From the moment I approached the Virgin America check-in desk at Los Angeles International Airport, I knew I wasn't flying a typical U.S. airline.
With smooth and soulful music playing amidst a relaxed and softly lit check-in area, I felt like I was checking into a trendy hotel. Here's my review of my first experience flying Virgin America in this installment of "Road Warrior Tested."
Route: Los Angeles to Seattle.
Aircraft: An Airbus A319 seating 8 passengers in first class and 111 in economy.
Cabin/Seat Assignment: First class seat 2A, which offered 55 inches of space between rows and a 21-inch wide white leather seat.
Service: Simply stellar. The check-in agent was courteous and friendly. The youthful flight attendants were attentive and professional, and the captain welcomed everyone on board over the PA system, while standing at the front of the cabin just prior to the door closing.
Comfort: A pillow and blanket were available on each first-class seat upon boarding. The seat itself offered generous room for reclining and included an electronic foot rest. Pre-set seat position buttons including "take off," "comfort" and "relax" allowed for simple seat adjustment.
Entertainment:Virgin America's in-flight entertainment system, dubbed "Red," offered 31 movies, live satellite television and on-demand, and pre-released TV programs. Games and music were also available. Internet Wi-Fi service was available for a fee, though my computer had difficulty accessing the system. My Apple iPhone did recognize the service. The cost is $6.95 for unlimited access or $1.95 for a 15-minute session.
Meal: I had a choice of either a fruit plate with blueberry yogurt and granola, or a Thai fruit ceviche and pepper jack omelet. Being an omelet fan, I went with the latter and it was absolutely delicious, well presented and the best breakfast dish I've had onboard a domestic U.S. airline.
Summary: I've always wanted to try out Virgin America, but continually stayed loyal to either United or American simply to maintain my frequent flier elite status. When Virgin America launched a first class airfare sale during the July 4th holiday period, however, it was far too good to pass up. And was I impressed. I'm certain they'll be seeing me again very soon.