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Virgin America Delivering On Grand Promises  
User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1740 posts, RR: 39
Posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 24383 times:



Virgin America was established in August, 2007 and with it came promises of bringing "low fares and high quality service". In typical Richard Branson fashion, the airline celebrated its first day with lots of fan fare, press and camera flashes all around. Over the last eighteen months Virgin America has received headlines for numerous issues ranging from lawsuits by competitors to well known aviation analysts predicting their abrupt and immediate demise. Despite all this the airline has wavered on, slowly announcing new destinations and garnering rave reviews most of which are from frequent flyers who were very loyal to their respective airlines.

http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/Virgin%20America/VirginAmericaFareSale.jpg

Having never been a large fan of anything Virgin, (least of all Virgin Atlantic) which from my experience has failed to deliver anything remotely consistent or memorable. It was with some apprehension (but more curiosity) that I booked a one way from Los Angeles to Boston for a mere $79 plus tax. So far Virgin America delivered on their “low fare” promise, now it was time to see if they airline could pull off the other half of their lofty promise and deliver high quality service.

Virgin America 360
Los Angeles - Boston
Airbus A320-214 (N624VA) (fred, white and blue)
Seat: 19A
Scheduled Departure Time: 7:00
Actual Departure Time: 6:54
Scheduled Arrival Time: 15:25
Actual Arrival Time: 14:59

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Photo © Jakub Sulima
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Photo © Josh May


Check In: As with most airlines, check in opens 24 hours before the flight. As my work day died down on Friday, I logged onto Virgin America’s website and printed off my boarding pass before heading for the airport to catch my flight to Los Angeles. Flying non revenue is always tough but thankfully I made it to Los Angeles without any problems.

At around 5:30 the next morning, I met up with two friends who had decided to join me on the trip. All three of us walked up to one of the white Mac screens on the check-in table and proceeded to check in and get some freshly printed boarding passes.
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The boarding passes that came out were rather interesting and unique. While they were printed on real thick boarding paper stock, they were half the size with a bright red back.
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/Virgin%20America/DSC06556.jpg
Security was a rather simple affair at this early hour and we were through in no time with a large TSA stamp ruining our otherwise pristine white boarding pass. The last time I had ventured through doors of Terminal 3 was back in 2003 when I flew Alaska Airlines up to San Francisco. Sadly, the only thing that seems to have changed since then is the frequent flyer card in my wallet. The terminal was still plain and drab, I was expecting a bit more of a remodel from Virgin America. Nevertheless their presence was still very prominent with a set of white counters being placed along one side of the pier. The counters were very similar to the check in desk area, but this time the computers were Dell rather than Mac.
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There were not a lot of flights going out this morning, which is why I was very surprised when I walked over to gate 37B to look at our aircraft and found this on the gate screen.
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/Virgin%20America/DSC06486.jpg
I could only be so lucky to be flying V Australia to one of my favorite places on earth. I’ll give them credit though; Brisbane and Boston both start with a “B.” The aircraft that was sitting outside was one of the earlier A320’s delivered to Virgin America (June, 2006 to be exact), named fred white and blue. As many of you know, Fred Reid was Virgin America’s original CEO before the Department of Transportation (DOT) requested his removal as a condition to let Virgin America fly.
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Boarding:Boarding was called by groups and since I had boarding group B, but my two friends had group C, we proceeded towards the gate together. I took all three boarding passes and handed it to the gate agent hoping he would not notice the different groups. He looked at me and smiled,
“Come on now, I have seen parents hold boarding passes for their kids but aren’t you guys a bit too old to be doing this.”
We chuckled and one of my friends commented about how he acts a like kid at times. The agent scanned all three boarding passes and wished us a pleasant flight.

As we walked onboard, we were greeted by a young male flight attendant who I shall call “E” from now on. We proceeded through the eight seat First Class cabin which looked very inviting unlike the majority of the airlines in this country. While the white leather seats with big red pillows looked very inviting, sadly we headed towards the back today. Almost all the window shades were still down and you could tell the mood lighting was in the full effect, shades of purple and blue lit up the rather dark cabin. Having flown numerous wide bodies with mood lighting, it was nice to see this feature on a domestic narrow body aircraft as it made the cabin look fresh and inviting.
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/Virgin%20America/DSC06496.jpg

http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/Virgin%20America/DSC064962.jpg
Once seated, the black leather upholstery was actually comfortable, much better than Delta’s rigid blue leather seats. The legroom was standard, not overly roomy or anything but then again I have been spoilt with my years of exit row seats. The plane started to fill up quickly and it soon became apparent that it would be a very full flight today. Then again, what do you expect for the bargain basement price of $79 one way with tax? The only thing in the seat pocket other than the safety card was a little booklet outlining some features available on Virgin America.






