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Virgin America testing for FAA gadget approval
"PED" is quickly becoming the acronym of the year. It was only the beginning of this month that the Federal Aviation Administration began approving the use of personal electronic devices at all stages of a flight (yes, even under 10,000'), and already almost all the big US airlines are green for go.
As a quick reminder, the airlines already approved to tell their passengers to keep the PEDs on are: JetBlue, American, American Eagle, Delta, United, US Airways, and Alaska Airlines.
Now there's two more to add the growing list:
YesterdayNovember 13, 2013was more than just another Wednesday. For Virgin America and a group of homeless chihuahua puppies, it was "Operation Chihuahua Airlift" and the promise of a positive future. Through a partnership with the City of San Francisco Animal Care and Control (SFACC), Virgin America flies these doggies from Los Angesles-LAX to Newark-EWR with the goal of delivering them to loving homes through the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).
This is actually the 5th airlift by Virgin America for the pups, and it's probably not the last since the operation is all about achieving this heartwarming goal: "The overpopulation of Chihuahuas in California continues to force animal shelters on the West Coast to look to shelters on the East Coast for help – where there is demand for the dogs among apartment-dwelling New Yorkers."
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Breakdancing. Nuns. Popping and locking. A rapping child. Autotune. Flight attendants singing doo-wop.
Welcome to Virgin America's first new safety video in six years. Without spoiling the surprises of the video, we'll just say our first thought was that something so entertaining can't possibly comply with FAA regulations. Oh, but it does. To see is to believe.
Directed by Jon M. Chu, a Virgin America frequent flyer who also happens to be the director for Hollywood films like Step Up 2 and G.I. Joe, the video taps the talent of dancers, singers and choreographers from both American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance.
According to VX, this is the "first-ever domestic safety video set entirely to music and performed in dance." Watch for it on billboards in Times Square, or catch the YouTube version below before viewing it on an actual Virgin America flight starting this November.
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"Direct" and "non-stop" mean the same thing, right? Wrongwhich is why we're taking today to do some travel 101 with a refresher on these terms. Why is knowing the difference so important? Well, you can clearly state your flight preferences to airline reservations and gate staff when making bookings or changing plans, and you'll also just generally sound like the clued-in traveler you are.
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Each and every weekend the country slows to a crawl, as professional football takes over a little bit of our lives. Thanks to improvements with in-flight entertainment it’s not just the chores like mowing the lawn that will keep you from catching the game.
If you’re up in the air on Sundays, Mondays, or even Thursdays several carriers have you more than covered. Sure some options aren’t available on every one of their planes, but carriers like JetBlue and Virgin America get the game live to your seat on each and every flight. Here’s five carriers doing the live television thing, so that you can catch all the action from high in the sky.
With the ability to order snacks—and drinks—right to your seat, we’ve got to say that Virgin America might be the best option for up in the air football. Sundays are all good aboard these planes, as they have CBS, FOX, and NBC stations streaming to you at 35,000-feet. Just be aware that the stations are based out of New York City, so you better get used to watching regional action from the Jets and Giants. They’ve got ESPN too—so Monday Night Football is good to go as well. Bonus points for WiFI access, so you can be disappointed with your fantasy football team in real-time.
More Football After The Jump...
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There's an old, killer Louis CK interview where he mercilessly mocks people who are dissatisfied with the quality of In-Flight Wifi. The clip is hystericalwe posted it ourselves way back whenbut it makes us feel a little bit uncomfortable.
We have, after all, occasionally been known to complain about our experience with Gogo internet service. It's amazing technology from the future, of course, but sometimes it's just not good enough for things that we actually need from the Internet, like having enough bandwidth to prevent our VPN from timing out.
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Before early 2008, travelers didn't even think about forking over some extra cash just to put luggage in the belly of the plane, unless, of course it was oversized and overweight. On a whole, checking a bag or two without extra cost was just part of the air travel experience.
