Richard Branson

Space Travel for us? Looking possible.

What can we say? Space Travel for mortals, well, rich mortals, is now much more of a reality. Thanks, Richard Branson, and your enthusiasm, for kicking it off.

Virgin America’s new flirty feature


I admit it.

The reason I said yes to Virgin America’s invitation to fly on the first (party) flight from Los Angeles to Las Vegas (Flight #777 at the bottom of the screen above) on Monday was because Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson would be on board and I wanted to see if the ‘sparkle’ was all hype.

I don’t think it is.

Virgin America Richard Branson and the showgirls

Richard Branson and the Vegas Showgirls. Photo by Harriet Baskas


Any guy would be in a good mood surrounded by Vegas showgirls, of course, and Branson was in there kissing the ladies and hamming it up. But when I was given a moment to ask him a quick question he was focused, serious and polite.

But back to the party.

During this flight Virgin America rolled out its new seat-to-seat delivery feature, which allows a passenger in one part of the plane to order a snack or a drink and have it delivered to someone else.

Richard Branson introduced the flirty feature with this video:

As part of the “get lucky” roll-out, the airline is having an on-line contest (prize: a trip to Las Vegas and a stay at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas) asking passengers to share the in-flight pick-up lines they might use with this feature.

Some people think the seat-to-seat delivery option is a great ice-breaking idea.

Others think it could create situations that are awkward and creepy.

The new feature is available – along with a seat-to-seat chat function – on Virgin America flights nationwide as part of the seat-back entertainment system. But it’s likely that few folks flying between Las Vegas and Los Angeles will get to try it out: the flight time for that route is just about one hour.



To the moon or to the center of the earth

I’m sure I’ll have to update this come Sunday morning, but long before April 1, 2012 rolled around in my time zone, I made a few April Fools’ Day sightings.

From the Republic of Vanuatu comes word that Richard Branson has launched “Virgin Volacanic” in order to take travelers to the center of the earth

“Using patented carbon-carbon materials pioneered for deep space exploration, Virgin is proud to announce a revolutionary new vehicle, VVS1, which will be capable of plunging three people into the molten lava core of an active volcano.”

First up (or should I say down) is Etna – Sicily, Italy, followed by:
• Stromboli – Aeolian Islands
• Yasur – Republic of Vanuatu
• Ambrym – Republic of Vanuatu
• Tinakula – Solomon Islands

The first trips are scheduled for 2015. More details here.

Also, we have news from WestJet about a kids-free flying experience:

Details of Kargo Kids, including booking information and a simple, easy-to-understand demonstration video, is available on the WestJet website

Air New Zealand announced “STRAIGHTUP Fares” for those willing to fly while standing in the aisle holding onto a hand bar.

And Spirit Airlines, ever the prankster, announced $9 (each way) flights to the moon.