Or rather the experience of two highly competitive airlines.
I flew this weekend to Fort Myers to watch my beloved Red Sox at Spring Training. On the way there, I flew Song. And boy was I disappointed. It was the classic case of marketing edifice. An airline portrayed as youthful, more feminine, a distinct brand from it's parent, Delta. Yet the reality was a Delta flight with different colored seats.
On the way back, I flew Jet Blue. It was fantastic, a brand where its marketing flowed seamlessly from its product and staff to the point that they allowed you to access the ppv movies for free because of a 70 minute delay (while eating on free blue chips). If it comes down to a war, I believe Jet Blue will win, and win easily. As Seth Godin points out in 'Purple Cow' it has the elements of a remarkable brand where its point of difference is baked in to the product, and doesn't rely on 'traditional' marketing to make the difference. I think Song, in the end, may go the way of other low cost airlines launched by old fashioned behemoths such as Continental Lite - all marketing style, and very little substance.