Virgin America is, quite simply, the best airline I have ever flown. Clearly, the people at Virgin Airways do not know that in order to be an airline, you must be rude, inefficient, overcrowded, and have an aesthetic sensibility from 1972.
No – these people greeted me at Kennedy Airport with a smile….and not from behind a desk. The staff member walked over, helped me with my bag and shook my hand.
Then he pointed out the exact location of the gate, and sent me on my way with a “have a good trip” that sounded like he really meant it. It was like entering a parallel universe!
Then there was the plane itself. No 70’s era synthetic semi=plaid fabric seats and fluorescent lights. This plane was cool looking. Pink neon lights, a slick all-white walls, hip music, and leather seats – each with a touchscreen of it’s own that has tv, movies (for purchase), and even video games that you can play with the handy-dandy control built into your armrest, but which comes out to be a remote control or game controller.
Even the safety announcement (and accompanying animated short) was cool: “for the .00001% of you who have never put on a seatbelt….”
When they needed us to buckle up, guess what they said? “Please sit down and buckle your seatbelts.” I don’t think I realized until that moment just how ridiculous the usual “the captain has illuminated the seatbelt sign. Please return to your seats and ensure that your seatbelts are securely fastened” line really is. It’s some weird airline-speak. Why do the airlines think they need to say things like “please put your tray tables in their upright and locked positions”? There’s something vaguely demeaning about plane-speak — as if we can’t quite fathom the complexities of air travel without their special code. Virgin just says “Tray tables up please, we’re getting ready to land.” English, not plane-speak. Hallelujah!
And their food service? Please, let the gods of airline travel heed the call: you order your food on the touchscreen, (I had a lovely mini-sandwich combo on artisinal bread) and a flight attendant just hands it to you. No cumbersome cart to hit you in the elbow as it rolls on by.
Pleasant and flying are not two words one utters too often in the days of three dollar charges for a bag of four almonds – but Virgin America – I was pleasantly surprised…no shocked…at how truly pleasant flying with you was.
That may have been my “very first time” but it sure isn’t going to be my last.