Virgin Australia cabin crew to stop saying mate

by Alister POOLE on July 24, 2012

Australian cabin crew are currently being given etiquette training with the hope that passengers will stop being called “mate”.

The term is incredibly popular among Australians due to it referring to a revered kinship that many claim has historical roots. Virgin Australia considers the word to be too informal for dealing with business class passengers.

The carrier is asking its flight attendants to finish a course in etiquette, grooming wine-appreciation, and body language, as reported by the Australian Daily Telegraph. Any staff who have taken an “Elevate” training course are only to be allowed to address frequent flyers as “mate”, providing that they have specifically been asked to by the passenger.

Virgin Australia’s move is apparently part of an attempt to attract business passengers from Qantas, Australia’s flagship carrier. Mark Hassell, group executive of brand and customer experience at Virgin Australia, commented that the airline is not in the business of creating clones or straightjackets for people.

Virgin Australia is also remodelling the airport lounges it has, including removing pool tables from the lounge it has in Melbourne International Airport and introducing both baristas and buffet food. Previously referred to as Virgin Blue, the carrier last year used supermodel Elle Macpherson to launch new cabin crew uniforms.

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