One of the problems of flying Virgin America for the first time is having to compare all other domestic in-flight entertainment systems to Virgin’s RED. Last week Virgin showed off a few nifty upgrades to their already powerful system. Unfortunately I was not able to attend, but I was able to send a correspondent, Rita Harvey, to cover the event in San Fransisco. Here are her thoughts in her own words:
David asked me to fly to San Francisco (SFO) to represent him and Airline Reporter as Virgin America (VA) unveiled their new in-flight features. Having never flown VA before, I jumped at the chance. It was definitely a unique flying experience; the cool lighting as you walk on board, entertaining safety video and having more in-flight distractions than I knew what to do with at my fingertips.
After arriving at the gate in San Fransisco where their plane and employees were waiting to show off the new features, I got to board and was greeted with a glass of champagne. At this point, I knew I was in for a treat. I was escorted into the first class area and was given a one on one demo of what they’re adding [argh I haven't even been able to sit in VA first class yet -David].
One huge thing that will be new is having Sky Mall built into their entertainment system. The Red Store, as they are calling it, has over 200 products to choose from. As it states on the main screen, “ranging from little necessities to the coolest must haves”. I was pretty shocked to see a diamond encrusted iPhone for sale, only $38,000.
The next new feature that they have involves their food and beverage selection. There are going to be cocktails available that have been created specifically for their airline. I got to have one of their creations which was called a “Cocktail With Altitude” (ok, it might just be a normal drink with a fancy name, but that’s alright). Something else that they’re doing is offering food pairings. When the food ordering screen comes up, you’ll have the option to check out a whole slew of food, side, and drink combinations that complement each other. An example of this is their tapas platter, chocolate bar and either a non-alcoholic drink or an alcoholic one. Along with all of this, there will now be the option to open a tab. You can either choose to just buy that one thing or swipe your card once and leave the option to keep your tab open. Both of these will most likely entice passengers to part with their money more quickly.
The final upgrade is with their Google Maps. They’re now more accurate and now you can view the terrain. Having a map to see where your plane is and what landscape you are approaching is pretty cool.
Not only was it fun to get to experience this little jaunt down to SFO to check out Virgin’s entertainment upgrades but it was a pleasant first flight on Virgin for me, to and from the airport. I’m definitely looking forward to flying them again since they are probably one of the most enjoyable airlines to fly with.
* More photos of the event and flight from SEA to SFO
* Video tour from VA of the new RED features