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.

House music.

Discoballs.

Free headphones.

Red carpet.

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.

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About the Author:

Brian Solis

Brian Solis is principal at Altimeter Group, a research-based advisory firm. Solis is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders and published authors in new media. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis has studied and influenced the effects of emerging media on business, marketing, publishing, and culture. His current book, Engage, is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to build and measure success in the social web.

Visit Brian's page at http://www.briansolis.com

Discussion

    no imageXavier Vespa (Who am I?)10 November 2007 12:44 pm

    Did Virgin launched a blog campaign?

    The Product Is The Experience 2 – Virgin America

    Rate this:
    3.2
    no imagemike mcgrath (Who am I?)10 November 2007 2:04 pm

    Virgin America departs from the International terminal at SFO. Much better choices for meals in that terminal compared to the domestic terminal.

    One disappointment was that the touchscreen software isn’t fully implemented. Many of the options had the equivalent of a “under construction” dialog. I also found the audio choices limited and the volume was terribly low. An iPod is a better choice for now.

    All in all, Virgin America is a better JetBlue. It’s the first time in a long time I’ve enjoyed a flight!

    Rate this:
    3.1
    no imageAaron (Who am I?)1 March 2008 2:13 pm

    Virgin America…WOW I hope you will consider Portland, Oregon. the only West Coast based airline here is the overpriced, overbearing, poor customer-service oriented turbo-prop airline Horizon Air or there little sister airline Alaska…however their service is so poor as well it is cheaper to rent and car.

    Rate this:
    2.7 (8 people)