The captain came on to welcome us and proceeded to mention our entire route and all the landmarks we would pass. As one of my friends is a first officer for another airline, he just looked at me with a smirk and an “I guess we got a chatty one up front.” Then again, having flown with my friend for the first time not too long ago, he must have muttered a total of ten words on a three hour flight. I smirked back it would not be a bad idea for him to be more vocal at work. He just shrugged and said, “that’s what the other crew members are there for.”
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http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/Virgin%20America/DSC06488.jpg
Soon thereafter the cabin door was closed and one of the flight attendants introduced the cabin crew and mentioned how delighted they were to have us onboard today. Pushback occurred six minutes early at 6:54 with the rather humorous cartoon safety video being played on all our PTV’s.

Virgin America Airbus A320 Safety Video

Once both our CFM engines were sufficiently pumping with Jet-A, we began our quick taxi to 24L which was desolate at this early hour.

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With no one else in line for take off, we started speeding down the runway almost as soon as we reached it and rocketed towards the Pacific Ocean. A couple of turns later were flying over Los Angeles headed towards the Northeast.
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The Flight: As we began to level off, the crew were released and we all started playing around with our PTV system which is affectionately known as “Red” by Virgin America.
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For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, one of the unique things about the system is the ability to order food and beverages from your seat with a swipe of your credit card. All three of us decided to order something different, but we were in for a rather rude awakening when we saw the menu options.
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As you can see from the four options on offer above, only one was a breakfast item and maybe only two fit the profile of “before 11am.” As our watches were firmly stuck on 7:25am, we just decided to bite the bullet and still take something different each. My friend in the aisle chose the yogurt parfait and a diet coke while my friend in the middle chose the steak sandwich, a cup coffee and a box of chocolate chip cookies. I picked the cheese and fruit box with a cup of tea. We all processed our orders and swiped our plastic cards almost at the same time.
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I found it interesting that when I opted for tea, it asked if I wanted sugar, half and half, lemon or to keep it plain. Within five minutes of ordering, “J” was by our side with a smile holding our food. “M” followed her a few second later with our drinks.
“We put the milk and sugar in one cup since we assumed you all know each other and wouldn’t mind sharing.”
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/Virgin%20America/DSC06523.jpg
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The yogurt parfait was pretty good according to my friend and he was happy he had chosen it. The steak sandwich was also nothing to rave about, it was cold and the meat was rather thick and chewy, certainly not worth anywhere near $9. The cheese box was again not worth anywhere near $8 and was filled with the standard processed stuff that one could find at a grocery store for 1/4th the price or even a domestic airline lounge.

This really is one of Virgin America’s weakest points. For comparison, Song (when it existed) had a vast menu with some really nice food on offer including breakfast only items such as turkey bagel sandwiches at reasonable prices. If Song could pull it off, there is not reason Virgin America can’t. Start by introducing some more breakfast items for morning flights and maybe even the possibility of selling mini pizza’s or hot sandwiches during later parts of the day. The ovens already exist onboard, so why not turn them into revenue generators? Then again that may just be the airline manager in me speaking; I have to keep in mind I don’t work for Virgin America.
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There were about 12 movie options on today’s flight, all of which cost $8 each. Not willing to pay to watch any of them, I went ahead and just flicked through the 24 live TV channels on offer. To date my luck with live TV on aircraft has never really held, with the exception of one international carrier. Naturally, Virgin America was no exception. Some channels were out of service, others had patchy screens while some would cut out at random moments in time. I tried watching “The Devil Wears Prada” on USA, but after about five minutes, this is what my screen started looking like.
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Giving up on LiveTV during the first 90 minutes of a five hour flight is never a good sign. Instead I switched over to their music selections to see what was on offer. I was ecstatic to see I could make my own playlist let alone pick from a bunch of electronic/dance music including one of my all time favorites, Paul Van Dyk. Congratulations Virgin America, your music system certainly beat out Jetblue and is in line with many premium International carriers.
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/Virgin%20America/DSC06533.jpg
I decided to order a bottle of water using “Red” again while my friend in the center seat decided he would order a second cup of coffee. Within minutes of placing our order, "J” was by our side with the drinks. We opened up the packet of cookies my friend had bought earlier and tried to savor every single morsel for as long as we could, at a $1 a cookie, it was a rather expensive junk food endeavor. Nothing to complain about though, the cookies were just like any other packet of cookies that you can buy at your local grocery store.
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After all those liquids earlier in the flight, nature was calling so I signaled my seat mates that it was time to head to the rear of the aircraft. We all reached the back of the aircraft where "J" and "M" were preparing items that were being ordered by passengers using "Red." As both bathrooms were occupied at this point in time, we all stood around trying not to get the crew's way, but no matter how hard you try, you always end up right in front of something that the crew need.
In my case I was standing in front of a mini floor level cabinet full of water bottles. "M" approached me,
"Mind if I get back there?"
"Oh sorry," was my reply.
"That’s one heck of a Boston accent you got there!"
The look on my face must have hinted to him that he just blurted out something very wrong. However before I could interject and say I have absolutely nothing to do with Boston or Massachusetts, my friend did it for me.
"He’s not from Boston, hell he’s not even from this country!"
At this point, "J" interjected;
"Oh wow! We only assumed you were because we no one even apologies for being in the way unless they are from Boston."
So began our long conversation with the "M" and "J." We talked about where we were from, what airlines each of us worked for and how we thought we would just try Virgin America for the heck of it. While we were having a great time chatting I could see the order list continue to grow, thus I excused myself into one of the now vacant lavatories.

