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Weather delays dampen Virgin America’s launch


Low-cost carrier Virgin America found out yesterday what happens when two of the most delay-prone airports in the country are your hubs. As reported by USAToday, the airline’s inaugural flight yesterday from New York’s JFK airport to San Francisco International was delayed by 50 minutes when a torrential rain storm hit New York. Founder Richard Branson and CEO Fred Reid almost didn’t make the flight because traffic to the airport was so bad. Sadly, fake news anchor Stephen Colbert, who was supposed to provide in-flight entertainment, went home after trying to get to JFK for hours.

Despite the delay, the flight made it to San Francisco only 35 minutes late. The return flight was delayed by half an hour while a Los Angeles-to-San Francisco flight went off without a hitch. Numerous travel bloggers and analysts predict that the fledgling airline will continue to suffer delays at JFK and San Francisco, as have other airlines using those airports.

But hey, at least on Virgin America you can watch TV and movies at your seat and help yourself to some soft drinks from the minibar. With most other U.S. airlines, you’d be delayed and have nothing to distract you from your misery. In this day of lowered expectations, when asking for things like consistent on-time service and more legroom seem like asking for moon, the least-worst carrier may well be one that’s best at taking the edge off of what has become a painful experience.

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