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Virgin America First: ORD-LAX-SFO, + Loft @ LAX  
User currently offlineIrishAyes From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 2188 posts, RR: 15
Posted (11 months 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 16374 times:

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No longer a Virgin Virgin


One of my good friends moved from Chicago to San Francisco in October 2012, so I made plans to visit him in early 2013. Circa November 2012, I found out that Virgin America was offering Elevate status matches to American and United elites, so long as we sent in our FFP # and a recent mileage account statement.

Within 10 days, I received an e-mail back from Virgin America stating that my status “flew on Virgin,” which I could enjoy until April 30, 2013 as an Elevate elite. If I earned 8,000 miles in that period, my status would be valid until the end of the year.

Although I did not make any further booking plans, I received another e-mail in mid-December notifying me I “had a license to loft” at the new Virgin America Loft @ LAX. This was part of the annual allotment that Elevate Elites receive each year. Checking out some swanky pictures, I knew that I had to take Virgin up on the offer when I flew out to SFO.

Fast forward to February, and I booked a one-way itinerary originating in Chicago flying to San Francisco, with a stop-over in Los Angeles to check out the Loft. My return was on a one-way itinerary on United. Overall fare was $200 one-way on VX, and $134 one-way return on United. Not too shabby.

My status entitled me to Main Cabin Express on the first flights out - not exactly sure what that meant. However, I had kept my eye on a chance to up-grade, and low and behold that option DID become available to me during On-Line Check-In.

For $69, a First seat was available to me on my flight from ORD to LAX. Total steal, so I went for it. I was thrilled: finally, a chance to fly on the highest-rated airline in the U.S.A. in First Class! I had to see what the hype was all about.

Check-in at ORD


ORD was in midst of an exciting summer of changes with a bunch of new airline entrants. It’s quite interesting to see the lineup at Terminal 3 now on the signage, as the list has surpassed Terminal 2 for boasting the second-longest list of carriers. Recent additions here include Air Berlin and Qatar  http://i1169.photobucket.com/albums/r517/Aviation_D/IMG_7545_zpsf7cbb4ae.jpg

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Check-in area for Virgin is just a small, 2-counter space, but per my expectations, the station is decked out with a music system. The process was fairly smooth and painless, and since I was flying First that day, my bags were checked free all the way to SFO. I got a cool little luggage tag with a priority sticker as a keepsake.

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One thing that was somewhat bothersome about the check-in, in hindsight, was that the agent did not confirm seat assignments for the flight, which I think would have been appropriate (more on that later).

One downside of flying Virgin was the lack of TSA-precheck, and security at ORD in T3 does tend to suck. Despite the hassle, I made my way to the slightly depressing “L” gates, which I’ve used thrice in the past year to fly on Alaska, WestJet and now, to lose my Virgin Virginity!

I believe Virgin only uses one gate at ORD - L3. Correct me if I am wrong. The gate area was pretty tame, without much ongoings pre-flight. The color schemes were vibrant and music was playing, but it was a subtle affair. The flight load seemed fairly light.

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[Caption] AA operates a morning departure to LHR on a 767-300 from ORD. Here she is, in all of her ugly splendor.

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First Class passengers and Elevate elites were called to board first, after passengers with disabilities and uniformed military personnel.

ORD-LAX


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Upon entering the cabin, the sight was pleasing to the eye and my initial expectations were matched with reality upon noticing the dimly-lit FCL section with mood-enhancing features and closed window shades. The seats looked comfy, although I would have preferred a slightly different color other than beige leather, which made the seats appear to be a tad worn.

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I was seated in 2A on this particular flight. Noticeably, Virgin America does not allow underseat storage in First Class, which is an anomaly compared to United and American. The FA serving our cabin that morning introduced herself as Letifah and offered my seatmate and I a beverage, and to place my hand luggage in the overhead compartment. Overall, a great first impression. Thumbs up!

The seat recline features were pretty archaic using manual control buttons as opposed to a full-spread of electronic systems, but thankfully, the recline worked fully and in its fullest mode, the pitch was pretty legit at 55 inches.

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seat in full recline

The closed window-shades option is not my cup of tea   so I released them and allowed the beautiful Chicago spring sunshine flow into the cabin. I started making small-talk with my seatmate, Cliff, a pleasant fellow around my age heading to LA to meet his girlfriend. We both had a few mutual friends (small world it is!) and were also excited for the journey ahead as Virgin Virgins, both going all-out flying F that day.

While I waited for my Mimosa (something United really needs to get on-board with, stat!) I took some time to play around with VX’s IFE system, Red. When it comes to IFE selections on a domestic flight, US fliers cannot get more spoiled than this. Full features allow customers to watch movies, shorts, listen to playlists (as well as create their own), read, msg with other passengers, shop, order ancillary items and play video games. The system moves relatively quickly without annoying commercials or advertisements and quality and quantity of films is pretty extensive.

