A New Way to Fly
Based on Kevin Rose and Alex Albrecht’s recommendation on Diggnation, I chose to fly Virgin America from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
The price is extremely competitive even when placed beside the more nefarious airlines like US Airways and American Airlines, who slip in hidden fees for checked baggage and even plain water.
But the experience of flying on Virgin America is unlike anything I’ve ever been on. And I’ve flown quite a bit.
The first hint that Richard Branson’s airline is unique came even before stepping on the plane. The sign that tells passengers to check in oversized luggage read:
Love your bag. Let it ride with bags its own size.
Personal, humourous and human. I like Virgin already.
Stepping into the plane was like stepping into the club. The lighting was a psychedelic purple and a large glass panel framed the entrance from the front row of seats. I half-expected bottles of
krystal cristal (thanks Min) to be handed out.
The macbook white panels around the large touchscreen LCDs were extremely luxurious. I couldn’t find episodes of Diggnation and had to settle on CNN Live. Unlike any plane I’ve ever flown on, Virgin’s flight entertainment system starts the moment you plonk on your seat. The headphone jack is also standard, allowing you to plug in your own earphones should you decide not to use the ones provided. I really wish other airlines will follow suit.
The flight was excellent, and staffed by extremely professional employees who really projected themselves as a cohesive team. I had to change my flight, which cost me a pretty buck, and the Virgin employee helping me over the phone provided one of the best on-phone experiences I’ve ever had. He was informative and efficient. While I don’t perceive myself as one biased towards foreign accents (I’m not American), I felt valued as a customer knowing Virgin didn’t outsource the call management.
I would definitely recommend flying Virgin wherever available. Where many carriers are keen on giving us less, Virgin has provided more than I expected from a short domestic flight.