Without a doubt, the best family-friendly airline in the hellish landscape of air travel is Virgin America. Actually, the Virgin America in-flight experience is the best for everyone with their black leather seats, purple mood-lighting, an on-demand ordering system, outlets in the seats, Wi-Fi in the air, and super fun attitude, which is best represented in their entertaining safety video.
I began flying Virgin America pretty much since it launched in 2007 but my appreciation for the airline grew immensely after I had children. In fact, Virgin America was the airline for both of my daughters' inaugural flights when they were each two months-old. Since then, I've ordered numerous Virgin America Jetset Kids packs which come with sandwiches, snacks and little toys like these Wikki Stix. My children have been entertained by the kids movies and shows on the seatback TV (for a fee if you're not in main cabin select) and every so often, I'll hear them sing a few lines of the safety video song. ("Virgin America knows all the places you wanna be....")
Most of all, the crew at Virgin America has always been lovely to my children. Several of them have happily held my babies when I needed to go to the bathroom, or was rooting around in my carry-on for the pacifier. But my most memorable moment flying happened when we were boarding a Virgin America plan and two female pilots invited my daughter to sit in the pilot seat for a few minutes. So awesome.
But now that Alaska Airlines have acquired Virgin America, I fear for Virgin's excellent famly-friendly offerings. While there has been a lot of speculation going on around the internet about the merger (even Sir Richard Branson opined on Alaska's plans for his beloved Virgin), the truth is not much is going to change right away. But once the deal goes through all the required merger approvals (probably at the end of the year), we bet Alaska will be eager to jump on the changes.
Let's hope that they keep the family-friendly vibe going. (FWIW: This blog post from Travels with Baby on flying Alaska with children is uplifting. No mood lighting or cool safety video though.)
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