One of the first things to hit me as I entered was the "groovy" 70's music playing. I almost felt like I was in some sort of Austin Powers re-make. The amenities in the bathroom were pretty much the same as any other domestic flight. However the soap was not infused with an overbearing scent of lemon grass and sandalwood like a certain other carrier, which I appreciate. Sometimes plain and clean is the way to go.

We all took our seats again and I started playing around with the music and map features. Suddenly all three flight attendants were by our side.
"We were talking it over in back and decided that since you did something special to fly us today, we would return the favor by doing something special for you. We are going to give you a round of drinks on the house, what would you guys like?"
To say we were surprised would be an understatement, especially when you consider the fact that none of us ever get free drinks on our own carriers. I thought about the Absinthe cocktail that was featured on all the napkins but "J" crushed that dream, "unfortunately we don't have any loaded today, you could always try on another flight."

Nonetheless our scotch, white wine and Baileys were delivered a few minutes later by "E" along with some food. "This is our cheese plate that we serve in First Class, hope you enjoy it.”
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/Virgin%20America/DSC06534.jpg
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/Virgin%20America/DSC065341.jpg
Free drinks and free food in coach on a domestic flight, could life get any better? Upon looking at the plate we noticed there were no crackers on there. However before we could say another word, "E" was back holding a bunch of crackers. I got to hand it to today’s crew, they were always one step ahead.

As we started to gorge ourselves with the free food, "J" swung by check up on us to see how things were going. She asked about our jobs and mentioned how Virgin America was trying to start flying to Chicago and Phoenix due to the large number of employees living in those two areas. She even joked with my friend in the middle seat that he should switch and become a pilot for Virgin America. The cheese plate was certainly standard fare and almost identical to the box I had bought for $8.00 earlier. However, it seemed to taste a whole lot better this time round as it was free.

Later during the flight I noticed "J" take an anti bacterial wipe and run it along all the overhead bin handles. Now I don't know if this was in response to the Swine Flu outbreak or if this was something that all Virgin America crew do. That actually put a smile on my face, glad to see Virgin America going the extra mile for us passengers.
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/Virgin%20America/DSC06539.jpg
As the flight passed by, all three of us were engaged in idle chat when “M” appeared by our side again, "I got some more stuff for you guys." Three glasses of white wine and a large packet of Chex Party Mix were placed in front of us.
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/Virgin%20America/DSC06537.jpg
We were really happy right now with all the free stuff, but sadly the engines were throttled back and the nose was lowered as we had started our descent into Boston Logan. As we descended down, all three crew members stopped by one by one to ask about how we enjoyed our Virgin America experience. All three of us answered with a resounding “it was great!”
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/Virgin%20America/DSC06540.jpg
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Arrival: All of my arrivals into Boston over the last couple of years have been during crystal clear days and today was no exception. There were some great views of Boston and the surrounding area as we flew in closer to Logan. We touched down smoothly onto runway 27, a full thirty minutes before our scheduled arrival time.
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/Virgin%20America/DSC06551.jpg
Once docked at the Virgin America gates in Terminal B, passengers started collecting their belongings and head down the aisle. As we were disembarking, the pilot was standing in front of the cabin with a smile on his face wishing everyone farewell,
“Bye, have a great day. Please come back and see us again. I mean it, my paycheck depends on it!”
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/Virgin%20America/DSC06553.jpg
With that we exited the aircraft into the terminal and headed towards our respective terminals to catch our flights home. As I was walking to my terminal, I noticed a huge Virgin America advertisement on one of the bridges connecting the terminal to the walkway.
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/Virgin%20America/DSC06554.jpg
My friend the pilot who works for the other “classy LCC” turned to me and said “I think Virgin America is my new favorite airline!” I smiled back and said, “yeah, that was definitely something unique.” We all said our good byes and headed our separate ways.

Verdict: So did Virgin America keep the rest of its promise regarding high quality service? Absolutely! Without a shadow of a doubt this was the best domestic economy flight I have ever had the pleasure of being on.

Even with the above I would like to talk about where Virgin America has room for improvement. First let’s start off with one of the aspects Virgin America should improve in, catering. More choice certainly needs to be added, especially for breakfast. The quality was also not all that great in my opinion when you consider the prices that were charged. Song for example charged less for items that in my opinion tasted a whole lot better. Here are some pictures from Song’s menu offerings and BOB for comparison.
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/Virgin%20America/DSC06567.jpg
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/Virgin%20America/DSC06568.jpg
As far as the Live TV goes, it was also another disappointment with a number of channels not working properly or cutting out during aircraft movement. To be fair this problem is not confined to Virgin America, I have experienced it on Jetblue and Delta. Hopefully over time the system becomes more reliable for Virgin America.

Now lets move on to the positive aspects of Virgin America. Not only did the seats and cabin layout look stylish, they were comfortable too. I am not a fan of leather as it causes me to get hot and sweaty after a certain amount of time. This was not the case here which made the flight very comfortable.

However in my honest opinion the airlines biggest asset is their employees. Every employee we encountered was clearly trying to win each passenger over with smiles and a positive “yes we can” attitude. It has been a long time since I have seen such positive attitudes while flying domestically in the United States. The three flight attendants we encountered were an absolute joy to fly with. They looked after everyone on the flight while going above and beyond their normal duties to please passengers. They took the initiative to do something special for the three of us when they found out we were enthusiasts and that is what sets a good crew apart from a great crew. Thanks M, J and E, you guys really left an impression on all three of us.

I may work for one of Virgin America’s biggest competitors but I am secretly rooting for them! I really hope they survive and grow as an airline. We are sorely in need of an airline that can bring the word “service” back to the US airline industry. I say go give Virgin America a try, forget about those miles, it’s worth it.

Virgin America 360
Check In: 10 (The online process was easy and the check in area really is stylish and welcoming. The white Mac screens added a classy touch)
Boarding: 10 (Boarding was called by zones and we were greeted with a smile and let onboard the jetway)
Seat: 8 (While I am not a fan of leather the seat was comfortable and looked very sleek and stylish)
Aircraft: 9 (Not the new updated Airbus interior, but still in great shape)
Food: 6 (This is VX’s weakest area in my opinion. The menu was rather limited with virtually one item suitable for breakfast)
Entertainment: 7 (There was free live TV and music, but there were a few glitches with the system)
Service: 10 (For a domestic flight they were great, constantly around the cabin and never disappeared. Two thumbs up to Jessica, Mike and Eric.)
Arrival: 10 (Smooth as silk)

Score: 70/80 = .875
Virgin America scored a 88%

29 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineTupolevTu154 From Germany, joined Aug 2004, 2186 posts, RR: 28
Reply 1, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 24233 times:

Great report! Being from outside the US the trip reports from the likes of CO, UA, AA etc don't give me any remote desire to try the airline. This however certainly does look inviting!

I'm particularly impressed by the look and feel of the cabin. I've never been in an aircraft with mood lighting, so a short haul/domestic aircraft with such a feature looks fantastic. Their interiors look excellent.

Quite surprised they charge for movies, however. But still, free coffee's and drinks I think could make up for this and at least the food looks good!



Atheists - Winning since 33 A.D.
User currently offlineBAViscount From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2004, 2338 posts, RR: 4
Reply 2, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 23947 times:



Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
Having never been a large fan of anything Virgin, (least of all Virgin Atlantic) which from my experience has failed to deliver anything remotely consistent or memorable.

Years ago VS was a trailblazer in terms of IFE etc. and was a great airline to fly with, but other airlines got wind of what they were doing and soon caught up and even surpassed their offerings. Unfortunately, IMHO (and based on my last VS flights) it seems that VS's offshoots are being favoured over the "mother lode", which seems to be taking a back seat and is falling behind other airlines.

Good that you had a great experience with Virgin America, but it would be interesting to see how your experience compares with others in the Y cabin that weren't treated to the same "favours" as you and your travelling companions.

Thanks for the report.

Andy.



