Virgin America: A second time experience.

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logo_VA As of right now (2:15pm), I am in the air at least 30,000 feet in the sky. However, as I am writing this, I must tell you that my second experience with Virgin America is a disappointment. We have been up in the air for at least twenty-five minutes and still to this second, there is no entertainment system available. No radio, no television, no movies, no flight tracking and just about no nada.

Before this flight, I was excited to try out some of the features that were available during the first flight in which I did not have the extra time to check out. I must report that during this flight I will be unable to do so. I had the urge to call a flight attendant to find out why they were experiencing technical difficulties to offer customers what they paid for what they expected to be available during the flight; however, I felt that they did not have the technical knowledge or understanding to explain to us why we were experiencing technical difficulties during our flight. I felt that these questions would be better suited for Virgin America to explain what went wrong during Flight VX961.

I do want to acknowledge that most customers during the flight did not seem to mind the technical difficulties that were on-going during the flight, but I did noticed that some customers were experiencing some disappointment that they did not have any other additional entertainment services available on the flight. As for me, I know that I’m lucky enough to have been flying on my life to know that you should always bring backup with you in case something does not go right (such as in this case). I brought my laptop to blog about this experience. I brought my iTouch to listen to music (which was also suppose to be provided by Virgin America). I brought books in case my electronics failed me (believe me, I’ve learned the hard why after 28 years of flying and I’m only 28!).

Virgin America, during this flight, it was my expectation that I would be writing some more rave reviews of my experience on my flight back to San Francisco, CA, but I’m afraid that I cannot do that this time. My heart does not like the fact that I had to write a negative review of my experience today, but I hope that significant improvements will be made now so that this does not happen again in the future.

Just one positive note: The service provided by your flight attendant(s) and pilot(s) has provided exceptional service during both of my flights and I believe that’s something that you should be quite proud of!

Actually, hold on, here’s one more to add on top of that: as I got to the end of writing this post, I noticed that my battery power had gotten low. I kept thinking, oh great, now how am I suppose to finish it? But then I remembered something…

I remembered that you provided outlet for additional power source for laptops, cell phones and etc! So I checked underneath my seat and viola!

Virgin America, you’ve just been saved by an power outlet!

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120 Volts

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It’s the end of the 4th of July. A long, exciting weekend for many of us. For some, the dreading moment has already arrived. For others, it is still awaiting for our return. The moment, of course, is the day that we go back to work. The moment, in which, our daily rituals are never-ending. You knew that the day would come, but you didn’t think that it would end so far.

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As for me, that moment is still awaiting for me. As of right now, powered by 120 Volts, powered by Amtrak, I am able to write this post. I have to say that my overall experience hasn’t been too bad. If I had to compared this experience to my last experience, well, all I can say that the experience has been a vast improvement compared to last time. This train ride so far has been a pleasant experience. At first, I realized that I was on the wrong side to board the train heading to San Diego, but with quick feet, I made it to the other side in plenty of time to board the train. As I boarded the train, I went up the stairs and quickly found an empty seat for myself and for my travel suitcase.

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As I got myself comfortable, (the train has plenty of leg space!) I was able to pull out my laptop with ease. Not only that, I had plenty of typing room to work on this post. Please feel free to check out some of the pictures that are posted. As you can see, this is a vast improvement compared to my last experience riding on Amtrak trains. The ride on the train is quite smooth right now. Before, the train shook and vibrated so bad that it was nearly impossible to type, but now, I can look out the window and type and watch has beautiful houses, trees, and people pass me by.

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Improvements

Now, for all reasons that I mentioned above, that yes, the experience was overwhelming positive. However, I still believe that there can be significant improvements that can be made to make the ride even more positive than before.

Wi-Fi

Free or not, I believe that wi-fi should be offered on all trains. I would hope that Amtrak would be able to find a way to encourage that they would be able to offer free Wi-Fi to their customers, but I understand that sometimes, not everything is possible. Nevertheless, if Amtrak does opt for paid Wi-Fi, I would be more than happy to pay $5-6 bucks for up to two hours of Wi-Fi time. My best guess, since I don’t have internet right now to research this, is that Amtrak is or already is setting up a system that will enable this use within the next several months or two to three years from now.

*Update: A little after half an hour on writing this, Amtrak does offer free wi-fi. However, at some places during the trip, it can be extremely slow.

Accommodations

Accommodations are still lacking for people who are deaf/hard of hearing and blind. With the technology that we have now, announcements of arrival to a station should be announced electronically and verbally. For my trip, all arrival announcements were made verbally, but still, if a client who was totally deaf would still not know when they have arrived at a particular station. Now, yes, some could argue that there are signs at the station for them to look out the window that let’s them know that they have arrived, yet, what if they get distracted texting a friend, in a deep conversations with their wife, reading a suspenseful book, or is typing a blog on their laptop computer?

Accessibility is not an issue; accommodations is the issue. I believe that accommodations should be given equally to all customers.

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