I also like how FCL passengers have the swivel PTV function which allow them to contour the device to stay in a multitude of angles. This is particularly convenient if the passenger is working, sleeping or eating. While I didn’t delve too much into any particular film or video game, I was very impressed by the moving map functionality offered onboard VX.

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I was happy that Virgin not only offered pre-departure beverages, but also carried champers on-board. Again, I’ll reiterate that this is something United needs to bring back in domestic FCL.

The liveliness of the cabin atmosphere was palpable as Letifah made the general boarding and pushback announcements on the PA system. Customers were asked to raise their hands if they were a “Virgin Virgin” that day, which I found to be quite enjoyable, although I am not sure I would maintain fondness for this practice if I were a frequent flier with VX. Regardless, it was a nice touch, and soon we were taxiing onto the departure runway.

Take-Off and In-Flight


Since this was pre-787 clearance, the LOT SP-LRA 788 was still stranded at ORD that day, as depicted here.

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Post take-off, the crew appeared to take their time in commencing the cabin service, which is fair game for a 3.5 hour + flight. One thing I wasn’t too fond of was the purple plastic divider separating First and Main Cabin/Main Cabin select, which I thought was a bit tawdry.

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After about 20 minutes or so, Letifah returned to distribute the menus for F that day, as well as take second drink orders. I, of course, went for a second glass of chilled Mimosa, which was delivered with a smile and a plump-looking orange slice as a garnish. The drink was refreshing and hit the spot that morning. I am a huge fan of the thin glass ware VX uses in F for their drinks services.

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The menu options looked incredible today. VX is the only carrier that I have ever flown domestically that offers a printed card with the selections in the premium cabin. There were two choices, one hot and one cold, with the obvious preferable option being the Mediterranean Omelet. Here is a print out of the menu:

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Preparation for the breakfast wasn’t a quick process, but understandably, it was a lot of food and based on my expectations, presentation and taste were supposed to be paramount. I mean, this was Virgin America, after all.

The food arrived with absolutely stunning presentation. On-par with restaurant caliber. The omelet tray was served piping hot with a generous dollop of pesto, TWO potato patties, several delectable-looking sausage links and a roasted cherry tomato. Just looking at the photo as I write this makes my mouth water.

Bonus items on the tray included a Muesli dish, which featured fresh fruits, coconut, macadamia nut and vanilla yogurt mixed with rolled oats. Slightly pompous and obviously an effort to fill the sweet-tooth gap as a complement to the savory main item.

Finally, a warm moist sweet bread with cinnamon and raisins. Just heavenly. I was delighted that Virgin also provided their famous airplane salt and pepper shaker signature item on the tray.

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The omelet was delectable: the pesto added the perfect kick to the combination of spinach, feta and mushroom as they oozed out of the entree. The potatoes were cooked to perfection: crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, and the sausages contained that perfect sweet-and-savory zing with a hint of mango alongside a slightly salty stick of meat.

Finally, the muesli yogurt was more of a dessert-y item rather than purely a breakfast dish, but the innovation behind it scored major points. Virgin really outdid itself with this breakfast. Words cannot explain how amazing it was and how it puts pretty much every other carrier to absolute shame here.

After the trays were cleared, I relaxed in my seat and explored Red to a greater depth. I was pretty amused by the offering of School House Rock (anyone remember these!?) from back in the grammar school days.

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The flight continued to pass uneventfully. At one point, I got up to stretch my legs and went to the galley to chat with Letifah for a bit, which was a pleasure. I learned more about her experience with the company as a NY-based crewmember, and made sure to write a thank-you letter to VX immediately after she gave me her business card. Truly professional service. I just wish VX didn’t have such an up-hill battle against the legacy US competition.

Roughly an hour prior to landing, Letifah came by with a snack basket, which included some delicious gourmet savory items such as sea-salted caramel popcorn and pop chips. Yum.

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The rest of the flight passed uneventfully. Before long, we were on final descent into LAX and landed smoothly around 10:45 local time.

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Transfer at LAX


There are those rare moments in life when you actually WANT your flight to be delayed. Examples include having lounge access when you’re having way too much fun.

Such was the case today, due to fog and ATC delays at San Francisco. The annoying part of the delay was that nobody really knew *when* the flight would leave, as the original delay time of 1 hour kept getting extended gradually. Regardless, I had allotted 2 hours for my LAX layover in order to visit the lounge, so it appeared that I would get to enjoy it more than I had originally budgeted for!

Upon exiting the gate at LAX, I was greeted by the dumpy Virgin America terminal. Fortunately, I wouldn’t need to spend much time in the gate area thanks to the lounge situation.

