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Virgin America's CEO Dishes During Their Inaugural Flight to PDX

June 6, 2012 at 7:37 PM | by | ()

"Put a bird on it!" That may be the most famous quote from the popular IFC series "Portlandia," but it's also Virgin America's goal—to put one of their birds on a Portland route. Today, that bird flies SFO-PDX for the first time and we're on board.

To say that Virgin America took advantage of every second of the short, hour-and-a-half inaugural flight from SFO to PDX would be a gross understatement. The second the doors closed, all the way until we disembarked in Portland, the activities for passengers kept on coming. Meanwhile, we dutifully filled you in from the air.

To kick off, the flight began by screening an episode of "Portlandia" that heavily featured the flight's two big guests: "Portlandia" mayor, actor Kyle MacLachlan and real Portland mayor/"Portlandia" mayor's assistant, Sam Adams. The episode got everyone on the flight pumped up and ready to party (as if they weren't already), as well as primed for a quick game of "Portlandia" trivia, which we knew all the answers to (duh).

Shortly after takeoff, Virgin's hand-picked crew began beverage service and, before we knew it, we were sitting with Virgin America CEO David Cush. Time for some serious questions.

Has Cush ever had a chance to try one of Portland's famous Voodoo Donuts? Surprisingly enough, he replied that he'd not been to Portland before, "but I love beer and the Pacific Northwest, so I'm excited to explore both during my visit."

Since Virgin America is extremely proud of their customer service both on the ground and in the air, we asked why every Virgin America employee always seems so genuinely happy. Well, "we hire happy people and have created an environment that allows our team members to contribute and to use their imagination when it comes to serving our guests," Cush said.

While most airlines are still struggling to equip their fleet with wifi and seatback entertainment systems, Virgin America is already planning to kick theirs up another notch with a coming-soon upgrade. We asked Mr. Cush about the forthcoming update to the displays (think bigger, more responsive, and more awesome-er in general) and he relayed that they've made significant progress testing the new displays and hope to have them available the first half of next year.

Our final question—will we have a reason to dig out our Hawaiian shirt collection anytime soon?—relates to some whispers we've heard lately. And though that got a huge laugh, Mr. Cush did reiterate that while Hawaii is definitely a destination they want to explore, it's really all about timing, the right aircraft, and doing it like no one else does.

After a few bumps on our descent, we landed in Portland to a water cannon salute and sunshine, even though it had been pouring just a few hours earlier. TIME TO PARTY!

Disclosure: We're traveling as a guest of Virgin America, but rest assured that all images and opinions are completely and utterly our own.

[Photos: Andy Miles for Jaunted]

Archived Comments:

Cabin crew

Those are the sexiest cabin crew. Particularly the female on the far right and the male in the front. Well done Virgin!

Put a bird ... is a double entendre

In Britain, a bird is a good looking woman. Ergo put a bird... in the context of the picture, could also be interpreted as 'put a good looking woman on it'.