Travel Betty

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9 Reasons Virgin America Is The Best Domestic Airline Flying Today

October 8th, 2008 · 34 Comments

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1. Flies out of SFO’s International terminal, so you get to feel like you’re a global jet-setter even if you’re just going to Seattle. The terminal is newer, more spacious, has better food and is a much more relaxed environment than the domestic terminals. This has nothing to do with Virgin America, but it sure adds to the mystic and overall experience.

2. The check-in area has fresh flowers and white Mac-like self check-in kiosks. There’s a red carpet leading up to the first-class counter. You feel more like you’re in a retail environment than standing in a human corral.

3. The gate agents seem younger, hipper, friendlier and more eager to provide good customer service. They even smile!! Some of this may be perception, drafting off other Virgin brands and Richard Branson’s personality, but it is also illustrated through their advertising and even the uniforms worn by the gate agents themselves. Black t-shirts are not uncommon.

4. First-class is not astronomically out of reach. Yes, it’s more, but only by a hundred bucks or so each way. And if your flight still has open seats in first, they release them for only $50 more at the gate. So there’s always the possibility you’ll be movin’ on up like the Jefferson’s.

5. You don’t walk onto a plane, you walk into a club. Mood lighting makes all the difference. The crew is wearing uniforms, but they are far from stogy. The sleeves on the stewardess blouses had delicate ribbon details that made it look like it might be for sale at Macy’s.

6. The planes are brand new. You feel safer and they seem fresher and cleaner than the ratty-tatty planes of the Delta / United type airlines. No Cheerios crumbs all over the damn place.

7. I don’t know if it’s the mood lighting, but even the passengers seem more hip. Less mom hair, more gel-spiked bangs and tattoos. Perhaps Virgin attracts a more fashion conscious customer than Southwest. I felt cooler by association.

8. The entertainment options are good. No one is forced to watch “Air Bud: Golden Receiver.” TV, movies, games, there’s even a chat option if you want to pick up a fellow passenger.

9. The safety video is a great example of Virgin’s attention to detail. Yeah, they could have just got a couple of community-theater actors to mimic seat buckling skills in a rented studio space, but instead they made the video something you would actually watch. The video makes you like the brand. They treat safety in a way that acknowledges our collective intelligence without coming off as flip. Delicate balance handled astutely.

Tags: Air Travel

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  • 34 responses so far ↓

    • 1 Enlight // Oct 9, 2008 at 5:47 am

      Hey Travel Betty, I like Virgin airlines and happy they started Virgin American.

      Also, those 23 year old Arab virgins can put a spell on a guy, Wow.

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    • 2 MLRebecca // Oct 9, 2008 at 1:38 pm

      I have never flown on Virgin Airlines, but I definitely plan to look into it. I love the ambiance on the plane cabin, and even the look of the check-in desk. Plus, the entertainment options seem as though they would make the plane ride fly by. (No pun intended.) Thanks for the recommendation!

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    • 3 devari // Oct 12, 2008 at 11:59 am

      what do you guys think about British Airways?

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    • 4 Travel Betty // Oct 12, 2008 at 3:57 pm

      Enlight, I think you’ve been spending too much time in the Middle East :)

      Rebecca, I hope you get a chance to fly them soon. The entertainment options really DO help you pass the time. And a lot of them are free!

      Devari, I’ve flown BA a couple of times. It’s okay. Nothing special. If you’re flying international, Singapore Airlines is pretty good. I’ve never flown Virgin Atlantic, although I hope to soon.

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    • 5 Nomadic Matt // Oct 13, 2008 at 1:37 am

      I hear great things about VA. When I get back to the states next year I am going to try to fly them. I really like the photos too.

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    • 6 Farsighted Fly Girl // Oct 13, 2008 at 8:43 am

      This sounds like heaven to me. I’m so tired of the dusty, cranky, scary United/American/Delta airlines that I’ve briefly contemplated doing something else instead of travel writing. I’ve never flown Virgin but I will be investigating it soon.

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    • 7 Jenny // Oct 14, 2008 at 6:11 pm

      Seems like everyone’s a fan of VA

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    • 8 Travel Blog // Oct 24, 2008 at 7:11 pm

      Wow. I love the neon purple in the airplane! Looks really cool. I never flew on that particular airlines, I’ll have to check it out.

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    • 9 Flüge // Oct 29, 2008 at 7:12 am

      @Travel
      “Wow. I love the neon purple in the airplane! Looks really cool. I never flew on that particular airlines, I’ll have to check it out.”

      I flew with one of the particular airlines – its great !check it out my friend , you will be acceptable suprised ;-) Greets , Flüge

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    • 10 Justin Wright // Nov 4, 2008 at 2:01 pm

      I have never flown Virgin but after reading this I totally want to. I have always flown United or Delta but lately they have not been so great.

      Awesome blog!

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    • 11 jean // Nov 9, 2008 at 9:11 am

      “Fresh flowers and white Mac-like self check-in kiosks”, that’s nice, feels very personalized and attending to details.

      More, the safety movie looks cool. I never really watched that except my first flight years ago. Definitely gonna try VA when got chance. :)

      http://www.ourexplorer.com
      local guides, local wisdom

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    • 12 Sharon // Nov 12, 2008 at 10:46 am

      I’ve done long haul with Virgin from Europe to the Caribbean and they rock! Love the service and the amenities.

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    • 13 Jenn Maer // Nov 28, 2008 at 10:29 am

      Amen to that, sister. The only sucky thing is that they have fewer planes in their fleet, so if there’s a mechanical problem, you can be stranded for 8 hours instead of 2. But other than that, I’d take them any day. I heart TV.

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    • 14 Tommy // Dec 27, 2008 at 10:41 pm

      I’ve only flown on Southwest, Delta, American, and Frontier. They all definately make you feel as though you’re part of a stampede into tight and dirty holding pens. Hopefully I can check out Virgin in the future.

      Great post and great blog!

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    • 15 Erik // Jan 26, 2009 at 5:53 pm

      I would agree. I’ve flown Virgin about 4 round trips now. It is definitely a more peaceful, relaxed experience. My only complaint is a small quibble. The little pocket where you put magazines and such is made out of hard plastic. This means that even if you have nothing in there, it doesn’t get any smaller. On United, I always empty everything out of the “seat-back” pocket and gain what is probably .04 inches of space, but it always makes me feel better.

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    • 16 Gummistiefel // Jul 15, 2009 at 5:43 pm

      IAD-LAX-IAD. Airplane was spotless, comfortable leather seats and personal IFE nice. $8 for a movie was steep, so decided to watch free programming. Overpriced buy-on-board, but chatted with FA’s and got 3 free alcoholic drinks! Great airline, and the only way to travel cross country.

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    • 17 Wellnessoase // Jul 19, 2009 at 11:47 am

      Wow what an airline…

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    • 18 Marina K. Villatoro // Jul 31, 2009 at 4:44 pm

      Hey it was a great article on the airline. Its like everyone’s dream airline. It was really helpful and hoping to have more of the same. :)

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    • 19 activetraffic SEO // Aug 18, 2009 at 4:44 am

      nevver used this airline! But I really like the idea that the brandname is also used for a Record Label “Virgin Records”… ;-)

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    • 20 Strom sparen // Aug 18, 2009 at 6:02 am

      I got the pleasure to fly Virgin once starting from LAX. Funny thing is, that I also got three freebies from the flight attendants , but none of them alcoholic. But anyhow, service was great and the food actually fresh and tasty. Looking forward to fly again with them!

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    • 21 der-banker.de // Aug 25, 2009 at 5:17 am

      New plans and so on, that sound good. I have had mostly old plans with ugly food.

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    • 22 Etikettendrucker // Nov 11, 2009 at 2:25 pm

      Hey,
      I flew with this airline twice and can truly recommend it. Hope this helps.
      Best regards

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    • 23 Barcodeterminal // Nov 19, 2009 at 6:47 am

      Thanks for this postings and greetings from Germany

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    • 24 William // Dec 28, 2009 at 12:58 pm

      I flew with Virgin America recently from San Francisco to Las Vegas and back. The trip was wonderful. The seats are made of easy (or atleast easier) to clean materials, and looked shiny and new. The lighting really sets the mood, and the safety video was funny and clever. On the trip back, they announced a “Holiday Cheer” event going on in the flight! So, free snacks, free beverages (including alcoholic) and two gift packages. One to a pre-determined passenger, and one was a toss up. Whoever posts a key phrase on either twitter or facebook’s Virgin America fan page first would receive the other gift package (which includes round trip airfare and other nicities). It was great fun, and everyone was in a wonderful mood. Plus side comes when the plane took off parallel to the Las Vegas strip, and over the tops of the Casino hotel-resorts! Breathtaking view with a mini bottle of Patron silver for me!

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    • 25 Dein Messestand // Jan 10, 2010 at 7:55 am

      unfortunately Virgin America do not fly in Germany…maybe in a few years ;-)

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    • 26 Schweizer // Jan 27, 2010 at 7:55 am

      Jup, not in Germany :(

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    • 27 Elektronik Blog // Feb 11, 2010 at 10:59 am

      I only flw one with them and I was absolutely surprised by the comfort and service. I wish german airlines would be that good!

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    • 28 Versicherungsblog24 // Feb 12, 2010 at 6:37 am

      nevver used this airline, but I really like the idea that the brandname is also used for a Record Label “Virgin Records”

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    • 29 Zahnzusatzversicherung // Feb 14, 2010 at 7:40 am

      Thanks for this postings this article and bestregards from Germany

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    • 30 Mike Behnken // Feb 20, 2010 at 1:59 pm

      Even though I have all my FF miles from United, I flew Virgin from Vegas to Frisco and I “upgraded” to what basically amounts to “economy plus” which negated my checked baggage fee and gave me huge amount of leg room enough to fully extend both legs.

      Needless to say ALL future domestic travel is going to be on Virgin!

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    • 31 sportkat // Feb 28, 2010 at 9:30 am

      Yeah in some Years they maybe fly in Germany.

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    • 32 fjessup // Jul 9, 2010 at 12:27 am

      What an incredibly shallow review. Not about actual safety record or anything substantive – even leg room, etc.. All about superficial “fashion” and feeling “in with the incrowd.” If Virgin Americal can slide by on this, they have it made. And the hip airheads will deserve the first crash they get.

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    • 33 Computer Lautsprecher // Aug 3, 2010 at 2:17 am

      that sounds awesome, next time i travel to america i will look for virgin america!

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    • 34 lovelylady // May 14, 2011 at 10:22 pm

      Virgin America is the BEST! I try to fly them always, all the employees have been super nice, planes always clean and the flight is super duper comfortable with all the entertainment features and the ability to get snacks when you choose. Instead of waiting for a cart to come down the isle.

      Oh yeah and the prices are great!

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