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FIDS

The VX lounge is accessible on the second floor of the terminal building, and also is offered to passengers departing on Virgin Australia. Access was easy; all I had to do was show the attendant my Elevate Silver card and the e-mail notifying me I had a day pass to the lounge, and I was in!


next flights: jfk-icn, icn-hkg-bkk-cdg, cdg-phl-msp
20 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineIrishAyes From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 2188 posts, RR: 15
Reply 1, posted (11 months 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 16369 times:

Loft experience at LAX


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Few things in life are more thrilling than planespotting. It requires no security checks, no reservation, no turbulence, no seatmates, and best of all, it is available to anyone and everyone who appreciates the Power of Flight. From the second each of us realized, at a young or perhaps a mature age, the sheer joy derived from watching an aircraft in action, the marvel comes from fascination in watching these tubes bring people and places together within mere hours.

It never gets old, and it will never be taken away from us. So empowering.

I write this TR with nostalgia as I recall that afternoon in April 2013 when I simply spent hours at the LOFT at LAX watching the planes come and go. I am forever indebted to Virgin America for this experience. Perhaps my only lament is that I wish someone I knew personally was able to enjoy and appreciate this memory with me, but as I have a very introverted side to me as well, I am happy to say it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.

Aided by this was a superbly quiet lounge, albeit crowded at times - never too noisy, with pleasant staff and a plethora of food and snacks to keep me refreshed during the delays that afternoon.

To my good fortune, I arrived during the breakfast window, so I was able to sample some of the breakfast items available to customers, as well as some of the lunch items as well.

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The bar was rarely packed, if ever, and continuously had a smiling attendant ready to pour drinks at any noticed. Here is a picture of the bar and the libations menu available to customers:

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Here are some photos of the food dish items available to customers.

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Brunch snack: smoked salmon on bagel, strawberry yogurt, frittata, fruit and nuts, and a ‘Runaway Ruddy Mary’ composed of Bombay Sapphire Gin and Mix

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Lunch nibbles: assortment of fruit and cheeses, dried dates and apricots, raw tuna slices and a “jet stream spritzer” entailing white wine, tonic, and a lime wedge to wash it all down.

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Afternoon tea service/snack: chicken tortilla wrap, cheese and tomato antipesto, pasta salad, mini desserts, and a delicious, strong cafe.

The rest of the photos, however, should really just speak for themselves when it comes to spotting. I’ll let you enjoy them and live vicariously through me.

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This is where I sat for most of the afternoon

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as you can see, not too crowded

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Asiana 202, 744 arriving into LAX from ICN. Apologies for the poor iPhone quality photos

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East meets West. Asiana flew 2 daily flights to LAX that day; later 772 to follow

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Woo! ANZ “All Blacks” rugby team colour scheme on ZK-OKQ. One of 5 77Ws in the NZ fleet.

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Arriving as ANZ flight 6 into LAX; second ANZ flight from AKL, NZ2, to arrive later

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Air China LTD flight 987 arriving 1 hour late from Beijing PEK wearing the “Smiling China” livery. Did you know that CA is the only operator on LAX-PEK?? I was stunned to realize this. CA flies twice a day between the two cities.

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B-2035 was delivered to CA in 10/12. "Smiling China" as part of a joint creation by Air China and Boeing to mark the 40th anniversary of Boeing's entry into China. On the plane, there are 40 smiling Chinese faces with the intention of portraying China as a "friendly and optimistic airline."

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Thai flight 692 arriving from ICN, having started the journey in BKK. This is the 77W that replaced the Airbus A340-500/600 nonstop flight that used to fly between BKK and LAX

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B-2035 again. I still can’t get over the fact that Air China is the ONLY operator between LAX and PEK.


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AC 792 heavy, 767-300, taxiing to the runway, bound for a return flight back to Toronto just before noon.


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After a Star Alliance line of OZ, NZ, CA, TG, AC, KLM comes in to break the streak and represent SkyTeam landing as KL 601 from AMS, 37 mins behind schedule.

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KL only operated one flight that day, although in high season, peaks at 2

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My favorite airline, to date. Some day, I will fly that MD-11

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KE continues the SkyTeam momentum by stepping in and representing with its largest asset, the Airbus A380-800, as KE 17 to ICN

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But not for long! Star Alliance strikes back with Singapore Airlines arriving as SQ 12 from NRT, matching KE for the battleground at LAX. Southwest and Virgin babies look on in confusion...

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Soon to be SQ’s only connector to LAX...

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KE vs. SQ: who would win in a cage fight???

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CX rounds out with a OneWorld representation here via 77W: though not as stunning as the Airbus A380, flight 885 to HKG left 6mins early that day (and arrived 9 mins late  )

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Meanwhile, off in the distance, AF 66 from CDG arrives via A388. In the Airbus A380 battle, we now have: SkyTeam: 2, Star: 1, OneWorld: 0

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One of 2 daily flights from CDG to LAX that day (aside from AF 77 which was to come in later that day from PPT). AF #76 arrives in late evening from CDG via 772, and continues onward to Papeete, Tahiti

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I cannot believe I still have not flown the A380...

