by Brian Solis
Rarely will you see me review airline experiences…but, in this case I just have to share a few things about Virgin America.
There’s new crop of airlines, including JetBlue and Virgin America, that are forcing an entire industry to evolve with more personalized services – offering amenities and creating a unique atmosphere that starts to resemble limos rather than buses.
Virgin America is my new BFF.
It all starts with booking tickets, saving a lot of money, to selecting seats – all online, all within minutes.
But the real story starts when you arrive at the gate.
Everything is brand new, so it’s refreshing, and actually, pretty chic. It’s almost like arriving at an ultra lounge or a cool bar, almost forgetting that you’re actually getting shuttled off somewhere.
Virgin makes it about the experience.
This is all before you even set foot on the plane.
When you do however, you almost feel compelled to pull out your ID and a $20 so that you can enter the lounge and get your drink on.
The mood lighting is soothing.
The music is pumping while you take your seats.
It’s all rather calming and pleasurable.
The tinted glass dividers with floating screens are simply beautiful.
The leather seats are framed by a white plastic molding similar to something you’d see in a night club in Las Vegas – almost as if they were designed by Apple.
Cat 5 and electrical outlets are available at every seat.
But, they save the best for when you’re sitting down, and, that’s where the real differentiation and experience kicks in.
Introducing Virgin Red…a social network in the sky.
Like JetBlue, every seat as a screen…but with Virgin America, you have a screen, a remote, a keyboard, and the ability to define your own experience every time you fly.
Sure you can order food, drinks, and movies. But, you can also watch, for free, on demand music videos, TV programming, and also listen to music stations or create your own playlist from 1000s of songs. Oh, and there are also video games at your fingertips.
As I said earlier, it is also a social network and a preview to some very cool things that I’m sure will be inspired by this new system (which is currently branded as BETA). Red offers chatrooms or seat-to-seat text chats with fellow travelers – and people jumped in.
Very cool indeed.
All this for less than I would have paid for a Southwest flight.
Flying anything else, quite honestly, would be traveling back in time.