Pic credit to @PlaneCrazy in IFVARB Spotlight Banner
Infinite Flight Virtual Airline Review Board
Welcome to the IFVARB Community Spotlight
It’s hard to believe we are already in August and the return of many to various classrooms whether they be virtual or in person, most people going back to work, and the Infinite World seeing the frantic activity coming a little bit more back to normal.
This month’s edition, a little late because of my own laziness, takes a different look at two different CEO’s in our community. The first is @KaiM, a new edition to the IFVARB Member team (at the time of interview he had not been selected just yet). @KaiM is a great leader for our community and a wonderful help for many on the tech side of their VA/VO’s! We also meet up with @Silverlink, one of the very few VA staff members that is actually also a part of the airline in the real world that they oversee on IF (the only other i can think of is @Hopperbolic with Delta). He brings us a unique view of what it’s like to put some of the real-world practices into leading a VA in our community!
Meet the IFVARB team
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To educate the IFC about the Virtual Airline/Organization community, spark creativity of future CEO’s, as well as provide guidance to up and coming staff on what it takes for a successful Virtual Airline or Organization on Infinite Flight
Need Help or Have Questions?
Reach out to the IFVARB Team through PM here on the IFC by messaging @IFVARB!
VA: Virgin Virtual Group
What has your experience been like leading one of the longer lasting VA’s in the community?
“It’s been a rollercoaster. From the start when we rebranded from Virgin America Virtual we were struggling to get pilots. After the rebrand, we got multiple applications daily, but struggled to hold onto pilots with many becoming inactive. Recently this has picked up and the feeling of seeing VA events take flight and you as their ATC is a really unique and cool thing.”
With a VA that has destinations, as well as airlines included, that are spread around the world, what challenges do you see in bringing pilots together in the skies to fly?
“One of the things we struggle greatly with is event times. A recent survey found the majority of our members are European, and we’ve been adjusting our event times to suit this while trying to make them somewhat feasible for Americans and Australians (our other two main audiences) as well. Another challenge has been recruiting pilots. Being branded as an international airline group sometimes has its troubles as potential pilots may not see us as their home airline, even though we may operate one such airline.”
With many codeshares and airlines that fly with Virgin, what has it been like working and collaborating with other VA’s in the community?
“It’s been a fantastic experience. I really love the way IFVARB VAs differentiate from real life airlines in the way of competition. Many are aware the wars for business between Qantas and Virgin Australia as well as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic can be rather fierce, however we’ve had the amazing opportunity to collaborate with both of those respective VAs and I remain in frequent contact with QVG’s CEO as we share a common interest of programming.”
As someone that is good with a lot of the behind the scenes work, what do you think makes for a good website for a good VA/VO?
" A good website should have a nice flow. It shouldn’t take more than 3 or 4 clicks from the main site to log in, another 4 or so to file a PIREP and no more than 2 to access the pilot handbook. The same goes for applying, it should be quick and seamless. I think a VA’s public website should be simple and informative. Don’t put walls of text, put things in accordion menus (see the fleet section of the VGVA Website for an example) where you can and use shadows and cards wherever you can. I highly recommend following ux.abhi and dainwalker on Instagram for great UI (User Interface) and UX (User Experience) tips."
What advice would you give to prospective CEO’s that are looking to start their own VA/VO soon?
“Experience in other VAs is well underrated. Really make sure that you’ve got a solid 5+ months as staff at VAs before you apply to start your own. This will help you gain experience and make sure being a CEO is what you really want to do. When you’re in that position as staff, don’t just see it as a chore that means you can be a CEO, really put in and try and leave said VA or VO better than you found it. You may even find, like me, that you want to stick with that VA/VO and work your way up the staff team there.
If you do decide to start a VA/VO though, don’t rush it. Think about every single aspect of your VA from the pilot’s point of view and really make sure it improves the experience in some way. Focus on quality, not speed and ask some people to review things for you along the way. Most of all though, don’t give up! There were many times where me and the rest of the VGVA staff could have chosen to close VGVA and it may have been for the better in the short term, but then we would not have had the opportunities such as our Crew Center. Just keep innovating! Innovate to the point where people love it so much that other VAs start doing the same and always put your members first.”
What has it been like seeing your vision for easyJet Virtual be released to the community and grow from the start?
“It has been amazing but challenging from the start! Our previous CEO had left sudden due to real life being busy as normal which left me to take over with immediate effect which I think has done well for the VA as everyday we are all watching it grow to be the best that it can be & I am proud with everything that we have achieved so far & we are only just getting started!”
For someone that works for easyJet in the real world, what is your experience like working in the aviation industry as well as how has it been battling through during the pandemic?
“My experience in the aviation world has been amazing! I have been doing it for three years now! & I am no where near done yet. Surprisingly during the pandemic not much has changed onboard the aircraft apart from wearing face masks & keeping the galley & Isle areas clear! Passengers have been really nice & friendly also very understanding! Flights have been full as well!”
How have you used your real-world experience in aviation to help lead your VA?
“I have brought in many SOPS used onboard into easyJet Virtual which has been a benefit for me & everyone else which is apart of us which makes the VA as great as it is to have inside knowledge of actual easyJet & implement all those features into the VA which our pilots love! I have used it also for getting the correct understanding on which aircrafts can be used on what routes & their restrictions ! Pilots are very interested to see what happens in real life aviation days when I’m off to work to do with easyJet & of course other airlines!”
Where do you see easyJet Virtual heading as we move into the fall?
“I see easyJet Virtual picking up more over Fall as during that time of year more people join infinite flight & we hope we can attract those new pilots straight away! A new VA scheme will be available for pilots along with our current schemes for our current pilots to enjoy & to keep the VA fresh as we always look for ways to improve & never settle or what we have now!”
What advice would you give to prospective CEO’s that are interested in starting a new VA or VO?
“The advice I would give to new CEO’s starting a new VA/VO is to not make entree exams too difficult as we have to think most people could have hidden disabilities such as anxiety & dyslexia etc which can stop them from completing exams to their full potential but they can actually fly on infinite flight well & professionally! Also the best thing to do is to be highly active within your VA engage with all of your pilots & create a close bond as they will look up and see that their CEO is putting the effort in & they will follow suit!”
We hope you enjoy our IFVARB Community Spotlight Series! Have a suggestion of who you’d like to hear from? Comment in the thread and we’ll put them on our list in the coming editions! We thank all of our VA/VO staff members and pilots for making this such a great community to be a part of.