Saturday, October 03, 2009

Virgin Airlines

Hanging out in LAX, stealing Wi-Fi from the OneWorld Lounge, and downloading as much Zune Pass content that I can (which is not much at this range) while waiting for RanmaSao and company to meet up with us. LAX is a bit wierd; inside security it seems nice, but the outward-facing parts are super budget and in stark contrast to the rest of what we've seen.

Our first flight with Virgin America was great! The most noteworthy aspect I think was the people - not the batik-clad models of Singapore Airlines, nor the disgruntled old women of domestic airlines. The best way to put it is that they're normal people; friendly and helpful, but still sharp and willing to tell you to get your butt back in the seat (as one embarassed passenger discovered during taxi). Their staff matches the expectation they set in their advertising communications... go marketing department.

At least for domestic, Virgin seems to charge for *everything* in economy (as do most domestic airlines these days); $20 a checked bag, even for the first! But I was impressed with the options available on the plane, even if they cost money. On-demand movies, wi-fi internet (yes, INTERNET on the plane!), a variety of food selections. Headphones even cost money, but it's a standard 3.5mm, so you can plug in your own (presumably much better) headphones into the system.

The in-flight entertainment system is pretty advanced. Google Map tracking of your flight. On-demand movies. Satellite TV was a nice feature to get 'real' TV, but had the same downsides as said real TV - ie. there's jack all on at 7am. You can order food directly from your screen. They had some online games you could play, but nothing particularly special. Sadly, the system was a bit laggy and not super reliable, which isn't good for channel-surfing, but fine once you've chosen your entertainment.

Overall though, the flight experience was good, and that's what counts. Everything was executed with clockwork precision with no hassle. Smooth takeoff and landing. Comfortable seats for coach with lots of legroom. And no stupid employees doing stupid things to make me mad.

So, I declare Virgin America as win. That is all.

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