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Back to the narrowbodies: AM, WN and VX

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Smiling China makes its way back to the runway as CA 388 returning to PEK, already running 50 mins behind schedule

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Smiling or Not, I have a feeling I would not want to be caught dead on that plane...

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Aaw! It’s like a beacon from my past!! LA 601, a 763 used in lieu of the grounded 787, taxis for departure to Lima, onward to Santiago de Chile from there

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ZK-OKQ returns, although I’m not sure what she’s up to?

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KL 602 already turned, loaded and ready to make the voyage back to Schiphol. Impressive

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ANZ flight 002, from AKL, arrives via 77W. As you can tell, my delay was approaching 3 hours +

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Big vs. Little race! TG693 gears up for return voyage back to Seoul Incheon > Bangkok

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Southwest in the lead! Meanwhile, TG about to receive a tender kiss from Star partner, Air Canada, an E-190
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The mother of ALL the Virgins finally makes her presence via a classic Queen entrance: VS 7, lands from LHR 20 mins early. First of 2x daily flights to LAX that day, second is a A346 scheduled to land at 7:44 PM local time

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Oh my, a second KE 77W?

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Indeed, this is KE 11 from ICN. Looks like of the 5x flights LAX received that day from ICN (2x KE, 2x OZ, 1x TG, I had captured 4 of them

And that, my friends, wrapped up a beautiful day of spotting as I headed towards my gate to catch my flight to SFO.

LAX - SFO


I hadn’t prepared myself for what came next: I was originally ticketed in Main Cabin Select on the LAX-SFO sector, but it appeared that I had been upgraded to Main Cabin Extra for this leg. The one issue I had with this was 1). I suppose the agent hadn’t informed me, nor had I received an e-mail but 2). I was sitting in middle seat, having forgone my window selection.

Ordinarily, this wouldn’t have been a huge issue for a 50 minute flight. However, I was sandwiched between two larger gentlemen on this sector. Also, when there are ATC delays, usually, even when your flight is already very delayed, chances are there will be further delays on the ground once everyone is on board. Such was the case today.

I also wasn’t aware that MCS people are entitled to free food and bar service, but I suppose I had already had enough from the lounge to suffice.

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Frankly, leg room also felt somewhat cramped.

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http://i1169.photobucket.com/albums/r517/Aviation_D/IMG_7628_zpseb5d6769.jpg

Having no window view, I simply dozed in and out for a bit on this flight. Arrivals area in SFO is beautiful

http://i1169.photobucket.com/albums/r517/Aviation_D/IMG_7629_zps61c21d98.jpg

http://i1169.photobucket.com/albums/r517/Aviation_D/IMG_7630_zps01c125c3.jpg

http://i1169.photobucket.com/albums/r517/Aviation_D/IMG_7632_zpse72246fe.jpg

http://i1169.photobucket.com/albums/r517/Aviation_D/IMG_7633_zpsb745e0bb.jpg








Overall Impressions


Wow, is all I can say. I was blown away by my experience on Virgin. If I lived in the SF or LA area, I would become an instant convert. The service standards and amenities are head and shoulders above what you will find on the legacy competition.

However, economic realities always cannot be clouded by quality of service, awards and recognition: Virgin America still has its uphill battles to face in order to succeed in the US aviation industry. I am hoping that some of their recent ventures (i.e. expanding into markets like ANC and AUS) will bear fruit for them and they will fight their way towards long-term survival, without diluting the brand.

That said, I am lucky to have flown them, and had the fun day spotting at LAX in spite of the delays. As always, this TR took many hours to compile, but in the end, I hope it was worthwhile in order to share the memories of the journey with you readers.

Thanks, as always, for your readership and support.

Namaste,

IrishAyes



next flights: jfk-icn, icn-hkg-bkk-cdg, cdg-phl-msp
User currently offlinereadytotaxi From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2006, 3258 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (11 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 15740 times:

That was a really good TR, thanks.
How I wish that BA Club Europe was that good.The food onboard looked very tasty indeed and a great seat.
Your plane spotting looked like lots of fun to and also a great food and drink service, how plane spotting should be done.  



you don't get a second chance to make a first impression!
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3268 posts, RR: 12
Reply 3, posted (11 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 15707 times:

Great report Rohan! I've not tried Virgin America, but am currently 90% of the way to confirming a flgiht on real Virgin over to NY for January. I'm keen to get on the VIrgin bandwagon (even if only briefly).

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
For $69, a First seat was available to me on my flight from ORD to LAX. Total steal, so I went for it. I was thrilled: finally, a chance to fly on the highest-rated airline in the U.S.A. in First Class! I had to see what the hype was all about.

