Everyone raves about Virgin America, which I had flown once in the past and had the bad luck of boarding the plane that was having technology issues. The entire computer system for the seats were down, so it was pretty much any other airline. Last month, I wanted to stop by San Francisco on my way to Seattle from Las Vegas, and Virgin America was the best option. This time the computers were working and the experience was great.
What makes this airline superior is their desire to make flying a more pleasant experience. A better way of flying is demonstrated in every detail from the interior finishes to the interactive computer system for each seat. Some airlines feature the touch screen computers with entertainment, but Virgin America took this to the next level allowing one to order food/drinks (alcohol is called "the good stuff" on the menu), play games (multiplayer support with other people on the plane), play music, watch music videos, live tv, and other on demand content.
The most memorable part of the experience is the safety video. While other airlines make this a boring video about buckling a safety belt, Virgin America features an interesting music video with dancing and singing on a set modeled on an airplane interior. Take a look for yourself.
Virgin America Safety Video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtyfiPIHsIg
What a breath of fresh air. I actually wanted to see the video on my second flight from San Francisco to Seattle. This is the opposite feeling I had boarding my sixth United flight this year (I have a similar distaste for United's newish logo). United's captive customers have to watch a safety video with the bare minimum of creativity, in addition to a corporate greenwashing video BEFORE. Be warned, this is a painful experience.
United Airlines Greenwashing Video (1/2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhjtlJP8IWE
United Airlines Safety Video (2/2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uez5tYNR9ZI
It's funny how some simple and creative ideas improving experience can carry the reputation of an airline over destinations and price . I would really like to see this airline grow as it's clearly a different company in the mediocre/bad world of American domestic airlines.