Ladies & gentlemen this is Captain Tobias Wilcock welcoming you aboard Coconut Airways flight 372 to Bridgetown Barb
User currently offlineOjas From India, joined Mar 2008, 2988 posts, RR: 25
Reply 3, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 23646 times:

Amazing TR, it seems you guys were pampered a lot  wink 

The mood lighting looks amazing; So far I had a "decent" experience on DL and would put them high on my list ( have flown AA,DL,US,B6,UA)



A lion does not concern himself with the opinions of the sheep
User currently offlinePewpew320 From New Zealand, joined Mar 2009, 117 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 23569 times:

This looks amazing! One thing that has put me off flying to the US on holiday is the fact that i'd have to take painful domestic flights for 4+ hours on a cramped plane with unhappy FAs (Generalisation i know, but that's what it seems like reading other TRs!) But I'm very tempted now cause i can fly VX and it actually looks like what one should expect!

User currently offlineATLFlyer323 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 619 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 23515 times:

WOW! Great report, very fun to read! I hope to try Virgin America one day, and you just made me that much more excited! Enjoyed the report very much.

~Brandon



Everyday, the fluffy temptation of wheat!
User currently offlineRICARIZA From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 2393 posts, RR: 26
Reply 6, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 23421 times:

Awesome.. your TR answered all the questions Ive had about VX, thank you for such great TR!!!

Great pics and great stories too..!

Thanks again



I miss ACES, I am proud of AVIANCA & I am loyal to AMERICAN
User currently offlineFly2YYZ From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 1046 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 23324 times:

Such an awesome trip report! Gotta book my LAX-BOS flight soon!

User currently offlineWedgetail737 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 5950 posts, RR: 6
Reply 8, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 23167 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Great trip report! I'll get my opportunity this coming early Fall when I fly SEA-SFO.

User currently offlineBMIFlyer From UK - England, joined Feb 2004, 8810 posts, RR: 58
Reply 9, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 22481 times:

Wow, what a cool report. Big grin

Virgin America seems a huge pleasure to fly with. I'm certainly going to have to try them out  Smile

Thanks for the great read...


Lee



Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
User currently offlineDL752 From United States of America, joined Jul 2008, 174 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 22470 times:

Absolutely amazing!
Virgin America looks like a heck of an airline!
Can't wait to try them out.
DL752  Smile


User currently offlineSkyHigh777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 378 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 22329 times:

Glad to see you enjoyed your VA experience! I flew them back in April just a couple of months ago IAD-LAX-IAD and had an AMAZING experience similar to yours. I made friends with two of the three FA's on board (Eunice and Jason who were both OUTSTANDING). Got to talking to both of them and got several free alcoholic beverages and some snacks. Great flight, great airline, and I love that you can check your bag for free and have onboard entertainment. I will never fly another airline across the country as I've tried them all, and VA is consistently the best in my opinion.


Prepare for take-off.
User currently offlineAkhmad From Netherlands, joined Sep 2005, 2500 posts, RR: 53
Reply 12, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 22233 times:

I just have had an enjoyable reading of your trip report! Thank you for that! I like the way you cover the experience from the start to the finish.

I definitely agree with you that the flight crew can make the difference. Something less can flourish just because of the little extras they add.

On the other hand, if we as passenger would show some interest in the flight crew, it would not be unbecoming.

Cheers,
Suryo



Friends forever
User currently offlineMk777 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 1195 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 22220 times:

Great TR. Well documented and written report, as always.  Smile

Having flown VX not too long ago from IAD-LAX-SFO-IAD, it brought back memories. However, the crew from the IAD-LAX were totally not friendly with us. But the rest of the crew members were awesome.

The flights were on time and we were put on an earlier flight into SFO as many flights were delayed due to rwy reconstruction. The agent who checked us in at LAX, however, was very slow and took around 30 minutes to put us into the new flight. She forgot to put our kid on the new flight and then printed multiple boarding passes with the wrong names, for a moment i thought we wouldn't even make it on the earlier flight.

I agree that LAX terminal 3 is horrendous and needs a facelift.

You were lucky with the crew, having made friends with them and getting free alcoholic beverages and a cheese/cracker plate.

Inspite of our not so friendly experience with the crew, i would definitely fly them transcon again because the overall experience wasn't all that bad.

Quoting SkyHigh777 (Reply 11):
and I love that you can check your bag for free

Not anymore, its $15 now for 1 bag upto 70lbs, like other airlines.



come fly with me
User currently offlineSemsem From Israel, joined Jul 2005, 1779 posts, RR: 3
Reply 14, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 22024 times:

Problem for me is the frequent flyer program. If I were flying US domestic I would stick to CO, AA or UA

User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8589 posts, RR: 54
Reply 15, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 21963 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Great report & poctures, thanks for posting, looks like a real good flight.

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
The boarding passes that came out were rather interesting and unique. While they were printed on real thick boarding paper stock, they were half the size with a bright red back.

- Interesting, can't be cheap with all that colour being used...........

