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Onboard Virgin America Flight 55, the First Non-Stop from New York to Palm Springs

December 26, 2012 at 5:20 PM | by | ()

Mood lighting? Check. Flight attendants with apple-red lips? Check. Complimentary round of champagne for all onboard? Check! Wait—what?!

Virgin America Flight 55 from New York-JFK to Palm Springs, CA on Saturday, December, 22 may have begun just like any other flight on the five-year-old airline, but that boozy toast meant there was something special. It was, in fact, the first ever commercial non-stop flight from the NYC area to Palm Springs, a route Virgin America will fly every Saturday through the winter to get all us city folk suffering from dark, slushy days into the sun and 70+ degrees of desert oasis paradise.

The non-stop flights begin at $145 one-way, so it was no surprise that VX 55 on the Saturday before Christmas was full up, even with a few pets along for the ride. And anywhere that touts $3.95 bottomless champagne with brunch, a Modernism Week, and the world's largest statue of Marilyn Monroe is definitely somewhere we too want to be.

To save you from our bubbling over with enthusiasm, we'll just say that Palm Springs is beyond awesome, for all ages, for all times of the year (okay maybe not during Coachella or during the 114-degree days of August), and for all vacation price points.

The return flights from Palm Springs to both SFO and JFK leave in the afternoon/early evening so as to maximize poolside time when the sun is at its highest. The gorgeous, tented open-air airport terminal at PSP is a breath of fresh air, both literally and figuratively. Oh, and the concourse into which Virgin America flies? Yeah, it's named for Sonny Bono. Really. There's a bust of him there and everything.

On a good traffic day, Palm Springs is 2.5 hours driving distance from Los Angeles, 3 hours from San Diego and 4.5 hours from Las Vegas. All the awesomeness of PS shouldn't be left to people daytripping in from those cities, however; it's only 1 hour on Virgin America from San Francisco and 5.5 hours on the new NYC route. To tell you the truth, though we've been to Palm Springs before this was the first time we'd flown in. It totally won't be the last time, so long as there's champagne waiting both in the sky and on the ground.

Pilots Lloyd and Bob, along with flight service leader Letifah, prepare for take off

At the gate in Palm Springs

We traveled as a guest of Virgin America for the inaugural, but rest assured that all opinions, photos, and tan lines are completely our own.

[Photos: Cynthia Drescher/Jaunted]

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