Virgin America

I can't remember the last time I thought an airline was cool. That's just not an association one has with an airline brand except if flying first or business class internationally. But Richard Branson's new Virgin America sounds pretty sweet. Two 110-volt power outlets for every three seats! USB connectors! Wi-fi and Ethernet internet access on the plane (eventually)! Nerds everywhere excitedly rush onto Twitter to announce their in-flight status. Such is the technological prowess of their airplane that they earned a writeup in Wired's Gadget Blog.

What will the in-flight chat rooms turn into? I find most flights to be grim affairs, the social atmosphere rising at most to a level of quiet courtesy born from solidarity of suffering. Will users be identified by their seat number, or name? Or will they be anonymous? If it's the latter, I see a swarm of anonymous complaints arising when there's a screaming baby on board.

I tried booking a flight through their website and ran into a lot of problems (my session kept resetting), so they may still have some kinks to work out. But they fly out of LA to SF and DC, and they've done enough brand differentiation so that they'll be my airline of choice for those flights.

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