I read the consumer travel surveys, ranking Virgin America as tops in the USA, but the surveys need to put a big * at the bottom, reminding us that Virgin America is barely a niche player in the airline industry. Comparing Virgin America to United and Delta is not fair (and I hate to defend the big airlines) because Virgin America barely serves America. Delta serves 350 cities. Virgin America serves 14. You cannot compare the Mobile Museum of Art to the Met in New York. And you cannot compare little Virgin America to the big guys, no matter how good they are.
I live in the 4th biggest city in America. We have 4 million people in the metro area, but I cannot fly Virgin America. Last year, I lived in the nation’s capital, but I could only fly Virgin America to the West Coast, and then only when it fit their schedule (3 daily non stops to LA, for instance).
It appears to me that Virgin America is unmatched in inflight experience. It appears to me that their fares are reasonable. It appears to me that Virgin America has an unmatched PR machine. I will make them my carrier of choice when I can use them to get to Columbus, Orlando, and Peoria. And I would especially love it if they could drop me off at home at the end of the day.
For further reading: Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice