on taking flight …

My new favorite domestic airline is Virgin America.  Great service; entertainment systems at each seat; new planes that are pristine clean; and they fly Airbus 320s instead of the Boeing 757 which is a plane that I find totally uncomfortable, cramped,  and torturous to ride in even for relatively short flights. S/O and I did a heck of a lot of flying on three different airlines this summer.  What a contrast!  Because as teachers we have a lot of time, but not a lot of money, we fly the cheapest fares that we can find. 

We flew American to Honolulu.  American flies Boeing 757s exclusively to Honolulu.  I hate that plane.  The American configuration is so tight and cramped that I find even the relatively short four and a half to five hour flight absolute torture.  To make things even worse, American only has the old fashioned overhead entertainment systems so if you don't like the movie, you have no options and their in flight magazine is horribly boring.  The planes they fly on the Hawaii route are old and beat up.  My earphone jack was so worn out that I had to hold the plug in one position or the sound didn't work and S/O's seat was broken so it couldn't lock in the "upright and locked position" and kept flopping back unless S/O sat forward during take off and landing.  WTH???  American flight attendants, while not great, at least aren't mean and belligerent like those on United who are without a doubt the absolute WORST OF THE WORST!!!  If you are flying to Hawaii and the prices are relatively close, try Hawaiian.  They fly on time, they fly 767s which are much more comfortable, they still serve hot food (believe it or not), and their flight attendants are friendly (if a bit overly chatty at times … IMHO).

I flew my virginal flight on Virgin America from LAX to JFK and it was quite nice indeed!  The planes have this neat and kind of funky purple lighting system.

  During the flight, flight attendants do one pass through with carts serving drinks and selling food and snacks, then after that you have the option to purchase or order additional food and drink through your touch screen.  You just touch the diet coke icon and a flight attendant brings one to you on a tray!  S/O and I purchased sandwiches on board and they were delicious!  I really don't mind paying nine bucks for a sandwich if the fare was cheap, the service is good, and the sandwich is a good one!  You can also watch free satellite tv or select from about a dozen first run movies that cost eight bucks.  The Airbus A320s that they fly have more leg room and I think the seats are a little wider than the American 757s.  All in all, it just makes is MUCH more comfortable … I'm six feet, two inches tall and it makes a huge difference!!!  I'm not so delusional to think that Virgin American will be great forever, but right now if you need to fly domestically they're certainly the ticket to purchase!!! 

We flew Delta from JFK to Prague.  The flight was nine hours, but international flying in general tends to be a different animal.  All of the airlines (I think) still feed you regularly and there is just more room all around.  The Delta 767 that we were on to Prague was pretty old, but it was clean and everything worked.  No individual entertainment systems, but the overhead programming was decent and the flight over was a night flight so I wanted sleep most of the way anyway.  In fairness, S/O booked us into an exit row so we were extra comfy for the long haul, but even the regular seats looked decently spacious compared to our American flight. The Delta International cabin crews were really good! 

And then you have United … Ugh!!! … United NEEDS to go out of business and all the employees need to be let go.  They are angry and they are dissillusioned with the airline that they own … Based on my United experiences, I have to ask, what is the benefit of a company being "employeed owned" anyway???  On my last United flight, the flight attendants were a bunch of old grumpy hagS and old grumpy bastard assholes that spent the whole flight sitting in the back of the plane complaining about their company.  When we got to baggage claim, four United flights had arrived at LAX at roughly the same time and bags for all four flights got unloaded onto one single baggage carousel while two or three other carousels in the United wing sat unused.  It was a friggin' mess. 

To top it all off, my United Visa card with Chase has become a waste.  I don't spend enough on it to make the eighty nine dollar yearly fee worth it so I'm switching to a FREE Virgin America mileage card right away.  I want nothing more to do with United!!!  They'll need to be significantly cheaper than their competitors for me to fly them again.  I HATE that airline at this point!!!  Just go out of business and let some other start up carrier take over your routes and provide us with better service!!! 


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