Flying High

6 05 2009

Last weekend I got to go home to California, and it was perhaps the best travel experience ever. I flew, for the very first time Virgin America (I guess you could say I was a Virgin virgin—pardon me, I had to go there), and it was a flight experience like no other.

For one, the flight attendants were actually nice. I know they are generally supposed to be nice. It is, after all, their job to be nice, but in my most recent travels I’ve encountered some of the rudest people, and they’ve all been those strolling up and down the aisle and bumping folks with their carts.

Which brings me to another plus about Virgin: no carts. No, this does not mean you don’t get to eat or drink anything while flying. It simply means you get to eat or drink when you’re ready, namely that you can sleep if you like without worrying that you’ll miss the drinks, or you can drink when thirsty without having to wait for drink service. Everything is automated, and you order on the screen in front of you which, incidentally, is also the source of endless entertainment, from movies and television to a vast music selection.

Movies, alas, have to be purchased, as do some premium television, but music is free, and instead of being relegated to whatever’s playing on the radio, you can create your own play list (I must admit that I played a few Rhianna songs on repeat throughout much of the flight). There are also some great comedy shows created especially for Virgin, which compile hilarious snippets of various comedians talking around a given theme (travel, relationships, politics…), though these were inexplicably free going one way and not going the other. Go figure.

The seats themselves were rather on the plush side, for airline seats. Though they didn’t seem to recline very far, they were leather and comfortable with seemingly more legroom than your average plane. And even the mandatory safety video before takeoff was a little easier to bear, since it came with a few jokes and amusing cartoon illustrations. The bottom line: Virgin America really goes the extra mile (again, please pardon pathetic pun). All things considered, if I could have it my way, it would certainly be my airline of choice for all flights moving forward.