Virgin America News

Airline Fees: The Ultimate Guide

Posted May 14, 2013 by SmarterTravel.com

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Two dollars for a soda? Ten bucks for an aisle seat? If you're confused about airline fees, we can help.

With our Airline Fees: The Ultimate Guide, you'll find a one-stop reference chart for every major airline fee from every major domestic carrier.

Best of all, you can download the airline fees chart in PDF format at no charge. Because unlike the airlines, we don't make you pay for things that ought to be free.

Click on the image above for a free download of Airline Fees: The Ultimate Guide.


Is Virgin America's New In-Flight Feature Cool or Creepy?

Posted May 13, 2013 by SmarterTravel.com

Airfare-Virgin-Seat-DD

Do you have trouble meeting dates? Maybe the problem is that you're approaching potential significant others at places where they can easily flee if they aren't interested in reciprocating your advances. Luckily, Virgin America has a solution for you! The airline has introduced a Seat-to-Seat Delivery service, allowing flyers to send a drink, meal, or snack to another passenger on flights. Virgin founder Richard Branson (who would probably send bottles of champagne to attractive strangers, were he ever to fly with the general public), encourages treat-senders to follow up their gifts with a "chat" (using the Virgin America in-flight online chat feature). Or, just pick someone in an aisle seat, and walk down to hover awkwardly over them, dropping your cheesiest pick-up lines for everyone in the surrounding rows to laugh at you!

Most flyers dread getting stuck next to a chatty seatmate on a long-haul flight, but that's usually easily solved by putting in your headphones or pretending to sleep. Now imagine being stuck next to that same seatmate, except the seatmate is sending you free booze, hoping to loosen you up a bit. It's like being trapped inside a flying meat-market bar!

We can also imagine the passive-aggressive orders you could make with this system—hate being stuck next to an obese flyer? Send him or her a salad if they order something unhealthy! Usually glare at people who bring crying babies on a plane? Send the child a whiskey for its bottle! Good times.

Intrigued? Like Virgin America on Facebook, and tell them how you'd "press your luck at 35,000 feet" for the chance to win flights and a stay at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

What do you think of the idea? Tell us in the comments!

 

Read the original story: Is Virgin America's New In-Flight Feature Cool or Creepy? by Caroline Morse


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Offset Your Carbon In-Flight With Virgin America

Posted January 26, 2009 by Katie Blais

Carbon-offset-2Ah the basic worries of air travel … will I get stuck next to some overzealous talker with horrible breath for the next five hours? Will the in-flight entertainment be Air Bud 2? Is my luggage going to get lost … again? Will this plane ride from Tucson to Chicago up my carbon footprint? Well ,thanks to Virgin America, at least my green heart can rest easy. The low-cost carrier has teamed up with Carbonfund.org to be the first airline ever to allow passengers to offset their flights all from the comfort of a cozy window seat.

Virgin’s super-cool touch-screen entertainment system, Red, gets even cooler. Punch in your credit card info and it calculates the emissions your trip is producing, you know all that gas and smog you see out your window when you’re stuck sitting next to the engine. Your donation to Carbonfund.org helps to provide funding for such environmentally friendly projects like reforestation, renewable energy, and energy efficiency.

An average cross-country trip—let’s say BookingBuddy’s home base of Boston to L.A. —only costs about $10, which I think is about the same price as those tiny bottles of vodka you can buy onboard—an easy sacrifice to help save the planet!

Other airlines are also jumping on the green train, er plane. Don’t forget about JetBlue’s green plan when you’re weighing your eco-options.

(Photo: HowStuffWorks)

Virgin Galactic to Base Spaceport America in New Mexico Desert

Posted January 6, 2009 by Zak Patten

Spaceportamerica I know I'm supposed to be a serious adult, and most of the time I am. But every now and then, especially when the topic of space travel comes up, the geeky eight-year-old in me perks up his Vulcan ears and marvels at the wonder of it all. And so it was when I read that Virgin Galactic, the commercial space-travel outfit headed by Virgin America and Virgin Atlantic mogul Sir Richard Branson, had settled on a launch site near Las Cruces and Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.

