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Lunch » Tags » Travel » Reviews » Virgin America » User review

A United States-based low-cost airline.

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Chic-est Low-Cost Airline Yet!

  • Dec 29, 2009
Rating:
+5
Ever since I heard the announcement of Virgin America (VA), I had been eagerly awaiting to try them out.  Hearing all the features that they were to be incorporating to this low-cost airline and knowing that Richard Branson was partially behind it (Richard Branson is the man and he doesn't lend his name or the Virgin Brand to just anything), I was juiced because I knew it was going to be good.  When I finally got the chance to fly them, it was totally everything that they had promised that they would be, and then some.  I have something to admit.... I like VA more than my once beloved Jetblue :x  It was pretty much love at first sight/flight.

The only complaint that I can think of is how few cities they're currently servicing from, but hey, they just launched a scant two years ago and have expanded pretty quickly considering the short amount of time.  They currently fly between San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Las Vegas, Seattle, New York, Washington D.C., Boston, and very recently added Fort Lauderdale to that list.  They plan on expanding to a total of 30 major cities by their five year mark.  I'm lucky enough to live by their headquarters in San Francisco, which flies non-stop to all the other cities, and will proabably fly non-stop to most of the cities that they add in the future.  Don't hate.

...Especially after you read all the other reasons why I love VA so :P

Cost
Their main cabin is super affordable!  Somehow, their prices have lowered since they first launched.  When I flew to Seattle from San Francisco a couple of years ago, I thought $75 each way during their off-peak days and hours was a steal.  Now I can fly round trip from San Francisco to either Las Vegas, Seattle, or their southern California destinations for $39-$44 each way at the lowest.  To fly from San Francisco across the country to say, New York, Washington DC or Boston, is around $109 during their non-peak days and hours.  Not too shabby.  Taxes and fees don't add too much more to the total cost.

For main cabin flyers, there are other costs though, like for check in baggage, OnDemand movies, wifi, alcoholic beverages, etc, but if you plan on taking advantage of those, I suggest upgrading to main cabin select because for just a bit more cash, all of those amenities are included ;)

Booking Online
VA has hands down the best user interface that I've ever seen on any airline's website.  Not only does it look incredibly sleek and aesthetically pleasing, but more importantly, it's the most functional, logical, and useful airline website that I've ever had the pleasure of using.  Things that I love about their website:
  • When I select which city I want to fly out of, it only shows destinations that that city can fly out to instead of everything else, which saves my time and effort.  You'd think that this would be a no brainer for other airline websites, but alas, it is not.
  • It shows the cost and schedule of flights three days before, and three days after, your selected day, in an organized fashion so that they can be compared.
  • It also shows the difference in cost between main cabin, select cabin, and first class.
  • Once the flights are selected, it automatically shows the total cost of the flights on the page, taxes and fees included, so that I don't have to click through a bunch of pages only to discover some ridiculous fee (which VA doesn't have!).

Customer Relations
For years, I worked in an industry that required ridiculously awesome customer service and customer relations, so I'm a total ho for good customer service, and VA delivers!  I've never dealt with VA on the phone before, but their checkin folks and the inflight crew have always been peppy and awesome.  There's something about that VA culture.  Furthermore, when there's something lacking on the flight, like their inflight entertainment center isn't working or something, the crew's really apologetic about it and make up for it with complimentary alcoholic beverages, or maybe a voucher to watch a free movie during your next flight.  It's the thought that counts!

Inflight Experience
I've only ever flown in the main cabin of VA before, aka coach, but you know what -- coach on a VA plane is much nicer than some of the first class cabins of other low-cost airlines that I've flown on.  Of course, you don't get complimentary booze, but with the money that you're saving and the added comfort, I think you can afford to buy a cocktail or beer if you really wanted one ;)  These are a few of my favorite things that set VA apart from other budget airlines:
  • Sleek interior -- One of the most aesthetically pleasing plane interiors I've ever seen.
  • Mood lighting -- More planes need to adopt this.  I love the pretty bluish, purplish, pinkish lighting.  Beats harsh yellow lighting!
  • Inflight entertainment -- You get your own little TV screen and a remote control.  There are games, TV shows, movies, and you can even make your own music playlist.
  • Food and beverages -- Non-alcoholic beverages and a little snack are free, but alcoholic beverages and more substantial food can be bought.  This can be ordered and paid for by swiping your credit card in that very same inflight entertainment system.
  • Wifi -- Have yet to try it since all the flights that I've been on have been so short that it's not worth busting out my laptop or iPhone, but it's good knowing that it's there.  It's between $5.95 to $12.95 per flight depending on how long the flight is.