Great value, definately a steal

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):

Upon entering the cabin, the sight was pleasing to the eye and my initial expectations were matched with reality upon noticing the dimly-lit FCL section with mood-enhancing features and closed window shades

When I flew Little Red, I found the colours in the cabin too dim, and the mood lighting gave me a headache.

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
Here is a print out of the menu:

I'm surprised there is only 1 choice of each wine. Still, a fairly good selection of drinks

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
There are those rare moments in life when you actually WANT your flight to be delayed. Examples include having lounge access when you’re having way too much fun.

I know the feeling. My EY delay back from AUH to LHR was great as it meant I had time to have a leisurely breakfast and long shower.

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
Brunch snack: smoked salmon on bagel, strawberry yogurt, frittata, fruit and nuts, and a ‘Runaway Ruddy Mary’ composed of Bombay Sapphire Gin and Mix

Looks great. Do you order the food at the bar, or is that just stuff you put together yourself? Is everything free?

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
B-2035 again. I still can’t get over the fact that Air China is the ONLY operator between LAX and PEK.

Strange indeed. I'd have throught UA would be flying that, but then I guess they operate to SFO/ORD instead. The Chinese won't let another Chinese operator on that route.

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
Smiling or Not, I have a feeling I would not want to be caught dead on that plane...

Hmmm, I used to be very cautious of Chinese carriers internationally, but after a few excellent flights with CZ in F and J, I'd be more than happy to try out this flagship (up front of course!).



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:MAN-LHR-ARN-OSL-TOS-LYR-OSL-CPH-LHR,LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-TPE-
User currently offlineIrishAyes From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 2188 posts, RR: 15
Reply 4, posted (11 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 15062 times:

Quoting readytotaxi (Reply 2):

That was a really good TR, thanks.

Thank you! Appreciate you stopping by for a read.

Quoting readytotaxi (Reply 2):
How I wish that BA Club Europe was that good.The food onboard looked very tasty indeed and a great seat.

If only all lounges could be this awesome  
Quoting readytotaxi (Reply 2):
Your plane spotting looked like lots of fun to and also a great food and drink service, how plane spotting should be done.  

Agreed 100%. I haven't been planespotting since 2008 when I went with a group in SCL. It was nice to revisit those memories from inside a terminal at an airport like LAX.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 3):
Great report Rohan!

Thanks, bud! Always a compliment to hear kudos from people like yourself.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 3):
I've not tried Virgin America, but am currently 90% of the way to confirming a flgiht on real Virgin over to NY for January. I'm keen to get on the VIrgin bandwagon (even if only briefly).

You totally should! It's worth becoming a groupie  
Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 3):
I'm surprised there is only 1 choice of each wine. Still, a fairly good selection of drinks

Agreed. Although, I am picky about wines as-is, so I tend to avoid them before flights. Otherwise, I am groggy.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 3):
I know the feeling. My EY delay back from AUH to LHR was great as it meant I had time to have a leisurely breakfast and long shower.

Aren't the shower facilities incredible? I took two in one day last week, at IST and ORD. Kind of sad, kind of awesome  
Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 3):
Looks great. Do you order the food at the bar, or is that just stuff you put together yourself? Is everything free?

Sorry, should have mentioned that and forgot that detail: the food is actually prepared and laid out by the lounge attendants, and people just help themselves at the self-service station. ALSO: forgot to mention there was a sushi bar, but I did not get a chance to snap this photo, nor try the food.

And yes, it is all complimentary!

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 3):
Strange indeed. I'd have throught UA would be flying that, but then I guess they operate to SFO/ORD instead. The Chinese won't let another Chinese operator on that route.

I know, right?! I ordinarily feel like I am up to date on my global route data, but this one just caught me off guard. Hard to imagine that LAX-PVG is far more fragmented. Agreed that the CA protectionism by the CAAC and PRC is just whack.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 3):
Hmmm, I used to be very cautious of Chinese carriers internationally, but after a few excellent flights with CZ in F and J, I'd be more than happy to try out this flagship (up front of course!).

You're probably right, but it goes without saying, the worst Premium class seat is still better than the best YCL seat! Not that I have an impression that F/J cabins on the Chinese carriers are bad - I am sure they are splendid. I just would probably never be caught dead in a YCL seat on a packed 10-abreast 77W on a 12 hour + flight to the mainland. After I read Alex' hellish TR flying the CA 744 from FRA to PEK in Y a few years ago, I can only think, "Yiiiiiiiiiiiiiiikes."

Thanks again, brothers!



next flights: jfk-icn, icn-hkg-bkk-cdg, cdg-phl-msp
User currently offlineroberts87 From Netherlands, joined Dec 2011, 986 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (11 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 14604 times:

Great report Rohan! Virgin America looks fantastic in First class... wow! Almost like flying a long-haul flight in Business Class. And that lounge is great too, both in terms of food and drinks and in the views. Thanks for sharing!

