Virgin America Begins Flying The Crowded Skies

Virgin America has taken off, according to USAToday. The carrier had to fight hard to convince US authorities it was not an extension of Richard Branson’s “worldwide aviation empire” and, instead, something new. But will it be?

From USAToday:

Virgin America aims to give domestic travelers more for their money by providing a higher level of comfort and by making lots of its coach seats available at prices well below the fares of bigger rivals.

For example, its introductory fares between San Francisco and New York are $278 round trip, about $50 lower than the lowest advance fares available previously from the route’s two dominant carriers, United and American.

Similarly, Virgin America is positioning its first-class service as a more comfortable, higher-tech experience than what the traditional big U.S. carriers offer in their domestic first-class sections, at prices as much as 50% lower.

The centerpiece of the service will be a sophisticated in-flight entertainment system at each seat throughout the plane, dubbed Red in a nod to the planes’ red-painted tails.

Reid says Red is “arguably two or more generations ahead of anything in the U.S. market today.” In addition to 18 channels of TV from Dish network,(DISH) pay-per-view movies, a wide selection of music and electronic games, passengers can text-message other passengers or order meals, which cost extra in coach.

Do you want other passengers text messaging you? Are you excited for Virgin America? Not?

Virgin America takes off [USAToday]
(Photo:Getty)

Comments

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  1. Abusiveelusive says:

    I may book my next flight through them, just to see.

  2. Cowboys_fan says:

    This guy is a real genius. He has a history of offering better quality for a lower cost. His company has this neat little thing too called “customer service”, anyone ever heard of that?

  3. m. mangosteen says:

    I’m flying from JFK to SFO over thanksgiving. Looking forward to something a little different. The fare ($416) was about the same as other carriers.

  4. yg17 says:

    I wish they were flying in and out of STL. We don’t have them or Jetblue, just the same old usual crap :(

  5. SurrenderMonkey says:

    It’s alright to have satisfactory customer service if you know you’re the cause of their high ticket price complaints, right?

    [consumerist.com]

  6. bonzombiekitty says:

    I’ve flown Virgin Atlantic every time I’ve flown over the the UK. Every time, the experience was pretty good, especially in flight entertainment. There were some delays but that was due to weather or airport equipment. If Virgin America can make a flight across the US as nice as going across the atlantic, I’d fly it.

  7. asujosh1 says:

    I cant wait for them to start flying out of Minneapolis so I can give it a whirl.

  8. ahwannabe says:

    They can keep the whistles and bells, I’ll be happy if the planes leave on time.

  9. Kurtz says:

    I’ll pass. I flew Virgin Blue in Australia. The planes were late, cramped, and they charged for everything (including water).

  10. dix99 says:

    Virgin is a great airline, but if they could just get to fly out of Detroit, they’ll have my business all the time.

  11. dieman says:

    Ditto with Minneapolis, we need more airlines here.

  12. acambras says:

    passengers can text-message other passengers

    I guess then you could have a record of how many times you texted “Stop kicking my seat!” before you finally turned around and beat the crap out of the guy behind you.

  13. bubi73 says:

    I’m sorry, but I will have to disagree with all the love for Virgin here. I just came back from Europe with a layover in Heathrow. Once I arrived in Chicago, my name was called over the plane’s PA system and I was informed that my suitcase had been left behind. I was promised it would be back in my possession within 24 hrs. It’s been more than a week now, no suitcase, and the local Virgin office claims that London isn’t answereing e-mails and phone calls, therefore they can’t help they are not willing to help me anymore. Screw Virgin, I say.

  14. Re: MSP, you’re out of luck, NWA has a stranglehold there. Ditto for DTW.
    Virgin Atlantic is the only way I fly home to London. It’s cheap, service is brilliant and they have private suites in the upper class.

  15. Onouris says:

    I’m from England and I’ve never heard Branson had a ‘worldwide aviation empire’. Few flights here and there to America and some good trains to London is as far as I got o.O

  16. shoegazer says:

    @Onouris: It’s pretty much as worldwide as it gets: Europe, Australia, Asia and the Caribbean. Wait till he gets his Intergalactic service up.

    It’s all fine that Virgin flies cheap, but their trains are a nightmare – expensive and slow.

  17. Onouris says:

    Been on the Virgin train from Manchester to London once (and back, ofc), and it was great, left exactly on time, was fast, and wasn’t really that expensive for a train.

    Tickets to fly from England to America, though, now that’s expensive.

  18. zaq2g says:

    I can’t believe they’re not flying through Chicago. If they did, I would probably check them out next time I fly.