Pre-CES: Virgin America - where else can your seat be rebooted?

Observations on Virgin America and Press Day at the CES

On the way to the CES I took Virgin America, the new airline venture from Virgin, and had the bizarre experience of having my seat re-booted, no, not rebooked, but re-booted because the remote control unit for my seat wasn't working.

A reboot needed in Seat 16F please. Kevin Ho
How apt, I thought, that on the way to the geekiest, techiest place on Earth (at least for the next few days), that the plane carrying me there featured touchscreen entertainment center controls for on-demand food, music videos, tv, and mp3s.

The whole experience was, like most products these days getting our attention, was slick. The plane's interior, staff, even safety video were impeccably trendy, clubby and plastic. Although, the user interface on Leopardstill trumps, what am I really complaining about? We're talking about a plane seat here and it certainly beats any United or Southwest seat. And, it was cheaper than those airlines too.

With all that though, I still question the piloting of the plane. The pilot announced that there would be no further announcements at one point, but that we could track our progress via a Google map. Map didn't work. Other features like in-seat chat with other passengers may be cool if you weren't otherwise distracted, or if the plane's seats were lower, or maybe if the interior lighting was brighter than bar lighting, but nevertheless all these distractions didn't distract me from the sudden bumps during take-off, during the flight and while landing.

Perhaps all the design, packing and innovation may not be enough if your bases aren't covered. It still looked cool though.

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About the author

    Kevin Ho is an attorney living in San Francisco. He's from Iowa originally where he got his first Atari computer when he was little and remembers using the Apple IIGS. He is PC-user but secretly a Mac person in the closet as evidenced by many an iPod cluttering his desk drawers. He'll be writing about his experience with the iPhone. Disclosure.

     

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