User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1937 posts, RR: 24
Reply 6, posted (11 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 13800 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Great report, IrishAyes!

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
[Caption] AA operates a morning departure to LHR on a 767-300 from ORD. Here she is, in all of her ugly splendor.

I saw this last time I was passing through ORD.

Virgin America looks great, and definitely one of the best airlines in the US it terms of service; food looks delicious, and cabin looks great. It's no wonder they are doing well!

Best,

Matthew


User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 7, posted (11 months 4 days ago) and read 13160 times:

Hey Rohan! It's great to see another report from you. I'm planning a couple of trips to California at the moment and I really want to use this opportunity to fly VX (I'm still a Virgin virgin). Not sure if it's gonna work out but your report (and some other recent ones about VX) definitely make that desire stronger.

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
Fast forward to February, and I booked a one-way itinerary originating in Chicago flying to San Francisco, with a stop-over in Los Angeles to check out the Loft. My return was on a one-way itinerary on United. Overall fare was $200 one-way on VX, and $134 one-way return on United. Not too shabby.

Doing my own fare research online I was quite surprised to see how affordable most one-way tickets between CHI and California are. It reflects the high demand and the intense competition in these routes I guess, but I still can't get my head around the fact that it's more expensive to fly ORD-MLI than it is to fly ORD-LAX...

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
I believe Virgin only uses one gate at ORD - L3. Correct me if I am wrong.

Not sure if that's the only gate they use, but that's the only gate I've seen them use. It's not too far from the gate that AirChoice One uses (L10B). I love that little corner of ORD (despite the presence of Spirit).

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
Here she is, in all of her ugly splendor.

Painful to look at.

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
However, economic realities always cannot be clouded by quality of service, awards and recognition: Virgin America still has its uphill battles to face in order to succeed in the US aviation industry. I am hoping that some of their recent ventures (i.e. expanding into markets like ANC and AUS) will bear fruit for them and they will fight their way towards long-term survival, without diluting the brand.

Seeing how VX does business gives me hope for the future. Instead of diluting the brand I hope that they'll set the example for others to follow. Over-optimistic? Most likely. But from a pax point of view I can only hope.

I'm glad that you enjoyed your trip out west Rohan. I know you are a busy man, but I hope to see more of your reports as soon as possible!

Stojan



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlinesultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1708 posts, RR: 30
Reply 8, posted (11 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 12353 times:
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Hello IrishAyes,

Thanks for this very interesting and well written piece. It looks like Virgin America really is a ‘different’ carrier. The whole flight and ground experience looks like a funky affair. Whether that appeals to all men and women flying is another question but it certainly is a refreshing sight! Good to see as well you were able to take advantage of the upgrade and subsequent lounge visit.

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
uniformed military personnel.

Do they actually announce this as such?

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
without annoying commercials

In the USA that would really be something out of the ordinary  

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
Customers were asked to raise their hands if they were a “Virgin Virgin” that day

WFT  Wow! I would just remain still and keep my hands in my pockets   

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
the purple plastic divider

Urgh, that looks too cheap to be funky.

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
Woo! ANZ “All Blacks” rugby team colour scheme

The sexiest T7 in the universe iyam...

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
Some day, I will fly that MD-11

You better hurry then, not much time left for that.

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
And that, my friends, wrapped up a beautiful day of spotting

I really loved your descriptions with the photos you took. When not on a tight connection this kinda thing is also my favorite passtime, letting the world fly you by...

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
I was sitting in middle seat

   How could you let that happen?

Sultanils



In thrust we trust.
User currently offlineflightsimboy From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 1268 posts, RR: 4
Reply 9, posted (11 months 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 11931 times:
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Hello IrishAyes!!

I'll start off with the planespotting first.......

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
Few things in life are more thrilling than planespotting. It requires no security checks, no reservation, no turbulence, no seatmates, and best of all, it is available to anyone and everyone who appreciates the Power of Flight. From the second each of us realized, at a young or perhaps a mature age, the sheer joy derived from watching an aircraft in action, the marvel comes from fascination in watching these tubes bring people and places together within mere hours.

Planespotting for me growing up was watching aircraft leaving and arriving into KHI on the downwind for an approach from the East with binoculars!! Yes it's true. But the magical memories which are clear as day, while other things from twenty or more years ago have faded, the joy of seeing jets arriving low overhead to land from the West instead of the East, during the monsoons due to wind changes is what beats seeing any planespotting experience at any airport. The sheer delight of aircraft appearing and disappearing through low lying clouds, their blinking lights lighting up the inside of clouds as they passed through them, the entire show of light and darkness viewed from the ground was just magical. And of course during the day it was equally enjoyable...So yes "few things in life are more thrilling than planespotting"

Quoting IrishAyes (Reply 1):
It never gets old, and it will never be taken away from us. So empowering.

