Virgin America, the airline that carries Boing Boing Video as an in-flight TV channel, launched service from Los Angeles to Dallas-Forth Worth, Texas this week. I joined other press for the inaugural flight, to live-tweet snapshots of the festivities. This included a bunch of cowboys and longhorn steer right on the tarmac at landing, and later, a "secret" performance by Willie Nelson with impromptu on-stage hoedown involving Sir Richard Branson and gorgeous flight attendants.

As a business story, their upstart break into the Dallas market is interesting: 80% of flights into and out of this hub have been American Airlines, until now. But as a visual story, I found it even more interesting.

Highlights of the evening: Sir Richard wearing a "Free Willie" t-shirt to introduce Sir Nelson, and asking, "Wouldn't it be nice if we lived in a world where they decriminalized [marijuana]?" And, sitting so close to the stage, I could read the tiny words carved into the face of Willie's beat-up guitar. He tossed one of his bandannas to me during the show, and I got a kiss and a handshake.

As has been widely reported, Nelson was just busted for weed by federal Border Patrol agents at a checkpoint in Sierra Blanca, Texas. When Branson introduced the 77-year-old Texas native (who appeared to be in better shape than I!), he said, "Ladies and gentlemen, I recently met someone who is so fit, he lost six ounces just last night. Please welcome Willie Nelson." What an amazing performer and a totally cool human being. — Xeni

Show gallery

Willie Nelson tossed me his bandana from stage last night.
Feshica (Virgin America flight attendant)
The lovely @casiestewart on the Tarmac.
Willie Nelson.
Willie Nelson Richard Branson Hoedown
Opera House: self portrait
DJ Lunatik (@djlunatik1)
Lassoing hotties
Cowboys at rest
Cowboy lassoing flight attendants
Longhorn shadow
Longhorn lomo
On the ones and twos, flight attendant @djlunatik1
So, cowboy luckily grabbed me as I snapped this steer. Nearly pierced! LONGHORNS GOTTA LONG.
Saddles as barstools
Sir Richard Branson.
Two kinds of tails: planes, longhorns.
Cowboys on the Tarmac (@virginamerica DFW)
Longhorn cutie (@virginamerica DFW)
Longhorn cattle welcoming committee on the Tarmac (@virginamerica DFW)
Red carpet.
DFW: drenched! @virginamerica
Water cannon on @virginamerica DFW arrival.
First Dallas touchdown
They're serving "giddyup" cocktails on the @virginamerica DFW launch. VEEV, club soda, jet fuel. 8am
At @virginamerica gate, ready to lift off to DFW. EVERYONE SOUNDS LIKE COWBOYS!
Up at dawn for inaugural @virginamerica LAX/DFW flight.
JPG:Xeni HTM:Rob @BB