11:26 PM

Finally, An Airline with Spunk

There really is only two ways to run an airline these days in America...the old stale way, sort of like the pretzels some of the legacy carriers pass off as "food", or the balls-out way that Richard Branson is running Virgin America. If there was ever any doubt that this guy has entered this market to win, this press release distributed by PRnewswire ought to put those doubts to rest:

Virgin America recently announced that it will partner with Victoria's Secret as the official "Airline of the Angels" for the 2007 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. On Nov. 12, one of Virgin America's brand new planes will be named in honor of Victoria's Secret and will fly 27 Victoria's Secret supermodels from New York to Los Angeles for the lingerie giant's annual fashion show. As the official "Airline of the Angels," Virgin America and Victoria's Secret will also host the first ever in-flight supermodel PJ party on a Virgin America flight from New York to Los Angeles this November. Lucky guests will get to fly in style with the Victoria's Secret supermodels and check out the latest VS PJ fashions at 35,000 feet.
When you set out to get the attention of the media, nothing shouts PR STUNT quite like a couple of dozen Victoria's Secret supermodels. And as a marketing and ad guy, I cannot for a moment find anything wrong with this – it is just more brilliance from an airline that is breaking the mold every day they fly:
This is a partnership made in heaven: some of the most beautiful women in the world flying one of the sexiest planes in the skies," said Charles Ogilvie, Director of Inflight Entertainment and Partnerships at Virgin America. "We can't wait for the supermodels to practice for their runway show in the aisles under our mood-lighting, chat with each other via our instant message system, grab a drink from the mini-bar or watch one of our 25 movies on demand inflight."
If you think this brand of commercial air travel just kinda sorta beats the living crap out of the legacy carriers, then you need to get over to the Virgin America site and enter their contest to win tickets on Flight 317 from JFK to LAX on November 28 for the Victoria's Secret Supermodel PJ Party and in-flight runway show.

According to their release, Virgin America will serve as many as 10 cities within a year of operation, and up to 30 cities within five years. Their brand-new planes pamper guests with a very cool in-flight entertainment system, with plugs for laptops and other portable electronic devices, giving each seat the ability to watch satellite TV and movies, order food or chat with other guests from their own video-screen.

It is about time someone in the commercial airline business raised the bar in the entire cabin, not just first-class. I sincerely hope Virgin America creams the competition on every route they fly, because if you've flown the cattle cars of the legacy carriers lately, you'll have to agree they've been almost begging for someone like Sir Richard to come along and show them how to treat their customers.

UPDATE @ 137P on 10.31.07: AdventureGuy – a WoF reader – noticed I did not make the distinction that Jetblue already offers a more deluxe business class cabin with lots of amenities that Virgin is offering. I have posted before that I consider JetBlue to not be in that pack of what I call "legacy carriers" i.e. American, United, Delta, et al, so I hope this clears things up. Yes, JetBlue's bar is already raised far above what most other U.S. carriers consider to be an acceptable bar level.

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