Delta launched this low-cost carrier last April on a fashionable note: Kate Spade designer crew duds, organic buy-onboard menu by former W Hotel chef Michel Nischan and seatback TVs. All this plus extra legroom.
The airline shuttles mainly between the Northeast and Florida but also flies nonstop to Florida from the West, including Los Angeles. Its promise, on its website, http://www.flysong.com : "The song is personal. It's unique. Memorable. And brings a smile to your face."
It does just that, for the most part. My LAX gate crew for my morning Song nonstop to Orlando was subdued. But at 54B next door, a Song agent regaled — or tormented — his captive audience with jokes such as: "Knock knock." "Who's there?" "Shelby." "Shelby who?" "Shelby coming around the mountain when she comes."
"We try to make it fun," he said.
Inside the squeaky-clean B757 cabin, where the color scheme was bright blue with lime, purple and orange accents, the good humor carried through to the safety audio, set to salsa music.
"You're lucky," the crew told us: We were on one of the first Song planes to be wired for live satellite TV, with 24 channels.
Or not so lucky. For more than half the flight, my seatback monitor and some others cut out every few seconds. ("It worked perfectly" westbound, the apologetic crew said.)
A diverting bonus was an on-screen music-trivia contest with such questions as: "What was the name of Kid Creole's band?" and " 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' was a super-hit for which group?" (Answers: the Coconuts; Nirvana.) Sign-on names and seat numbers were posted for the top 10 scorers. (My tally: an unhip 44%.)
You pay for food, and it's not cheap. But my gourmet vegan sandwich, a 7-inch-diameter lavash stuffed with grilled vegetables, tofu and rice, was worth the $8, and the Song Sunrise (vodka, orange juice and a splash of cran-apple), $5, wasn't bad either.
When I asked a shuttle van driver the next day what he'd heard about Song, he replied: "I hear mixed. There are no magazines and no [free] food."
Almost true. (There was a budget travel magazine in my seatback.) But I agreed with fellow passenger Ann Nethero of Moorpark: "When I was told I was flying Song, I thought, 'What kind of rinky-dink airline is that?' But it's really nice."
So was my one-way fare: $129.10 (including taxes), the lowest in the market the day I booked it.