Favorite Things: Virgin America

February 2, 2009

in Favorite Things

Note: In an effort to stop being a lazy blogger fill this blog with content about moi, I have decided to start a section called Favorite Things, all about–you guessed it– my favorite things. I always like to ask people for their take on any given product or service before I try it out for myself, and I am often asked about products or advice on certain products and services. I figured I would write a blog about my favorite things in an effort to share knowledge. Hopefully I will learn  a thing or two about whatever it is I am ranting or raving about, and you will too. No, I am not getting paid to do this.

I have decided that Virgin America is the best airline that will fit my (hopefully) bicoastal lifestyle. I first heard about the airline through the homie OJ, who put me on about their prices. A one-way flight from LA to the east coast runs me somewhere between $109-$139. I spent years living in Boston and rarely came home to LA because I couldn’t find a ticket less than $300! Now I have finally found a place that reliably has prices under $300 for a roundtrip, crosscountry flight.

What I love most about Virgin America is that ticket prices generally stay the same over time. For example, yesterday I bought a one-way ticket to New York City to travel this week. Weeks ago, the price was $109. Yesterday the price was $109. I fly in a few days. No price hike! Virgin America is perfect for the last minute jetsetter (or procrastinator) in you. I think the prices may hike if you try to purchase the day of or maybe even the day before, but for the most part, travel date price hike is nonexistent. Prices may not always be as cheap as $109 depending on your day of travel, but whatever the price you are quoted you can usually be sure it will stay the same as your travel date draws near.

Other lovliness includes:

  • Electricity at every seat–and no you don’t need to buy an airplaine adaptor, it takes your regular plugs
  • Your own TV screen with channels you would actually watch
  • Mood lighting (not sure why this matters, but they advertise it and I mean, who else has mood lighting?)
  • Check 1 bag for FREE (hating that Delta started charging for bags lately), first class ballers check 2 bags for free.
  • New Plane Smell: all of their planes are new (for now). You know sometimes you may find yourself on some funkdafied planes–not on Virgin America! 
  • Internets: They should be adding internet to all planes soon. I can’t wait!

Some non-loveliness:

  • The airline currently flies in major cities on the east and west coasts (and Vegas), so Middle America will have to wait it out and see if they get any love.
  • You may see some price inflation for flights that require a layover (i.e. flying LAX to JFK and stopping in SFO adds an extra $100+ to your flight price, in some cases). Most people like non-stop flights, and these layover flights are generally out of the way anyway.

Some of you may know about this lovely airline, but I assume a lot of  people don’t, since Virgin America ticket prices don’t show up in travel search engines like Farecast, Orbitz or Travelocity. I have been sharing this little gem with friends and they’re always surprised at the prices.  Next time you’re looking for a non-stop, cross-country flight, take virginamerica.com for a spin. If you have any other flight-saving experiences, make sure you hit me up in the comments.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

JeR February 8, 2009 at 3:24 PM

LOVE Virgin America! It’s like a club inside… haha… I’m going on it next week headed to Seattle.

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Christian Westbrook March 2, 2009 at 2:56 AM

Whoever Branson hired to managed entire pax experience is genius: the purple lighting is impossible not to notice as you board, and just sufficiently unconventional to ease your mind in transitioning from the drudgery of air travel to a more inquisitive, receptive state: what is this mysterious purple … dance club in the air?
It’s unfortunate that their in-flight system which allows you to watch TV with or without text chat w/ other passengers is unused (in my experience, but usually the redeye) — the concept of changing “a bunch of people with whom you have to cram into a plane for a few hours” into an ephemeral social network, allowing you to *choose* whether to interact with other passengers and with whom (no longer the sales guy next to you) is a radical step that will take a while to catch on socially before the utility of that system is fully realized.
As an example, though: I’d been working on my laptop and went to order free coffee/soda from the seatback device (bloody mary’s at 35K’ can work a number on productivity) when my seatmate in front laughed out loud at Metalocalypse, the show we both were watching on the seatback. That sparked a conversation, and as it turned out, I’d purchased the soundtrack to the series and mentioned this to him. He was still raving about Dethklok when my coffee arrived, so we exchanged email addresses, I queued a link in Mail.app to him, and got a thank you email two weeks later.
That kind of passenger interaction — based not on random seat assignments (and in fact even in spite of them!), but on common interests — implies a radical shift from business travel as an expensive inconvenience to what can *more frequently* serendipitously yield relationships that persist beyond the ‘ephemeral social network’ Virgin’s system implicitly creates.
Love it. Did I mention it runs Linux? Love that too.
Christian

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