Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Branson does it again with Virgin America

(Photo by Gizmodo)

Virgin America, the brainchild of British entrepreneur Richard Branson, is a new U.S. based low-cost airline that plans to begin flying in August 2007.

Tag Line
"Everybody likes the coolest living room in the neighborhood."

Main Cabin
  • Black leather seats with 32 inches of leg room

  • Adjustable leather headrest

  • Plugs at your seat for electricity, Ethernet, and USB ports

  • Mood lighting that changes throughout the flight

  • Color tinted windows that reduce glare like sunglasses
In Flight Entertainment
  • A 9-inch integrated touch screen at every seat

  • Free live and cached satellite television service provided by Dish Network

  • Over 25 Pay-Per-View Hollywood movies on demand

  • In-seat entertainment handset with gaming controls and keyboard

  • A selection of free games such as the open source Doom will be available (customers will have the option to pay for a larger selection of video games)
First Class

  • Virgin America's First Class in-flight experience will include the same entertainment and food options, however the seats are stark white, wider, and include a massage function and various recline controls.

  • An exclusive cabin of just 8 seats
Virgin America Trivia

  • San Francisco International Airport will be Virgin America's principal base of operations.

  • The airline intends to begin service on August 8, 2007.

  • Their fleet will consist of 34 Airbus A319 and A320-214 airliners.

  • Their first aircraft was christened "Jefferson Airplane" after the San Francisco band. Former lead singer Grace Slick christened the plane along with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

  • They're the first U.S. airline with mood lighting

  • They have the largest seatback TVs of any U.S. airline


Last September I flew first class with Virgin Atlantic Airways from Los Angeles to London, with my family and had a great experience. You can read about that flight here.

It was a godsend traveling with an infant to Europe, with seats that pull down into a bed (so I could sleep next to my baby), and then waking up to champagne in the morning. (If I had one complaint, it was about the complimentary in-flight hand massage which I never received on either route.) The lounge area was also great with the complimentary food & beverages and room for the baby to run around and for us parents to relax. In the London hub they also had complimentary salon & nail services and a swimming pool.

It'll be interesting to see how the domestic Virgin will measure up.

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