Torrential Tannoys – can’t we just have a quiet life?

They say life imitates art, and one area I think this is true is in the growing number of speakers blasting out banal “information” tannoys. If you think of any fiction set in the future with some controlling regime (1984, Brave New World, Blakes 7), there are droning announcements blighting the lives of the citizens as they try to go about their daily business.

Anyone who uses public transport in the UK should be able to relate to this – the never-ending torrent of automated announcements that seem to bury useful information (like which station is next) in a stream of verbose drivel (to mind the gap, take our stuff with us, and remember to breathe).

Is “tannoy” really a portmanteau of “to annoy”?

Continue reading “Torrential Tannoys – can’t we just have a quiet life?”

Virgin Atlantic launches “all new” Economy service

I saw that Virgin Atlantic have today launched a new Economy inflight service – their “best ever”, so they say. There is a shiny video online.

 

Call me a sceptic that belongs in an episode of “Grumpy Old Men“, but I can’t really see much from the promotional video that makes me think “Wow”:

  • The branding and packaging has changed – all part of marketing the product to the customer
  • It still features that kiddies’ tea party sized “mini-loaf” of bread that I remember from my first VS flight years ago
  • It still contains some classic Virgin touches like mid-flight ice-cream, now served from a cutesy usherette tray
  • The coffee/tea cups seem smaller than before, but serving dessert with coffee/tea seems a good move, having eaten my dessert and then waited ages for coffee.
  • The menu cards have returned (Virgin took them away early in the 2000’s as a cost-cutting measure)
  • Is the new lightweight tray, with it’s little indentations, meant to remind you of being at primary school?
  • Along with the new space-saving and lighter tray, there seems to be a reduction in some pre-packaged optional items, which is a plus – ever thought about how many packets of unasked for sugar airlines throw away each year?
  • But, they still use those woeful “Dairystix” pre-packed milk tubes – a triumph of packaging design that allows you to spill weird-tasting milk over your neighbour or, if you’re really unlucky, yourself. What about a milk jug?
  • It looks like afternoon tea-type second services are making a comeback, having been heavily pared back in the last decade.
  • But the vtravelled blog article says that “on shorter flights, you will get a light meal like high-tea” – does that mean no main meal at all on some sectors?
  • We don’t get to see what’s inside the shiny new packages – is it still the same iffy food that was always there before?

It’s good to see Virgin reinstating some elements of the service which were taken away in cuts of the last decade, and the weight-saving and waste-reducing features deserve applauding, but “all new” and “best ever” seems to be on the verge of overstating things. If they really meant to show how good this new service was, perhaps they wouldn’t be afraid to show us what we could expect inside the boxes.

Unless it really is yet another watery, drippy, lasagne, (or the ever dreary, ever present anaemic sausage and cement mash) in which case I wouldn’t blame them at all.

Postscript:

About an hour or two after publishing this blog post, I got the following email from Virgin Atlantic…

We’d like your feedback

Dear Customer,

In an effort to better understand our customers and improve our services at Virgin Atlantic, we are seeking to gain feedback about our customers’ use of social networking sites, particularly Facebook and Twitter.

To help us obtain this feedback, please click on the link below and fill in this survey.

So, someone or something is watching, somewhere 🙂