As we've been reporting on all week, Virgin America just kicked off service between JFK and Las Vegas with their inaugural flight. Christening an A320 aircraft "Entourage Air", the cast of HBO's Entourage showed up in a hangar at JFK to squirt Champagne all over an eager Adrian Grenier-googly-eyed audience, then quickly slipped off for other premier events all over the country.
On the way to the kickoff party at the Palms in Las Vegas, passengers were treated to some of the amenities that first class passengers can expect on Vegas bound flights later this fall: (very) plush "Entourage Air" blankets, Godiva chocolates, Altoid mints and Kiehls amenitiy kits with moisturizer, shampoo and lip balm. We also got to see a preview of season five's opener, which should be airing this weekend – you can catch that and other episodes on their RED entertainment system from now on in flight.
Las Vegas airport was ready for us with a fire engine salute when we got there, and as we taxiied into our gate two giant plumes of water arced over the aircraft – I later learned that traffic at the airport has tapered off recently, no doubt because of decreased demand for vacation flights – so the tourism board is doing whatever they can to make Virgin happy.
In that light they threw an opening reception at the arrival gate, complete with showgirls, cake, more Champagne and a few fine words from local
oil tycoons dignitaries.
It took a while to transfer and check into the Palms – apparently they didn't realize that when an airplane full of people is going to check in that you need to staff your front desk – but near 9PM the party started to get rolling at the Playboy Club up on the top of the tower. We quickly found out that drinks were on "special" until nine thirty, so stocked up on Red Bulls & vodka since most of us were still on Eastern time.
I could tell you about all of the exciting things that went on at the Playboy club and then later on that night – shots, gossip and photos with the Virgin America crew, Michael Phelps apparently showing up at the bar and the wild, wild affection that some of our fellow bloggers share for each other – but you're probably not interested in that.
The prevailing point is that New Yorkers now have a direct line into Vegas on Virgin America, Travel and Leisure's "Best Domestic Carrier" and one of the most innovative airlines in the skies. If you have a tenth as much fun as Gadling did on your flight out to Sin City, it'll be worth every dollar you spent.
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