Virgin Airlines' cabin staff are being told to take etiquette classes as part of a new program called "Elevate" which aims to improve their posture, language and knowledge of food and wine.
At the moment only the Australian arm of Virgin Airlines will be put into the classes. The Australian crew have also been asked to immediately stop calling passengers "mate" unless a customer has specifically requested they be addressed in such a way, and that request is documented in their frequent flyers program.
One flight attendant has claimed that the new etiquette classes were in fact about changing the cabin crew's sexualized image, according to Britain's Sunday Telegraph. The flight attendant said, "They want us to get away from that 'sex' look that's been attached to the company."
In Australia Quantas is a favorite among business passengers, and Virgin Australia is currently conducting a drive to try and capture some of those customers. The Virgin Australia brand has already dropped business fares by up to 25 percent, in an announcement by Virgin's Australia's CEO John Borghetti recently.
The wider makeover for the airline in Australia has also seen the Virgin airport lounge at Melbourne airport refurbished; with the pool table taken out, and a special buffet designed by celebrity chef Luke Mangan put in its place.
Virgin is highly sensitive over its cabin crew's image, and sees them as the face of the company. Earlier this year Virgin Atlantic hired a "whispering coach" to teach their business crew to talk at a level between 20 and 30 decibels, which is considered the most appropriate level for business class passengers.