virgin America offers on-demand touchscreen ordering throughout its planes, putting a quality twist on a typically poor component of the travel experience.
This dedication to the customer experience has not gone unnoticed by industry experts: the company boasts an unprecedented nine straight awards for “Top Domestic Airline” from Travel+Leisure.
“It’s a tremendous honor to be recognized as the ‘Top Domestic Airline’ by Travel + Leisure readers for the ninth consecutive year,” said David Cush, President & CEO of Virgin America. “To be recognized in this way year-after-year – even as our competitors have tried to catch up with Virgin America, is a testament to our innovative onboard experience and the amazing guest service our teammates deliver every day.”
Disruption is a nebulous concept; no company can point to one specific aspect as its “disruptor,” but no one can deny the impact when an organization pulls these factors together to change the industry. While airlines have come to be among the top verticals when it comes to reliance on loyalty programs, Virgin has found a new way to build brand advocacy. While the company does offer its Elevate program, customers have largely pledged their devotion thanks to the airline’s commitment to creating a luxurious experience in an industry that rarely offers such high-level customer experience.
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