I've head good things about Virgin America, really want to give them a try one day, gotta say the food choices seemed a little poor and rather on the expensive side.

Nice to get the free drinks from the FA's, sounds like you got a great crew, just shows what a what a quick chat in the galley can do for you  Smile

Regards

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1740 posts, RR: 39
Reply 16, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 20974 times:



Quoting TupolevTu154 (Reply 1):
Great report!



Quoting Ojas (Reply 3):
Amazing TR,



Quoting ATLFlyer323 (Reply 5):
WOW! Great report, very fun to read



Quoting RICARIZA (Reply 6):
Great pics and great stories too..!



Quoting Fly2YYZ (Reply 7):
Such an awesome trip report!



Quoting Wedgetail737 (Reply 8):
Great trip report!



Quoting BMIFlyer (Reply 9):
Wow, what a cool report.



Quoting DL752 (Reply 10):
Absolutely amazing!



Quoting Akhmad (Reply 12):
I just have had an enjoyable reading of your trip report!



Quoting Mk777 (Reply 13):
Great TR. Well documented and written report, as always



Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 15):
Great report & poctures, thanks for posting,

Thank you all for your positive comments. It has been over a year since I last posted a trip report so it is good to hear that you guys still enjoy my reports.

Quoting BAViscount (Reply 2):
Years ago VS was a trailblazer in terms of IFE etc. and was a great airline to fly with, but other airlines got wind of what they were doing and soon caught up and even surpassed their offerings.

I think you give Virgin Atlantic too much credit. The soft product (cabin crew, ground staff) on VS were never at the top. What sets a mediocre airline apart from a great airline is the way you are treated in all classes, just not the premium ones. Years ago (early 90's) VS had the chance to prove just how good they were in Y and they fell flat, not once, not twice, but on three separate occasions. Flying VS coach was akin to flying a charter airline in my opinion with tight legroom, rickety old planes (742's), tiny TV dinner meals, and the rather lackluster cabin crew. Now Upper Class was a totally different story when it came to the amenities and hard product..

Quoting BAViscount (Reply 2):
but it would be interesting to see how your experience compares with others in the Y cabin that weren't treated to the same "favours" as you and your travelling companions.

The crew were constantly around the cabin smiling and talking to passengers. Remember, we only befriended the crew half way through the flight, we were still treated just like any other passenger up to that point. Even then the service was top notch when compared to the competition in the US.

Quoting SkyHigh777 (Reply 11):
I will never fly another airline across the country as I've tried them all, and VA is consistently the best in my opinion.

Glad to hear that they are winning customers with this kind of service.

Quoting Akhmad (Reply 12):
Thank you for that! I like the way you cover the experience from the start to the finish.

Thank you for your comments. I have actually written a number of trip reports over the years on airlines such as Qatar, Etihad, Korean and KLM. Let me know if you want to read any of them.

Quoting Mk777 (Reply 13):
Having flown VX not too long ago from IAD-LAX-SFO-IAD, it brought back memories. However, the crew from the IAD-LAX were totally not friendly with us. But the rest of the crew members were awesome.

Always good to hear from you. Shame to hear about the inconsistency regarding the crew.

Quoting Semsem (Reply 14):
Problem for me is the frequent flyer program. If I were flying US domestic I would stick to CO, AA or UA

As I said, I am more than willing to forget about the miles to fly Virgin America. This from a loyal flyer of two of the major airlines you mentioned above.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 15):
Nice to get the free drinks from the FA's, sounds like you got a great crew, just shows what a what a quick chat in the galley can do for you

I could not agree with you more. I always try to chat with the crew in the galley on my flights while waiting for the bathroom or stretching my legs. I have had some fantastic flights on many different airlines from around the world thanks to little chats in the galley.


User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4757 posts, RR: 25
Reply 17, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 14 hours ago) and read 20937 times:

You would havwe to twist my arm really hard to say something good about US domestic flights but.... DAMN! What a flight you've had!

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
“Come on now, I have seen parents hold boarding passes for their kids but aren’t you guys a bit too old to be doing this.”

Now I know if I visit you, I will be very well mothered.

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
Then again, having flown with my friend for the first time not too long ago, he must have muttered a total of ten words on a three hour flight. I smirked back it would not be a bad idea for him to be more vocal at work. He just shrugged and said, “that’s what the other crew members are there for.”

I always love a chatty flight deck, especially when those techincal jargons which I am familiar with.

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
For comparison, Song (when it existed) had a vast menu with some really nice food on offer including breakfast only items such as turkey bagel sandwiches at reasonable prices.

Maybe that is why they aren't around anymore?

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
One of the first things to hit me as I entered was the "groovy" 70's music playing. I almost felt like I was in some sort of Austin Powers re-make.

