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Originally published May 7, 2013 at 6:30 AM | Page modified May 7, 2013 at 8:48 AM

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Flirting and flying: It’s easy on Virgin America

Send a drink, follow up with seat-to-seat computer chat, if you see someone you like on a Virgin America flight.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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Air travel isn’t as much fun as it used to be. Between the full-body scans, late departures and wacky baggage fees, there’s a lot not to love. Just last week, I was on a plane that was moments from takeoff when the pilot suddenly put the skids on and announced that he didn’t like the look of a warning light in the cockpit.

If he didn’t like it, you can be assured that I downright HATED it. In reassuring tones, he said that it was probably just a “glitch” that could be fixed by simply “powering down” and rebooting the plane’s computer.

Who knew that fixing a jet airplane was as simple as the same thing I do when my laptop freezes? Would the pilot do the same thing I do and go make a sandwich while he waited for it to “come back on”?

It was a hot day so he suggested that we pull down the window shades so we wouldn’t sweat too much. A flight attendant groped her way through the dark cabin offering warm bottled water.

It was so romantic.

Wait. What?

Airplanes can be a great place for a hook-up, if you believe Richard Branson, the CEO of Virgin America. Branson has just announced the airline is offering a new service in which you can swipe your credit card and send a drink to a fellow passenger that you’d, heh-heh, like to get to know better.

You can even follow up with a seat-to-seat computer chat.

“I’m not a betting man but I say your chances of deplaning with a plus one are at least 50 percent,” says Branson in a video introduction to the new service.


Branson believes that every single flight presents an opportunity for getting to know someone better. Was it your imagination or did the cutie pie in 5E give you an encouraging, even eager, smile when you knocked her in the head with your golf bag? Yeah. She wanted you. You could tell. Better order her up a daiquiri. Tell her it’s from her future soul mate in 14C.

And what about that cute guy in 8E? Didn’t he give you a supportive glance when you took an eternity to stuff your carry-on into the already full overhead compartment? Yes, there was definitely a moment that passed between you. His eyes said: “I don’t hate your guts nearly as much as everyone in line behind you does.”

Too stalker-like? Fortunately, there is a “decline the drink” and “block message” feature if you honestly aren’t interested in gettin’ busy somewhere over Tulsa. And who can blame you? It was bad enough when you had to deal with a chatty seatmate and now this? Why can’t people just let you enjoy your fearful-flyer Xanax buzz in peace? No texts from strangers (“Is it hot in here or is that just YOU?”) please. We’re just happy with an airplane that, you know, works.

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