Virgin America: The Future of Airtravel

Chrissy ON May 13, 2013 AT 10:19 am

by Chrissy Iley

American internal air travel is notoriously bad. Old planes with even older flight attendants. It’s all extremely old-fashioned. They still give you one movie shown on a screen somewhere in the cabin that only some of you can see and obviously no choice in entertainment and limited sandwiches to buy.

Virgin America

Jet Blue came in and revolutionised all that. Free seat back TVs for everybody with a choice of multiple channels and free snacks.

Virgin America made an attempt to run with what’s good about Jet Blue and make it their own. I’ve flown it a few times now and it’s much nicer than Virgin Atlantic.

The planes are new and clean, filled with hope and a future as opposed to the tired old Atlantic birds whose best days are behind them. The staff sometimes get themselves confused with stand-up comedy performers, which is irritating, but not unbearable.

You get seat back TVs and you can pay for movies. You can order a choice of sometimes healthy and sometimes quite nice snacks, providing your credit card hasn’t lost its magnetic strip. If it has you can’t pay cash. There’s no way round that.

New planes don’t seem to lose their smell of newness very easily and these ones still smell clean. Once inside them though everything is lit with a purplish blue light as if to mock space travel. You can have internet and email, although I prefer the air to be the last bastion of civilization. People can’t get me; I don’t have to return emails.

Virgin America

Virgin America has many levels of fare options and sometimes that’s confusing. There’s Main Cabin Refundable, which is basically a changeable ticket, and Main Cabin Select which is sort of like Premium Economy, you get more leg room and get on board first, or at least after First Class, and you get free snacks and movies.

I have now travelled in all classes and for a longer flight the Main Cabin Select is definitely worth the extra money. Just how much extra depends on when you book it.

They do have good last minute deals as well as advance purchase. You can also upgrade to space available First Class a few hours before departure for around $90 which is another great deal. The First Class seat is large, not fully reclineable but way ahead of its competitors.

Virgin America First Class

What is bitter sweet is that they have clearly learnt from the original Virgin Atlantic how to be innovative, how to be well priced and how to make air travel as painless as possible. They’ve taken that ethos and perfected it, while Virgin Atlantic no longer think outside the box, provide a worse service every time I fly with them – delays that cause heated commotion, and food that’s inedible. The low for me was last Christmas when somebody had stolen the moisturiser out of the Upper Class toilet and the flight attendant had said, ‘It’s been happening a lot. They make good Christmas presents.’ And couldn’t be bothered doing anything about it.

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