Top 10 Reasons Why Virgin America Is the Best Airline I’ve Ever Flown
I’m sitting here at 30,577 feet right now flying over Florida headed back to SFO in San Francisco. How do I know my altitude? It says so right on the interactive map that’s on the display in the set in front of me (powered by Google Maps) which tracks my flight all the way home.
I was going to process some photos (and I’m sure I still will) but when I fly Virgin America I’m just so tickled at what a great experience it is, I thought I’d post a quick blog post about the experience.
By way of disclosure Virgin America is flying me for free to Toronto next month as part of a program where they are offering what they call “influencers” a free round trip ticket between SFO and Toronto to try and promote this new route for them. The free flight was with no strings attached other than I disclose the free flight if I blog about Virgin.
But I loved Virgin before they ever offered me the free trip. I flew them earlier this year from Florida to SFO and was equally impressed and blogged about them then.
Anyways. On to the list of the top 10 reasons why Virgin America kicks ass over every airline I’ve ever flown.
1. Every plane seems to be new and is equipped with AC power at every seat and optional wifi that you can purchase — In coach! AC power is *HUGE*. Having AC power means that I can work on my laptop even doing battery intensive tasks like photo processing. It is so nice not to have to worry about trying to conserve power on my Mac.
2. Short check in lines and easy to use self serve kiosks. This is the second time I’ve flown Virgin now and both times there was literally no line. I’m not sure how they do this. My flight is a full flight back to SFO and obviously they fly other routes. But I’ve never had a wait with them. Even better the self service kiosk was easy to use and quickly pumped out 6 compact boarding passes for me and my family.
3. Free satellite TV in the in seat entertainment system. This is great to stay up on top of the news on stations like CNN and CNBC, but it’s also great because it includes things like the Disney Channel. This trip I’m traveling with a family of 6 and being able to put some headphones on the kids and let them watch a few Disney shows means less arguing about who gets to sit by the window.
The satellite TV system also has a mixture of very hip TV. Boing Boing TV, Current TV. Interesting programming.
4. A great selection of music. They have tons of my favorite bands to listen to. I was listening to Band of Horses earlier and now I’ve got my favorite new artist of 2010 on right now B.o.B. aka Bobby Ray. Ironically the song that’s playing right now is Airplanes. Appropriate.
5. I LOVE ordering my beer from the screen. I order it. Pay with my credit card. And it just miraculously shows up in my seat. I think I’m going to have a few more after this one.
6. Everything about this airline seems brand spanking new. The planes are super clean. They don’t have shag carpet fabric from the 70s peeling off the side of the interior like recent flights I’ve taken on Delta, Southwest and United. The lighting is cool purple. It feels more like you’re visiting a spa than taking a flight. The seats are all leather even in coach. I’m not sure if I technically have more room in my seat than other airlines, but it sure feels like it.
7. The flight attendants are super helpful. When we flew in to Fort Lauderdale we had a tight connection to Bahamas Air. Without even asking or requesting any information on this connection, one of the flight attendants came to my seat during the flight to let me know what Terminal my flight was out of and told me the best way to get there. He was a super friendly guy. It feels like the flight attendants on Virgin America are so much more positive than other airlines. It seems like they are having a good time even though they are working.
8. The cost of the flights are very reasonable. I paid $400 for roundtrip tickets to Fort Lauderdale from SFO. That was as cheap or cheaper than every other major airline I looked at.
9. In addition to the satellite TV they have a bunch of other great programming. TED talks? On an airline? That’s pretty cool. Believe it or not they even have instructional videos on things like how to use Twitter or Facebook. Haha. I don’t need those but someone else might. They also have a seriously good line up of pay per view movies and even better great TV. Entourage, Californication, United States of Tara, True Blood (Season 2 was great).
10. Seat to seat chatting. Of course you could always chat over Yahoo Messenger or AIM or something like that on your wifi connected device. But it’s fun to chat seat to seat too.
Oh two other cool things about Virgin America. It’s the first place I’ve ever seen a video commercial for Google’s Chrome browser. They showed the commercial right after the funny video on in flight safety (much better than the tired old routine I’ve seen a million times by flight attendants in person in the past). If you haven’t switched to Google Chrome from Firefox yet you’re months behind. 😉
And secondly, these pictures that accompany this blog post? I just took them maybe an hour ago. Took them, offloaded them to my Mac with my card reader, processed them, uploaded them to Flickr and posted them to my blog post. All while up here in the sky. The first one is of the wing out my window and the second one is of my wife operating the in seat entertainment system.
My Google Maps shows that we’re over Louisiana now. Time to finish this post and get back to processing more photos. I shot the Miss Teen USA Pageant contestants last night. More on that later. Coincidently B.o.B. is now playing “I’ll Be in the Sky.”