Plane spotting at Toronto's Pearson as well as Sydney's Kingsford Smith are still enjoyable events. Sydney has the best spotting so close to the fence!!! Unfortunately some airports especially in the US are cracking up....However, I have seen some awesome pics out of Chicago's O'Hare!!

Quoting IrishAyes (Reply 1):
Perhaps my only lament is that I wish someone I knew personally was able to enjoy and appreciate this memory with me,

Yes it is always nice to plane spot with someone............

Quoting IrishAyes (Reply 1):
but as I have a very introverted side to me as well,

But is usually best enjoyed alone........however, would be nice to spot with you someday  
Quoting IrishAyes (Reply 1):
To my good fortune, I arrived during the breakfast window, so I was able to sample some of the breakfast items available to customers, as well as some of the lunch items as well.

Glad you were able to sample all those offerings...or did you request to have it set up to take some photos?

Quoting IrishAyes (Reply 1):
My favorite airline, to date.

Believe me I feel that way even though I have yet to fly them. However for now, Malaysia Airlines is still my number one.

Quoting IrishAyes (Reply 1):
Smiling or Not, I have a feeling I would not want to be caught dead on that plane...

There are far worse carriers than Air China....

Quoting IrishAyes (Reply 1):
Smiling China makes its way back to the runway as CA 388 returning to PEK, already running 50 mins behind schedule
Quoting IrishAyes (Reply 1):
KL 602 already turned, loaded and ready to make the voyage back to Schiphol. Impressive

You know you've been spotting for a long time when you see aircraft arrive and then depart some two to three hours later...and you know it's been a full day usually seven to eight hours when you see an aircraft arrive in day and then leave at night like EK's A380s at YYZ lol

Quoting IrishAyes (Reply 1):
And that, my friends, wrapped up a beautiful day of spotting as I headed towards my gate to catch my flight to SFO.

Thanks for sharing it, and that too in style from the loft

Quoting IrishAyes (Reply 4):
I just would probably never be caught dead in a YCL seat on a packed 10-abreast 77W on a 12 hour + flight to the mainland.

What would you do on a fully loaded EY 777-300ER flight of over 14 hours with the seat in front of you reclined completely lol

And now to the flight

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
Check-in area for Virgin is just a small, 2-counter space, but per my expectations, the station is decked out with a music system.

Was Madonna's "Like a Virgin" playing at full volume

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
I got a cool little luggage tag with a priority sticker as a keepsake.

Those boarding passes seem so three dimensional

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
Customers were asked to raise their hands if they were a “Virgin Virgin” that day, which I found to be quite enjoyable, although I am not sure I would maintain fondness for this practice if I were a frequent flier with VX.

Knowing this is Richard Branson's airline and not knowing what was to follow next, I would have slunk deeper into my seat and put my head down lol

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
VX is the only carrier that I have ever flown domestically that offers a printed card with the selections in the premium cabin.

I thought they had inflight menus on the seat back videos, and one had to order meals from there?


User currently offlineAirAfreak From United States of America, joined Apr 2012, 716 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (10 months 3 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 10504 times:
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Hello IrishEyes!!

WOW! First, I have to say this is one of the first few domestic trip reports I've read here which I really enjoyed!!!

I am a virgin to Virgin America/Atlantic, etc... however, I may cheat on Delta and do something quick to experience the LOFT and the service onboard. I am a foodie and a lounge addict, so I was really impressed with the offerings at VX Loft! And that bloody mary looked quite scrumptious!

Really a pleasure to read, so thank you for taking the time to post this one! I actually perused the Virgin America website after reading your trip report! And living in Los Angeles, I usually fly from Terminal 5 (T-6, when flying to Tokyo) and I never see these wonderful aircraft spotting photo ops, ever!!!

Really terrific!!! Thanks!!!

AirAfreak =]



Do you lead an Intercontinental life?
User currently offlinejwhite9185 From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 1300 posts, RR: 4
Reply 11, posted (10 months 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 10231 times:

Hi there Rohan, nice insight to the first class cabin on Virgin America. How I wish the European carriers would do something similar on their short haul fleets. Great that you got a cheap upgrade too.

The spotting pictures at LAX bring back many memories for me. As I've mentioned in previous reports, I visited LAX many times as a child and could happily spend hours watching the many different airlines / types coming and going!

Nice that you caught VS' Birthday Girl too - now the oldest member of the entire Virgin family!



