After 9/11, the Airline industry seemed to be headed into a freefall faster than the buggy whip business after the invention of the automobile. Now, nearly six years later, we're seeing an unbelievable resurgence, led by upstart carriers who focus on profitable routes, low fares, and great amenities. While Southwest remains the granddaddy of them all, other airlines saw a way to offer the irreverent attitude of the country's most profitable airline, but add a little more entertainment and comfort.
JetBlue, whom I have blogged about a few times before, is clearly the leader in this area. I still will fly JetBlue anywhere, when given the chance, and they continue to expand. Here in Northern CA, they now fly aggressively out of Sacramento and, starting in May, will complement their Oakland and San Jose service with flights from...gasp...SFO! Delta's Song, from all accounts, offers comparable amenities and service to JetBlue. AirTran continues their push nationwide, with XM Radio at every seat. And Frontier, formerly a regional, is hitting the profitable West Coast market hard, with pricing on a par with Southwest.
But the airline I'm excited for is not only not yet flying...it's not even licensed to fly yet. Virgin America, the latest from the Virgin empire, looks to be offering a domestic airline with low fares and amazingly cool planes, but the US DOT is keeping the San Francisco-based carrier from taking off. Virgin's response? Recruit the Internet to lobby on their behalf. And, after checking out their site, I'm happy to lend my voice. The seats look incredible, the planes large...but the tech has me transfixed. Live TV, Movies, music, games...even a seatback food ordering system and IM other passengers! Check out Red for yourself:
Ok, let's let the marketplace continue to decide. Let VA Fly!
UPDATE: Talk about timing! Within a mere few hours of my post, Engadget posted their review of Virgin America's tech-loving plane, complete with a wealth of pictures. Ah...so nice to be on the same wavelength with the best tech blog. Great minds...