Inside Virgin American’s Orange County launch party

Some people say that the Virgin airline brand is the epitome of overindulgence and tackiness. That in pulling away from the legacy carriers they’re backing themselves into a velvet lined, absinthe swigging corner. That the millions and millions of dollars they’re putting into their brand Virgin America is money poorly spent on a shrinking, penny pinching economy.

Virgin America‘s inaugural flight and launch party to Orange County fits those descriptions perfectly.

Picture this scenario: You’re standing on the John Wayne Airport’s tarmac with 4 cameras, 12 batteries, a note pad, three pens and a laptop. Up pulls an Airbus A320, out of which Richard Branson galavants, careening down the steps with shorts and a surfboard, followed by MC Hammer and joined by members of Real Housewives of New York City. People rejoice. Branson dances around the tarmac, revelers drink champagne, pretty women flaunt their wiles and the celebration of service to Orange County begins.

Wouldn’t you know it? We loved every second.

Though times are tough in the airline business, Virgin America is moving forward with its expansion across the country, rocking every city as it descends in a blur of activity and excitement.

Last week’s OC launch started with a party on the SNA tarmac, and as the inaugural flight from San Francisco drew closer you could feel the excitement building. Luckily, we got a great spot on the tarmac for a view of the incoming airplane.

With the full crew on the ground including an alarmingly old MC Hammer and several members from Real Housewives of New York, the party kicked into full swing as revelers enjoyed more free drinks, appetizers and complimentary spray tans.

The party then moved over to the Pacific Edge Villa, where the Gadling crew enjoyed airline hobknobbing and excitement until the wee hours of the morning. Hats off to Virgin America for putting together an amazing event.

Ready to check out the madness for yourself? Book your tickets at