I’ve wanted to fly Virgin America for a long time, but I’ve never had occasion to do so until today. Richard Branson’s charisma and the chic of the Virgin America planes set the airline apart in my mind, at least as far as regular airlines that normal people fly. The mood lighting, most famously, but also the custom-designed “Red” seatback screens for entertainment, food and drinks, and even seat to seat passenger communication or treat ordering made the experience feel both more premium and more memorable than any recent American, Delta, or other flight I’ve taken in the past few years.

Alaska Airlines acquired Virgin a year or so ago, if I remember correctly. That merger is underway, and Alaska made what seems to be a bone headed decision to keep the “Alaska” brand and kill off the “Virgin” brand. I doubt I’ll get another chance to fly Virgin before they disappear. Hopefully Virgin’s most distinctive elements are brought to Alaska.

Anyway, I’m in San Francisco for the next two weeks.