In a bid to win customers from rival airline Qantas, Virgin Australia is planning to upgrade its cabin crew to appeal to business class travelers. Flight attendants are to undergo etiquette classes which will, in the words
of one attendant, "get away from that 'sex' look that's been attached to the company."
In addition to toning down sexy attire, flight personnel will participate in an etiquette program known as Elevate, which will teach grooming, wine-appreciation and body language. The Huffington Post
reported Virgin executive Mark Hassell said "We are not creating clones and we are not creating straight-jackets for people," adding "We want to retain of the spirit that exists within Virgin service style and service behavior but put it in a context that is equally relevant for business-purpose and corporate travelers."
The matey Australian way of addressing passengers will be dropped too with Australianisms such as "mate" no longer acceptable. However, Frequent Fliers may be addressed as "mate" if they have specifically requested such a form of greeting.
The move by Virgin Australia is part of an ongoing effort to enhance the traveling experience, and follows on from an earlier endeavour to lower the decibel level. The airline has invested in whispering classes
for flight attendants to "ensure that no passenger is unduly disturbed whilst sleeping and that all passengers wake up and arrive at their destination feeling rested and refreshed."