This past weekend, I flew between Seattle and San Francisco for a friend’s wedding. Beautiful wedding, by the way… The cool thing was that Virgin America just started flying between SEA and SFO, and I have to say, the experience was great. I really liked the new airline. First off, the planes are great: new A320’s with comfortable leather seats, colorful mood lighting, and an innovative entertainment system called Red. While still in Beta, Red was great – live satellite TV, on-demand movies and video games that you play with a controller that pops out of your armrest. You can even order food and pay for it right from your seat with the built-in credit card reader. Coming soon is WiFi and wired internet, which VA says they hope to have by the end of the year. And of course I can’t forget to mention the walk-up wattle bottle bar in the rear of the plan – no more thirsty mouths because TSA won’t let you bring your Nalgene on the plane!
Beyond just what the planes offer, the service was excellent. Boarding was quick and organized, announcements were meaningful and kept to a minimum. And of any airline I’ve ever flown, VA was the quickest to let you use your electronic devices (and made you turn them off at only the last possible second), and the quickest to turn off the seatbelt sign and leave it off through the flight, even when encountering a few very minor bumps. Maybe I just got lucky and had good weather, but it really seemed that the pilots were very attentive to passenger comfort, a huge leap ahead the other domestic airlines I’m used to flying.
If VA starts Seattle to Chicago flights, they’re my new favorite airline. Here’s hoping they are able to expand even in the tough market for airlines right now. The attention to passenger comforts is really a level above the rest. If you get a chance to fly, VA, do!