Virgin America is the equivalent of a TV show that’s a hit with critics but risks being canceled because of failing to attract enough viewers. The San Francisco–based carrier is regularly voted to the top of “best airline” lists. But it is far from the best in the business at making money.
It’s a disappointment that Virgin can’t be more successful. The one time I flew them, they were fantastic, but their lack of a wide network really hurts them. Too many frequent travelers have status on the legacy airlines and need to accumulate and spend more miles.
Virgin’s struggles also illustrates the issues on the barriers to entry are in the airline industry. It will be difficult to disrupt. In the end, Tuttle’s argument is right: we are to blame for their failure because we continue to pay for and put up with sub-par service.