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With the weather the UK’s been having over the past few weeks (flooding-snow-flooding), we’re pretty sure the whole nation is dreaming of a holiday. Pretty good timing, then, for British Airways to start a week-long flight giveaway to stressed out commuters.
All this week, you’ll find a BA stand at London Victoria Station. It’s not the normal handing-out-flyers stand, though; no, this is a flight simulator that awards free flights to the best “pilots” in the station.
It’s not a state of the art simulator, of course. This is more the kind you’d see in an arcade game. Every day this week, it’ll be loaded with a different airport approach, and your job is to land the plane. That alone is fun enough. But here’s the best bit: every 15 minutes, the person with the highest score in those 15 minutes will win a pair of flights to the airport in question. Yes – they’re giving away 60 flights a day. This is inspired.
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What began as one floor is now an entire building, and their original two coast-to-coast flights are now a respectable route network. We're speaking of Virgin America, whose headquarters outside SFO in Burlingame, California we recently visited for a look at the cogs turning behind the scenes.
Virgin America celebrated their fifth anniversary this year. That makes them the baby of the bunch, for both US airlines and Virgin. Heck, Virgin Atlantic has been flying since 1984 and Virgin Australia since 2000. Indeed Virgin America isn't shy about their newbieness; they take pride in it. Google them and the first words you'll see below the link to their official site are "A brand new airline dedicated to making flying good again."
You know what else is new? Their cabin trainer and A320 flight simulator still have that "new plane smell," since they were introduced as recently as October 2011 and May 2012, respectively. Home to many photo shoots (and in-flight service training, duh), the cabin is outfitted with everything from the deep mood lighting to working overhead bins and those massage chairs in First Class. Before a flight attendant can ask if you'd like another in-flight absinthe, she or he must first pass muster here.