Plane Names

Virgin America has named all its in-service planes with monikers like "Tubular Belle" and "Virgin & Tonic" (said that one out loud).I flew on Saturday on three of their craft: Runway Angel on the way down, My Other Ride's a Spaceship for the press flight, unknown plane on the way back! I asked the cabin crew on the commercial flights what the name of the plane was. They didn't know. They promised to find out for me. They did not! When I met David Kush, the CEO of Virgin America, at the press event, after some chitchat, I mentioned that the cabin crew didn't seem to know the monikers. For a serene guy, he was momentarily nonplussed. "They should know that!" The point of naming the planes is part of the overall Virgin America aesthetic: making flight more comfortable, personal, entertaining, and interesting. They're only partway there, to be sure, but it's clear they're also trying. The one flaw I experienced was that the seatback entertainment system, Red, is a little sluggish and buggy. I wasn't able on the flights between SEA and SFO to watch almost any of the live TV stations--there was a satellite issue with a technical error screen (that I'd also seen on Delta Airlines in-flight system recently). The touchscreen aspect is pretty poor: it's not gesture based, and tap recognition is very coarse and poor on the three different screens I use across three flights. Given that Delta and Virgin's system looked awfully similar, I suspect there are very few vendors for this kind of thing.