Tag: Virgin America LaunchView All Tags
The venue was packed with approximately 2000 people -- guests of Virgin, Virgin Employees, and others. At one point an understandably tired sounding Richard Branson took the mike and addressed the crowd, saying the battle for change in the American sky had just begun.
After Branson's address an illusionist performed -- guess they aren't called magicians any longer, and The Cold War Kids played an hour long set. All the while, the drinks were free flowing. After all, VA is one of the most well-funded airline start-ups ever. However, now, the real battle for American passengers begins for Branson and crew. We all know that won't be as easy as throwing a killer party.
When Virgin America flight 1 landed in San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom and a cheering crowd was there to greet us. An airport press conference followed with Newsom proclaiming Wednesday as "Virgin America Day" in San Francisco, (Barry Bonds gets the whole month). Furthermore, the mayor said The City "would paint the town red" to help further hype the airline's launch.
We have video and photos from the arrival here -- including the Ebay auction winner's companion shaking the mayors hand.
Two more things about Red, the in-flight entertainment system we have covered ad nauseum over the last couple of months.
First, despite the chat and the video games, the feature set we think we will use most is the program guide/reminder settings. You can't actually Tivo a program in the sky, however, you can tell Red to remind you when your favorite reality marathon starts on Bravo and minutes before the program starts, a message will pop up on your screen asking you if you want to switch to that program.
Second, while Virgin America will not offer in-flight WiFi until 2008, if you turn your Airport on during the flight you will see a secret network, aptly dubbed "secretva1" -- keep your laptop tuned to that network and who knows maybe you will get lucky.
First you should know that Virgin America's in-flight Google maps are not actually tracking flights quite yet. According to IFE god Charles Ogilvie a software update is needed and it should be complete in the next couple of weeks.
So, if you are riding Virgin America in August you might as well prepare yourself for your seat back map not to track your flight -- August is our time estimate, not Virgin's.
That said, despite the fact VA maps are not fully operational, they are still light years ahead of the nearest competitor -- yeah in-flight mapping has become that outdated that quickly.
Who would pay $5400 for a JFK - SFO round trip for two in coach? David Loewy, the CEO of Health Providers Practice Management, who won the blind Ebay auction for two tickets on Virgin America flight number 1 yesterday.
Loewy goes by the Ebay handle hppmceo and is no stranger to Internet auctions. We sat down with David during the flight and asked the North Carolina resident why on earth he bid over five grand for the right to fly coach for six hours.
Virgin America's flight attendant Farrah Williams showed off the airlines uniforms on the maiden voyage from JFK to SFO yesterday.
The female uniforms consist of a bright red jacket, traditional white top and dark slacks. While the men sport dark jackets, dark tops and dark slacks.
The attire is what we would call classic air-wear, but not vintage. No gold and silver go go boots here.
The in-flight crew claims that behind their attire are a group of people genuinely excited to help provide exceptional friendliness to help differentiate them from other U.S. carriers.
What does that mean? Not sure yet, but it is not Southwest comic folksiness, or Skybus casual, or even JetBlue newness circa 2000. Time will tell.
Virgin America 1 was dubbed "The Colbert Report", however, it was Sir Richard Branson that ended up christening the plane at JFK -- apparently Colbert doesn't travel when tornado warnings are issued in Manhattan.
The Branson christening seems apropos anyway, since the man and his staff basically willed this airline to life after four plus years of overcoming many obstacles.
The weather did end up delaying the flight, but just a bit, and when we boarded we were greeted by shiny happy Virgin employees, really.
We have given you a full cabin tour before, but this time we experienced the cabin. Our immediate favorite feature? The cup holder that comes out of the fully locked and upright tray table. Seriously, that little cup holder will save many a business traveler's dress clothes from in-flight drink stains.
Richard Branson just spoke -- said we would be leaving on time and that American's will get the airline the deserve.
Colbert hasn't made it to the airport, but because on time departure is so important we are going to leave on time. In fact Fred hasn't even made it yet.
See you on the other side...
Virgin America's first flight from JFK to SFO, and the accompanying ceremony featuring Stephen Colbert, doesn't look like it will go off on time, thanks in large part to New York area thunderstorms, Van Wyck, and tornado warnings -- no joke.
Welcome to the joys of US commercial airlines, right? The pre-flight event however, is posh to say the least. From the incredibly pretty flat screen monitor check in, to the mimosas, this airline is getting sent off Branson style.
Oh. As we type we just saw Sir Richard Branson. He is here, so we are guessing he will save the day and get this thing off on time, isn't that what knights do?