Hello from 35,000 feet

On board my first Virgin America flight as I write this flying from San Francisco to Los Angeles for a few days of work. They are one of the first airlines to offer WiFi (courtesy of GoGo) during the flight.

Virgin America have embraced digital in a big way, including a very active Twitter account -

@virginamerica

- where they encourage on board tweets and messages - and I'm sure for more reasons than you have to pay $9.95 for the connection ;-)

Gadget lovers will enjoy the VA experience. The screens work before and during take-off which is a huge plus point for me. I watched the news as we trundled down the runway. Also, there are buttons on the touch screen for ordering your food and other items. When you have decided, simply swipe your credit card and they bring it to your seat, It means that apart from the complimentary beverage service, they don't keep disturbing you by walking up and down the aisle.

Gone is the no smoking sign on the ceiling too - it is replaced by a much more relevant "turn off electronic devices" sign instead. Even the safety video makes reference to 99.9% of people already know how to fasten a seat belt, nice.

What really surprised me was that the window blinds were closed when we boarded and 90% of people left them closed for take-off, even though it's a day flight. The cabin is bathed in a very pleasant blue colour and so it seems people preferred this to daylight.

VA are certainly setting standards that others will need to follow. Those fellow passengers today who normally have the misfortune to fly the regular US national carriers appear somewhat stunned by this experience.

Time to sign off, we are landing in LA soon...