The site, to be known as Spaceport America, sounds like something out of The Jetsons, and judging by the "artist's renderings," which are the only view we have of the project now, it may look a lot like a Kennedy-era model for the space station of the future, albeit in the U.S. desert. And Virgin Galactic won't be the only tenant. UP Aerospace and Payload Specialties, as well as the tantalizingly named Rocket Racing League and Microgravity Enterprises will also be in residence. 

Once construction has been completed on Spaceport America, "the nation’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport," the fun can really begin. Apparently Virgin Galactic has quite the waiting list for its sub-orbital flights, with 45,000 registered "potential astronauts." I'm imagining the scene at the spaceport in about 2015—passengers gazing out at the launch pad, sipping Tang, and munching on freeze-dried ice cream. It'll probably be a few years before Spaceport America is merely one hub in the Virgin Galactic route network (the others of course being Spaceports Europe, Asia, the Moon, and perhaps Venus), but a "spaceline" has to start somewhere, right?

I'm feeling decades younger just writing about it. How about you? Are you excited enough about having a spaceport that you'll take a vacation in New Mexico just to see a launch or talk to an astronaut? Or are you waiting until the spacefare ($200,000 right now) comes back down to Earth? Please comment below and let me know.

(Image: Spaceport America)

AirTran, Virgin America, and More Add Flights to D.C.

Posted November 20, 2008 by Nicki Krawczyk

Refugeecamp If you’re spending your winter vacation days heading to Cabo or Cancun, you’re in the minority. However, if you’re using those days to sample a bit of history in our nation’s capital ‘round about January 20th, you’re in good company. Lots of good company. So much good company, in fact, that major carriers including AirTran, Virgin America, and JetBlue have all added flights into either Washington’s Dulles Airport or Baltimore/Washington International Airport.

Which is wonderful of them. Completely without sarcasm, I’ll say that I think it’s nice to see airlines responding to demand and trying to accommodate passengers. Here’s the tricky thing, though: Many, many, many people who are planning on heading into the city for the inauguration have already booked their flights—and hotel rooms. Meaning, if you’re taking one of the newly added flights from Atlanta, San Francisco, Los Angeles or Milwaukee, you’re on the late-boat for finding a place to stay.

But calm your panic-stricken mind. If you can’t count on your genial BookingBuddy blogger to solve your travel troubles, who can you count on? It is, therefore, my pleasure and privilege to offer a few suggestions for those travelers who have yet to secure a place to lay their heads.

1. College Friends. Chances are, you know at least one person from your college years who has since settled in D.C. January is a perfect time to visit, stay for a few days and reconnect. Stumped? Get creative: After all, six degrees of separation means you’re actually connected to everyone in Washington.

2. Bipartisan Bunking. Both candidates were aaaaaall about working with members of both parties to bring change-with-a-capital-C to the country. And if President-elect Obama and Senator McCain can be all chummy now, who are you to not follow suit? I recommend reaching across the proverbial aisle and inviting yourself into the home of a member of your rival party. If they’re hesitant, try hinting that your party allegiance is tenuous and you might be swayed with a sleeper sofa.

3. Statue Snoozing. If presidents stand on the shoulders of giants, you certainly have the right to sleep on them. Or, if not the shoulders, try the lap. Especially good for such repose is the Lincoln Memorial, wherein you can snuggle with a national hero and get a lovely view of the reflecting pool.

4. Floating Motel. Speaking of the reflecting pool, that’s an awful lot of unused real estate. With a raft, camp tent, battery-powered space heater, and a little ingenuity, you could outfit yourself quite nicely. Plus, you could bring a few extra and sell them to the highest bidders to demonstrate a little free market, entrepreneurial, all-American moxie.

5. Shantytown, Anyone? Don’t make any plans at all and get a first-hand experience of exactly why both parties have to work together to get the economy, unemployment, and poverty under control. It’s awfully cold on park benches in December, you know—no matter which city you’re in.