A little weed will not be out of place here... All that groovy flower power!

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
As we descended down, all three crew members stopped by one by one to ask about how we enjoyed our Virgin America experience. All three of us answered with a resounding “it was great!”

And I concur judging from your report. I just hope they do not become jaded in time and become another run-on-mill airline.



Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlineNZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6456 posts, RR: 38
Reply 18, posted (5 years 6 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 20222 times:

Great TR, to match the superb flight you had. I wish every flight was as good as that!

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
I found it interesting that when I opted for tea, it asked if I wanted sugar, half and half, lemon or to keep it plain

How fascinating! Lemon's never an option down here.

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
I decided to order a bottle of water using “Red” again while my friend in the center seat decided he would order a second cup of coffee

I'm sure this would save a lot of F/A calls.. Just go onto the system and press on the drink you want.. I presume it'd save time too because the F/A wouldn't have to go all the way down the aisle, find the drink and walk back up!

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
One of the first things to hit me as I entered was the "groovy" 70's music playing.

Ambience in the lavs.. One eccentric move. I guess that's what SRB's known for though, I guess!


Top notch service. It would so great if every single flight had such awesome service!

Great photos too. Thanks for sharing!

Regards,
Nicholas



It's all about the destination AND the journey.
User currently offlineDirectorguy From Egypt, joined Jul 2008, 1708 posts, RR: 11
Reply 19, posted (5 years 6 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 20184 times:

Wow...thanks for an amazing TR! You made it look like a really special experience, which it was! I don't think I have ever seen a US domestic flight look so polished, so clean, so bright. Perhaps this is the beginning of what could be a major US airline in the coming years.
Regards,
Directorguy


User currently offlineLH4116 From Sweden, joined Aug 2007, 1715 posts, RR: 18
Reply 20, posted (5 years 6 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 19344 times:

Great report there Anosh!

It was rather unusual to see a Y class report from you, since I'm rather used to reading those international J class reports of yours, which of course are some of the best on this forum. All in all, this was a nice sunday read!

The service provided by the crew on VA, seemed great, and it's quite funny how you only payed 80 bucks for the flight, and you got all that stuff for free. On the other hand, this got me thinking of something... How did the other pax seated in the rows near you guys react, when the crew came around with all the free stuff, didn't they get jealous?

Thanks for sharing, and I hope to see some more from you soon  Smile

Oh, and btw wasn't this your first report in a bit of a while IIRC?

//Jonas



SAS Plus is Business Class made faux!
User currently offlineLGA777 From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 1149 posts, RR: 19
Reply 21, posted (5 years 6 months 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 19112 times:

Great TR about a great airline. My wife and I non-reved JFK-LAS-JFK in Feb and had 2 great flights and loved the service. The flight atts where great both ways but we did not recieve any special treatment the way you did, though they treated the whole cabin great. What was special was the non-rev check-in at both ends. We arrived at JFK about 2 hours before our 8:00pm departure. At the ticket counter the agent explained that while they normally clear standbys at the gate because the flight was only 2/3's full he would go ahead and check us in now. While we where not concerned about getting on we where not sure if we would get seats together Spending that 2 hours not having to worry was nice. This was our first trip without small child since our daughter had been born 2 and a half years earlier so sitting together was really nice. The way back was even better, full A-320, we where the only standbys, flight ended up going out completely full including us. I overheard the gate agents, there where two seats open a window and middle a few rows a apart. They paged the woman seated in the window next to the open middle seat and asked if she would mind moving to another window a few rows forward, she had no problem so now we gets seats together. On a 5 hour flight it made a big differance and that little extra effort and courtsey on the part of the friendly gate agents went a long way with me.

Regards

LGA777


User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1740 posts, RR: 39
Reply 22, posted (5 years 6 months 15 hours ago) and read 18564 times:



Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 17):
Maybe that is why they aren't around anymore?

Well they are not around because Delta decided they wanted everything to branded Delta and not to detract from their own brand name and services. Thus Song still lives on today, just with a a Delta coat of paint. They still have similar prices today on the Delta domestic BOB menu.

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 17):
And I concur judging from your report. I just hope they do not become jaded in time and become another run-on-mill airline.

I certainly hope not, but time will tell.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 18):
I'm sure this would save a lot of F/A calls.. Just go onto the system and press on the drink you want.. I presume it'd save time too because the F/A wouldn't have to go all the way down the aisle, find the drink and walk back up!

I agree, it really is one of the best things about Virgin America and wish more airlines would adopt something similar.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 18):

Great photos too. Thanks for sharing!

Thank you for the compliment.

Quoting Directorguy (Reply 19):
Wow...thanks for an amazing TR!

