A quirky, little California airline, that launched in 2007 and to many veteran flyers recalls the good old days of the innovative PSA with its friendly flight crews and lofty style, Virgin America just keeps on getting better and earning accolades. Most recently the carrier was honored , for the third year in a row, by Airline Quality Rating (AQR) as the number one carrier in domestic performance. The achievement is based on publicly reported data all carriers must submit to the U.S. Department of Transportation from which AQR provides a comparative ranking based on key airline metrics important to air travelers today including: on-time performance, customer complaints, denied boarding and mishandled bags.
When compared with 13 other major U.S. carriers in these categories, Virgin America received the highest score in 2014 at -0.30. The California-based airline has led the industry every year since it became eligible for the AQR, which only ranks airlines that make up at least 1 percent of domestic scheduled-service revenue.
“To be recognized for the third consecutive year as the leading carrier in the Airline Quality Report is an honor and a testament to our guest-focused Teammates, both on the front-line and behind-the-scenes,” said Virgin America’s Chief Operating Officer, Steve Forte. “The rating, which is based purely on quantitative data, speaks to our commitment to operational excellence because our Teammates know that factors such as on-time performance and baggage are just as important to the overall guest experience as an award-winning product and service”.
Virgin America was also ranked as the fastest airline in America based on analysis of on-time performance conducted by noted statistician, Nate Silver. Using 12 month data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Silver compared the average flight times of U.S. airlines on a route-to-route basis, which showed that in 2014, Virgin America was faster than the competition on 87% of shared routes. The report can be found on Silver’s blog FiveThirtyEight.
Flying on Virgin America is a unique experience beginning with its whimsical takeoff safety video to its tech-forward interior décor with custom-designed seating, in-flight WiFi (for a fee), signature moodlighting, power outlets near every seat and the Red™ in-flight entertainment system. Every seat is done in leather but its First Class cabin is definitely the way to fly with its plush white leather ‘cradle sleeper’ seating that provides 55 inches of pitch, 165 degrees of recline and lumbar massagers, and pretty good food.
Main Cabin Select, which costs more than economy is worth the upgrade with seats that pitch 38 inches of pitch, free food and cocktails ordered by touch screen at your seat, an all-access pass to media content, dedicated overhead bins and priority check-in/boarding. The Red™ in-flight entertainment platform offers guests their own seatback touch-screen TV, with more than 20 films, live TV, interactive Google Maps, videogames, a 3,000 song library and an on-demand menu, which allows flyers to order a cocktail or snack from their seatback any time during a flight.
Virgin America, which will soon be adding Honolulu (Nov. 2015) and Maui (Dec. 3, 2015) to its schedule, offers serviced to and from Austin, Boston, Cancun, Chicago, Dallas Love Field, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Los Cabos, Newark, New York (JFK), LaGuardia Airport (LGA), Orlando, Palm Springs (seasonal), Portland, Puerto Vallarta, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington D.C. (IAD and DCA).
Virgin also operates the very cool Loft Lounge at LAX where for $40 you can relax in style with free WiFi, complimentary drinks, snacks and comfy seats, before flights.
See how much fun flying on VA is by viewing the video.