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