It's worth noting that Virgin America's plane aisles will likely be clutter-free. Flight attendants will pass through once for beverage service, and the rest will be handled via the IFE-based food ordering option. FAs receive and view food orders in the rear galley.
Virgin America's on-demand entertainment system, Red, is, as the kids these days might put it, dope. Detractors point out that it's not unrivaled in the global market, but that's beside the point. Virgin America is not a global airline, it's a domestic one, and this is hands-down the most advanced and entertaining IFE in the country.
...and it plays DOOM! Sorry, it's going to take a while for us to get sick of that. Anyway, perhaps you've already learned a bit from Chuck Ogilvie's YouTube tour and Engadget's excellent tech coverage, but here are some more luscious details for you to digest.
That's a close-up of Red's chat feature. It's an interface that allows you to join multiple chat rooms--with just one user of your choice, the whole plane, or whoever is watching a particular television channel--and spew away using the QWERTY keyboard embedded in the IFE remote. We found the keyboards to be easy to use and as comfortable as you'd expect, and certainly something a seasoned Blackberry or Treo user wouldn't blink twice at. We were also disturbed by how much we enjoyed the chats, and while using them became paranoid that we were actually trapped in an episode of VH1's "I Love the '90s." Not that the technology is outdated, but it will definitely appeal to the part of
Movies are for-purchase and there will be a healthy selection of 'em. You'll be happy to hear that movies will be shown unedited and in all their R-rated glory, thanks to a parental control feature that allows
As for the streaming music library, you'll be able to save playlists with a frequent flier number and access them on future flights. Nice touch.
One question we wanted to ask ourselves was: "How rich is the complimentary content? Would a passenger be able to entertain himself/herself solely with complimentary content on a 6+ hour flight?" Yes, he/she definitely would, as chatting, music streaming, and some TV and games are free. You'll pay extra for movies, premium channels and premium games, but there's also more than enough free content.
Overall, we found the Red interface to be intuitive and easy to use.
Now for first class...
There are eight seats in Virgin's first class, semi-separated from the main cabin with translucent purple dividers. As you can see, each first class seat is wider than its coach counterpart, similarly plush, and features bendable reading lights, pull-out IFE screens, and fancy, illuminated recline controls. We thought the seats were very comfortable. They're much better than what we've seen on Continental's domestic F, especially when you factor in the IFE. We're curious to see what the pricing premium will be on those babies.
Coming tomorrow: Additional video footage and insider tips. How do you feel about Virgin America so far? In what naughty or inoffensive ways would you use those chat rooms? Based on what you've seen, what's the most you'd pay for a transcon in VA's economy class? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or by emailing tips [at] jaunted [dot] com.
· Let VA Fly [Official Site]