As we celebrate the 5th birthday of baggage fees, it's plain to see that much has changed. In 2011, US airlines raked in just under $3.5 billionyes, billion with a 'B'so there's no way these fees are going anywhere. Love them or hate them, they're here to stay (and eventually increase).
American Airlines started it all in May of 2008 with the rest of the industry watching with bated breath if it was going to fly or fail. Right in the height of the summer travel season, other airlines followed suit and began charging the extra bucks just for the privilege of checking baggage. Luckily there are still two major holdouts from the first bag fee: Southwest and JetBlue.
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In case you missed it, Silvercar is the coolest rental car company around. They only give out silver Audi A4s, and a lot of the rental car magic is done from the comfort of your mobile device. Right now they’re pretty much doing their thing down in Texas, but if things catch on we’re sure they’ll be up for a little expansion elsewhere.
The best news from them is their new partnership and promotion with Virgin America, as they’re pretty much giving away rental cars—no strings attached. Travelers arriving aboard a Virgin America flight—and who are Virgin America Elevate members—are welcome to try out a one-day rental car free of charge upon arrival.
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It's funny. in-flight wifi has existed for several years now (anyone remember JetBlue's "BetaBlue" plane back in 2007), and yet we're still sending tweets from the sky like "hello down there--in-flight wifi is the future!"
As more and more airlines understand exactly that, more and more airplanes are coming online so that more and more passengers may update their Facebook status over Nebraska. In fact, the progress of in-flight WiFi installation has picked up with such a speed that it's difficult to keep track of who's got what going where. That's where RouteHappy.com steps in, as they've crunched the numbers and soothed the headaches needed to produce a complete guide to the current state of in-flight WiFI, both domestic and international.
You can download the full report from the RouteHappy website (click the box on the right that says "download report"), but we just have to share some of the more exciting facts:
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Sometimes it’s hard to stay on top of all the new route announcements that come our way, so we’ve complied a little bit of a rundown below. As long as you can afford the fares, this should definitely help add to your passport stamp collection.
The government seals and stamps are still pending, but if all goes according to plan JetBlue will be adding some new options sooner than later. They’re looking to head from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport down to Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima, Peru. Daily flights are scheduled to start on November 21, and if you act quickly you might be able to score a one-way seat for as low as $139. Adding Lima to their map will be destination number 81 for JetBlue, and it’s their fourth destination down in South America.
In case you haven’t heard the good news it’s finally time for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to head back into the skies. The battery problems have been reviewed and approved, and it’s finally time for the planes to do what they do best—fly. Plenty of airlines are working to shift their schedules to bring back the new planes, and one of them is LOT Polish Airlines. It sounds like June 5 is when they’ll bring back the 787 service between Chicago and Warsaw, and shortly after that they’ll start to link Poland with Toronto as well.
Yesterday, Virgin America not only launched its new three-times daily flight service from Los Angeles to Las Vegas but it also unveiled its new seat-to-seat ordering service on the Red in-flight entertainment system. Yes, it means what you think it means--you can buy drinks and snacks for your friends, your colleagues or perhaps your new crush and have the goodies sent right to their seat.*
David Cush, CEO of Virgin America, told us that the new service evolved from the seat-to-seat chat platform on Red but the real inspiration was that "people were doing it anyways." So now instead of flagging the flight attendants down, passengers can just take the onboard happy hour into their own hands.**
Here's how it works:
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Just because you're on the move to a new destination or vacation doesn't mean your pet has to stay at home. Flying with a small dog or cat is actually pretty easy if all rules are observed and fees paid, as we recently discovered while flying with our new kitten.
Traveling with a pet means paying attention to many restrictions, such as on destinations, aircraft type, travel class, pet weight and size, breed, and how many other pets are already booked for your desired flight. Always check with the airline for the latest rules before purchasing and traveling. Just remember to have veterinarian paperwork detailing the pet's vaccination record, and have yours and your pet's travel booked in advance.
Now, for the details on pet fees on major US airlines:*