The Bottom Line
- Seatback controls put passengers in charge of their inflight experience
- Numerous entertainment options include movies, TV, music, games
- Web site makes online ticket purchase, check-in, and seat choice/changes simple
- Power plug at each seat and onboard wi-fi
- Frequent sales; follow VirginAmerica on Twitter for alerts
- Flies to a limited number of major cities in the U.S.
- $20 charge to check a bag
- Seats lack lumbar support
- No pillows or blankets provided
- Fee for snacks and meals
- Virgin America flies Airbus 320s, a relatively new model plane.
- Human beings staff airport counters and there is rarely a wait to check in or drop a bag.
- "Mood lighting" during boarding and flight puts passengers in a buoyant state of mind.
- Cheerful flight attendants are a welcome relief from typical airline employees.
- Passengers settle into leather seats that have seat-back entertainment units.
- Use iPod earbuds to listen to onboard entertainment or pay $2 for Virgin America's headphones.
- Feeling under the weather? The touchscreen offers remedies for headaches, body aches, and sleeplessness.
- Recognize Virgin America planes by their orange tails emblazoned with the Virgin logo and painted like the U.S. flag.
Guide Review - Virgin America Review
Having been the victim of many long-established airlines where the passenger comes last and the crew is sour, resentful, and not even helpful, it was a delight to encounter Virgin America's staff. Not only did they make me feel safe on a series of recent flights; they also made me feel comfortable and welcome.
Most airlines offer passengers a movie en route when the flight lasts a couple of hours. Virgin America offers more than a dozen to watch for $8 each, less than what most movie theaters charge; foreign films are $5. There are also TV choices such as HBO and Showtime; they cost less.
If you'd rather not spend anything more that the cost of your ticket, you can watch "Best of the Web" selections and music videos. Or create a music playlist with songs from dozens of artists. In the R section alone, fans could pick tunes by Ray Charles, Regina Spektor, and Radiohead among others.
In addition to offering multiple entertainment options, Virgin America lets passengers eat when and what they want. The drawback: It'll cost you. Rather than getting standard airline swill to scarf, hungry passengers can select a snack or meal when they want using the touch screen in their seatback and swiping their credit card. Within moments, the flight attendant delivers the item.
After the plane touches down safely, you may find yourself asking: Why choose any other airline? The only answer I have is this: Virgin America doesn't fly there. But with continued and well-deserved success, it will.