Traveling soon? If you’re a geek, you have certain things that are important to you in an airline. They need to be accessible, approachable. Preferably they have wifi or some kind of gadget-sexiness happening. They engage bloggers and go the extra mile to support the new media ecosystem. They understand the economy of favors and that if folks are taken care of, the airlines themselves will be taken care of.
As a frequent traveler, I know the airlines that match up to my “geek chic” likes. In no particular order…
I don’t get to travel JetBlue all that often because they fly out of Dulles, which is a good hour away with favorable traffic. However, when I flew out of Boston to San Francisco last month, JetBlue was available on Twitter to help me navigate the painful ticket lines and get me to my gate on time. The airline manager at Boston Logan was contacted to ensure I got where I needed to go.
Another airline that, at this time, flies only out of JFK and Dulles on the east coast is Virgin America. I flew Virgin America last year to BlogWorld and they were new – in fact, I covered them briefly before they launched. With in-seat media centers and USB ports at every seat, it was a geek paradise. They were planning internet access at the time, but it was not yet available. I’m not sure if it is now, but I’m due for another flight on VA to see exactly what they are up to these days.
For a discount airline, Southwest may have the best crossover between traditional benefits and new benefits. They highly value online participation by rewarding early check-ins online with better seat opportunities. In addition, they are very active on Twitter and can be found at many new media events. Besides that, they have a hub in Baltimore so they are the locals.
How can you not like an airline that, at Blog World Expo this year, handed me a bunch of peanuts to distribute for free to US Airways flight-mates that have to pay for every stinking thing on the inferior airline?
Less Robust, but still moving in the right direction, is American Airlines who recently announced wifi on their flights. According to Engadget, wifi will run $10-13, but if you want to surf the web on those cross country trips, AA is the airline to do it on.
If you’re in Canada, or plan to fly there, you may want to consider Air Canada. Though not all flights have the in-seat media centers, many of the larger flights do. The Media Center is not quite as good as Virgin Americas in my opinion, but in flight entertainment always is better than talking to a talkative old woman going to see her grandson.
Bonus: United Airlines
United isn’t all that great of an airline, if I’m honest, but they do offer one sexy feature for plane geeks. You can listen to Air traffic control on Channel 9 of all flights. Boring, yet entirely interesting all at one time.