Any other ideas? Or have you already booked your hotel? What are your inaugural travel plans?

Richard Branson Unveils Virgin Galactic's Space Tourism Mothership

Posted July 29, 2008 by Zak Patten

Virgin_galactic As White Knight Two approaches an altitude of 50,000 feet, you brace yourself. The aircraft that's carried your rocket this far has done its job and must return to the desert runway far below. Seconds later, you're pinned to your seat as SpaceShipTwo's hybrid rocket sends you hurtling into the unknown darkness. Despite g-force three times that of Earth's gravity, you look into the eyes of your fellow passengers and smile knowingly. Within minutes, you've reached the internationally recognized edge of space, 62 miles above the Earth's surface. You are now officially an astronaut.

If you find this fantasy scenario appealing, and happen to have a spare $200,000, Sir Richard Branson would like to make you a space tourist. Branson, the celebrity billionaire head of the Virgin empire (featuring Virgin Atlantic and Virgin America), yesterday unveiled White Knight Two, the latest addition to Virgin Galactic. Though it's only partially complete and no firm date has been set for the first real trip, this plane promises to make space travel a reality for those who have the means and desire.

When that event does take place, the six passengers and two pilots (presumably there won't be a flight attendant handing out drinks) will spend two and a half hours getting from the ground to space and back again. Unfortunately, there won't be a full orbit of the planet on the first flights Virgin Galactic offers, but it still beats that turbulent Newark-Cleveland flight you took last year, doesn't it?

Richard Branson's plans for the "airline" are characteristically ambitious. He wants to get at least 500 people into space in the first year. This would rake in a tidy $100 million in fares, not to mention equal the number of people who have reached such heights in the entire history of space exploration. To date, 250 people have put at least some money down for their tickets, so he’s halfway there already.

Speaking personally, I don't have the credit card limit for such a pricey trip and I'm not typically the bravest of souls, but I would absolutely jump at the chance to travel into space. Would you? Leave a comment below and let me know.

(Photo: Virgin Galactic)

n00b Airline Virgin America pwnz Gamers’ Hearts

Posted March 14, 2008 by SmarterTravel.com

Virginredweb (If you have no earthly idea what the title of this post means, you probably aren't fluent in 1337, or Leetspeak, the language of online gamers.)

Anyone remember Delta Air Lines’ short-lived low-cost carrier Song and the joy of playing trivia games against other passengers?  Well, video game enthusiasts can rejoice as there’s a (semi) new kid on the block who may be able to fill the cavernous void in their nerdy hearts.  Nikole of GameGirl.com wants to declare Virgin America “the [un]official airline of gamers”.

It seems there’s something for everyone.  For example, the Oprah-watching stay-at-home mom might enjoy a nice game of Mahjong.1   The 20-something comic-book-reading virgin living in said mom’s basement might like the classic first-person shooter DOOM.2    And perhaps the hot sister of said virgin might want to try something more mentally stimulating, say a clone of Bejeweled.3

While Virgin gains popularity (they only had 2.7 percent of all pull-down airline searches on BookingBuddy in February), we suspect other airlines will follow suit.  We just can’t wait to see the chaos when someone ups the ante and puts the Nintendo Wii at the disposal of every passenger.  Hmm … maybe just first-class passengers.

[1] Okay, we don’t know that stay-at-home moms are gamers, but eMarketer indicated that Internet users who visit travel sites skew female and over 25.

[2] We also don’t know that virgins prefer flying on Virgin, but Occasional Superheroine Valerie D’Orazio reports that the average mainstream comic book reader is a 20-to-25-year-old video-game-playing single male with disposable income.   And while disposable income is a must in many cases for travel, we don’t know that comic book readers really live in their mothers’ basements.

[3] There’s also no evidence that the hypothetical virgin’s sister is hot, but Entertainment Software Association claims that 30 percent of all gamers are women age 18 or older.


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