Yesterday, I had the oppurunity to check out a brand new Virgin AMERICA plane. As many of you know, Virgin AMERICA launched last month, with daily service between New York JFK, Washington-Dulles, San Francisico, Las Vegas, and my favorite, Los Angeles LAX. Although they share a name, this is a seperate airline from Virgin Atlantic.
Virgin AMERICA is a low-cost, domestic US carrier, but you wouldn't know it. They've set themselves up to compete with jetBlue, and as much as I love 'Blue, I must admit I'm excited for when the time comes that I can try flying Virgin AMERICA .
Virgin America is currently using brand new Airbus A-320's.
Departing from Terminal 4 at JFK, you check in at either a kiosk or the ticketing agent, if you haven't checking in online. The kiosk is very stylish, and prints you out a unique boarding card. Not a flimsy piece of reciept-like paper that some other airlines do.
The boarding process is quick and smooth. You walk down a long ramp that has large glass skylights all around. As you go into the tube and approach the plane, you see a purple glow. It's mood lighting that changes colors. Once your on the plane, there's some variations in the colors, and it's kind of soothing.
As you enter the plane, the stylishly dressed young crew gives you a warm welcome. The carpeting is black. You pass through a small "First class" cabin, which has some extra ameneties such as larger seats, but isn't a full first class. As you approach the coach section, the brand new plane is impressive. The black all leather seats are very nicely contoured, and seem very comfortable. The white plastic seatbacks add to the style. There were plenty of blankets to go around once, if not twice. Overhead space seems plentiful.
The in-flight entertainment system is called "Red", and is interactive. Not only can you watch TV (not as many channels as jetBlue), but you can order a ton of movies, music, play games by yourself or against other passengers, or even IM anyone in the cabin. The RED system can be used to order food or drink with your credit card after the initial complimentary beverage service. The flight attendant will bring your selection within 5 minutes. From what I'm told, the RED system is experiencing a few glitches, but VA is working to resolve them.
One feature I really liked is each row has two 110V outlets. So, if your laptop or iPod battery dies you can re-charge in in flight.
The Customer Service and staff that showed me the plane were extremly friendly, and I have a good feeling about this airline.
Virgin America is COOL!
Related Article On Virgin America On Wikipedia: