The Good Old Days of Flying Still Exists for San Diegans

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If you thought the old days of enjoyable air travel on new planes with great customer service are a thing of a past, think again.

Virgin America has arrived in San Diego with service to New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and Seattle. I recently took a trip to San Francisco and was pleasantly surprised. They’ve found a way to bring back the charm of yesteryear while combining it with today’s technological advances.

For starters, don’t you typically prefer to sit in the airport terminal when your flight is delayed, rather than being stuck on an airplane? Well, my flight to San Francisco was delayed because of the Northern California wildfires. After a short wait in the terminal, we were boarded onto the plane and the pilot announced that he figured we would prefer to wait on the plane rather than in the terminal.

Surprisingly, he was right. When you first step aboard the plane, you notice this is not your typical modern day airline. Virgin America uses ‘mood lighting’ to set the tone. To get an idea of the pinkish / purplish mood lighting, check out Virgin America’s ‘Our Difference‘ slideshow. For those who want to read, don’t worry, there are individual seat lights like you would find on any other plane.

The seats were comfortable on the Airbus plane. Virgin America gives you an extra inch of legroom compared to United Airlines and nearly an extra inch in width compared to Southwest Airlines. Once I settled in, I spent the rest of my time enjoying the individualized entertainment system.

The entertainment system is a conversation starter as everyone helps one another find cool things to do. I started off watching CNN live on DirectTV while one seat mate watched VH1 Videos and the third searched through the listing of movies. Some of the movies are free while others required you pay with the swipe of your credit card directly through the seat back entertainment system.

Once I got tired of CNN, I developed a playlist of music that I enjoyed for the rest of my flight. There is a huge selection whether you want nightclub music or classical masterpieces and everything in between.

I’ve only mentioned a few things that I played around with on my flight, all of which were free of charge. The entertainment system offers much more but a number of the features have not yet gone live as of my flight.

The flight attendants delivered free refreshments while snacks could be ordered through the entertainment system. I overheard the flight attendants telling other passengers they love working for Virgin America. It was evident in the way they treated the passengers. It was also evident on the 4th of July when I picked up a guest at the airport and found the Virgin America ticket counter was the only one in Terminal Two decorated for our nation’s holiday. It wasn’t trivial either. They went out of their way to make it look like everyone else was missing out on the celebration. I wish I had my camera with me because the stark contract between the Virgin America and the other airline ticket counters was emblematic of the difference I experience between my flights on Virgin America and the other airlines.

Hopefully, Virgin America is the start of a new trend in airline travel. We are lucky to have them serving us in San Diego.

Oh, by the way, if you think I paid more to fly Virgin America, I’ll let you in on a secret … I tried out Virgin America because it offered the cheapest flight to San Francisco.

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