I know what you're probably doing right now -- either rushing to virginamerica.com to plan your next excursion, or eagerly awaiting for VA to come to a major city near you.  Bon voyage! ;)
Chic-est Budget Airline Yet! Chic-est Budget Airline Yet!

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Post a Comment
December 27, 2011
No routes in or out of Buffalo yet? That's a shame. Those prices could suit me.
 
July 24, 2011
Good prices !
 
September 13, 2010
thanks for the clear review of VA. I'll definitely try their website.
September 15, 2010
Thanks for checking out my review, Joy! You'll dig their website :)
 
August 14, 2010
What a great review! I want to hop on a flight right now just to see the mood lighting!
September 15, 2010
If you've never been on VA before, you've gotta fly them one of these days! The mood lighting makes a surprising difference :)
 
August 07, 2010
I've always enjoyed VA flights. They do things right, even in this era of no frills and charging for everything.
September 15, 2010
They sure do! Thanks for checking out my review, Linda :)
 
April 11, 2010
What I like about Virgin is watching them land at night at LAX and watching the purple and blue neon lights glimmering inside the cabin during the landing approach. What would make the experience better is for them to have a disco ball and music and convert the cabin to a dancefloor. That would be cool.
August 07, 2010
That would be cool!
 
January 05, 2010
I've never flown Virgin. I looked at their packages for my upcoming trip to Egypt but found a better deal at Delta. I will have to keep them in mind.
January 10, 2010
I know Virgin America doesn't fly to Egypt, but Virgin Atlantic might. Anyhoo, I'm envious of your trip! :)
 
January 05, 2010
I love VA as well. In addition to every reason you listed, I also love their advertisements! The branding is great. But did we expect anything less from Richard Branson?
January 10, 2010
Yes, their advertising is awesome, and those safety videos are rad, too! Richard Branson = The Man, as far as I'm concerned :P
 
December 30, 2009
I LOVE this airline....so I guess we can post travel stuff now- woohoo!
December 31, 2009
Yup, a small percentage of travel stuff is allowed now. I guess that's hello, Tahoe review, for you! ;)
 
December 30, 2009
I hate to fly, but when I do, I choose Virgin America. Wow, did that sound like a radio commercial or what? I have even taken Sancho on flights with me, and they are so accommodating. You have inspired my next review, thanks Debbie!
December 30, 2009
Haha, like The Most Interesting Man in the World!  "I don't always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis" :P  I don't think I've ever seen any doggies on any flights that I've been on.  Sancho flying must be so cute!  Can't wait to see what review this inspires :D
 
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More Virgin America reviews
Quick Tip by . January 27, 2010
Funnest airline I've been on yet! Bonus points for being wallet-friendly & chic, too :)
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devora ()
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When I'm not Lunching, I'm a jeweler, and an all around, self-proclaimed web geek. My passions include social media, the interweb, technology, writing, yoga, fitness, photography, jewelry, fashion, … more
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Virgin America, Inc. is a United States-based low-cost airline that began service on August 8, 2007. The airline's stated aim is to provide low-fare, high-quality service for "long-haul point-to-point service between major metropolitan cities on the Eastern and West Coast seaboards". San Francisco International Airport is Virgin America's principal base of operations. Virgin America's frequent flyer program is known as eleVAte and runs on a "dollars spent versus miles accrued" model.

Virgin America, though the brainchild of British entrepreneur Richard Branson, is a U.S. airline. By law, no more than 25% of a US airline may be owned by foreign interests and must be under the "actual control" of U.S. citizens; VAI Partners LLC owns 75% of the capital stock and is responsible for appointing two-thirds of the voting members of the board of directors. The remaining 25% of the company is owned by Virgin Group, which also licenses the Virgin brand to the airline.

Virgin America, headquartered in Burlingame, California, is separate from Virgin Atlantic and as such is under no obligation to work with Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Blue, Virgin Nigeria, Virgin Galactic or any other companies that share the Virgin brand name. However, on June 3 2009 - it established an interline agreement with Virgin Blue international subsidiary airline V Australia which allows Virgin America customers access to V Australia's trans-pacific long haul network ...
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