Thank you, good to hear you enjoyed reading the report.

Quoting Directorguy (Reply 19):
Perhaps this is the beginning of what could be a major US airline in the coming years.

I am not sure how big they can really grow without getting into serious trouble financially. I do think they are a number of years away before they can be anywhere remotely close to being considered decent sized.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 20):
Great report there Anosh!

Thanks for the compliment.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 20):
It was rather unusual to see a Y class report from you, since I'm rather used to reading those international J class reports of yours, which of course are some of the best on this forum.

Thank you again. I generally don't write reports on my numerous rather standard Y class experiences, but I thought Virgin America would be something new and different.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 20):
Oh, and btw wasn't this your first report in a bit of a while IIRC?

You are right, this is my first report in over 18 months. Currently 95% of my travel is on the airline that pays my salary. As they say best not to bite the hand that feeds you.

Quoting LGA777 (Reply 21):
Great TR about a great airline.

Thanks, glad to hear you enjoyed it.

Quoting LGA777 (Reply 21):
On a 5 hour flight it made a big differance and that little extra effort and courtsey on the part of the friendly gate agents went a long way with me.

As a fellow non rev, I can appreciate your comments. Its always nice to see an airline treat non rev's well.


User currently offlineRonerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1675 posts, RR: 53
Reply 23, posted (5 years 5 months 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 16713 times:

Mr. Anosh!

Sorry for the late response! But as my favorite Trip Reporter, your reports never cease to impress me!

Just like everyone, and especially after recently flying US domestic on 2 different airlines, i am so surprised (and very happy) to that such great service in that part of the world actually exists!

Seriously! FREE FOOD on a US Carrier? When does that happen nowadays when you have to pay $15 for each suitcase you want to check?

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
Having never been a large fan of anything Virgin, (least of all Virgin Atlantic) which from my experience has failed to deliver anything remotely consistent or memorable.

Have to admit that VS isn't all that bad, just not my cup of tea. I much prefer the ultra-professional BA anytime  Smile

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
I could only be so lucky to be flying V Australia to one of my favorite places on earth.

Really? .. Don't know much about Brisbane, but if it's anything close to Sydney, then i'll definitely love it!

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
unlike the majority of the airlines in this country.

Like Delta for example! .. It is horrifying how crappy they have become!

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
sadly we headed towards the back today.

Anosh does Y class! Rare!  Smile

The last TR you did on YCL that i remember is IT! and that was quite some time ago.

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, one of the unique things about the system is the ability to order food and beverages from your seat with a swipe of your credit card.

An excellent feature! .. So is there a trolley service or is it all on demand?

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
Song (when it existed) had a vast menu with some really nice food on offer including breakfast only items such as turkey bagel sandwiches at reasonable prices.

Song was the only LCC that i liked, and actually looked forward to flying.

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
Paul Van Dyk

Too trancey  Smile ... But nevertheless an interesting availability on a flight!

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
"We were talking it over in back and decided that since you did something special to fly us today, we would return the favor by doing something special for you. We are going to give you a round of drinks on the house, what would you guys like?"

Amazing!!

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
However, it seemed to taste a whole lot better this time round as it was free.

Haha and probably because it was placed on a glass plate  Smile

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
Here are some pictures from Song’s menu offerings and BOB for comparison.

I have one of these too haha

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
It has been a long time since I have seen such positive attitudes while flying domestically in the United States.

It is very good that Virgin has brought this back to the US, and i hope that we get to see the mainlines bring this luxury back to their international flights too.

Thanks a lot for sharing! .. Hope to see more from you soon!

Regards,
Roni



A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
User currently offlineFCA767 From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2006, 1786 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (5 years 5 months 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 16597 times:

Really Nice Style of pic taking  Smile

I'm not really keen on an airline using google maps as their inflight map system...It just looks like i'm on my home computer...I like the good old normal map you get for inflight...
Google has it's place on the internet...like you don't mix Ice cream with chicken


25 JetBlue777 : Excellent trip report! Good pics and very interesting stories. VX seems to be a nice airline, thanks for sharing. I cant wait till my VX flight this s
26 JetBlue777 : the good thing about Google maps is that you'll know exactly where you are, what spcific highway, city, town etc.... Plus you'll know what airport/ai
27 FCA767 : Yes! It makes me feel like I am flying rather than on google where I'm sat at home...especially them Globe ones with day and night cues
28 OA260 : Excellent report and Id love to fly VA myself sometime. I love the whole product idea. OA260
29 A1ring23 : Hi SR 103, Thanks for writing one of the better TRs on VX on A.net! - Decent, how much are they normally? - Great feature! DJ should follow their sist
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