A300,A319,A320,A321,A333,A343,A346,A388,732,733,734,735,738,741,742,744,752,763,772,77W,788,Q400,DC10,E145,E170,E175,E19
User currently offlineIrishAyes From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 2188 posts, RR: 15
Reply 12, posted (10 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 9171 times:

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 5):
Great report Rohan! Virgin America looks fantastic in First class... wow! Almost like flying a long-haul flight in Business Class. And that lounge is great too, both in terms of food and drinks and in the views. Thanks for sharing!

Thanks so much, mate! It was a phenomenal trip. I knew it had to be documented as there are not many FCL reviews of Virgin out here (at least to my knowledge)

Quoting 767747 (Reply 6):
Great report, IrishAyes!

Thank you, sir!

Quoting 767747 (Reply 6):
I saw this last time I was passing through ORD.

Did you have to shield your eyes   

Quoting 767747 (Reply 6):
Virgin America looks great, and definitely one of the best airlines in the US it terms of service; food looks delicious, and cabin looks great. It's no wonder they are doing well!

It's definitely a top-tier quality airline, but whether its doing "well," per say, is a debatable topic. It depends on how you qualify it: in terms of receiving accolades, awards and praise in terms of customer satisfaction, yes. In terms of consistent financial results + profitability, network growth, fleet planning, long-term outlook, I'd say its quite the opposite. Time will tell which way the pendulum swings, but if it remains in the state its currently in, then we probably won't see it survive.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 7):
Hey Rohan! It's great to see another report from you. I'm planning a couple of trips to California at the moment and I really want to use this opportunity to fly VX (I'm still a Virgin virgin). Not sure if it's gonna work out but your report (and some other recent ones about VX) definitely make that desire stronger.

Hey Stojan! Great to hear from you. Too bad those CA trips will not produce TRs   My last-ditch effort to change your mind!

You must try out VX if you have a chance. Just jump on the opportunity to test it out, and satisfy your curiosity!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 7):
Doing my own fare research online I was quite surprised to see how affordable most one-way tickets between CHI and California are. It reflects the high demand and the intense competition in these routes I guess, but I still can't get my head around the fact that it's more expensive to fly ORD-MLI than it is to fly ORD-LAX...

It's terrible. For the airlines, that is  
Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 7):
Not sure if that's the only gate they use, but that's the only gate I've seen them use. It's not too far from the gate that AirChoice One uses (L10B). I love that little corner of ORD (despite the presence of Spirit).

LOL. I have YET to fly Spirit.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 7):
Painful to look at.

Uh-greed.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 7):
Seeing how VX does business gives me hope for the future. Instead of diluting the brand I hope that they'll set the example for others to follow. Over-optimistic? Most likely. But from a pax point of view I can only hope.

One can only hope. Unfortunately, its a tough sell. Customers want low-fares and no-frills. It's a struggle to see how VX will be able to combat that with their model.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 7):
I'm glad that you enjoyed your trip out west Rohan. I know you are a busy man, but I hope to see more of your reports as soon as possible!

Thanks so much, man. I don't have any more scheduled in the pipeline aside from smaller, less-detailed ones on Upgrd. But, I'll see what I can do!



next flights: jfk-icn, icn-hkg-bkk-cdg, cdg-phl-msp
User currently offlineIrishAyes From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 2188 posts, RR: 15
Reply 13, posted (10 months 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 9134 times:

Quoting sultanils (Reply 8):
Thanks for this very interesting and well written piece. It looks like Virgin America really is a ‘different’ carrier. The whole flight and ground experience looks like a funky affair. Whether that appeals to all men and women flying is another question but it certainly is a refreshing sight! Good to see as well you were able to take advantage of the upgrade and subsequent lounge visit.

Well thank you, Sir! It is a pleasure to have you stop by. I am glad to give you a dose of it on your side of the world! It is indeed a refreshing experience. Highly recommend trying it out next time you have the opportunity.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 8):
Do they actually announce this as such?

Indeed, as is standard for all US-flights.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 8):
In the USA that would really be something out of the ordinary  

Nope. Not in the slightest  
Quoting sultanils (Reply 8):
WFT   I would just remain still and keep my hands in my pockets  

Haha. It was meant to be in good jest, but I can see how it might be offensive to some.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 8):
I really loved your descriptions with the photos you took. When not on a tight connection this kinda thing is also my favorite passtime, letting the world fly you by...

Agreed. Thanks so much for the comments and feedback!

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 9):
Planespotting for me growing up was watching aircraft leaving and arriving into KHI on the downwind for an approach from the East with binoculars!! Yes it's true. But the magical memories which are clear as day, while other things from twenty or more years ago have faded, the joy of seeing jets arriving low overhead to land from the West instead of the East, during the monsoons due to wind changes is what beats seeing any planespotting experience at any airport. The sheer delight of aircraft appearing and disappearing through low lying clouds, their blinking lights lighting up the inside of clouds as they passed through them, the entire show of light and darkness viewed from the ground was just magical. And of course during the day it was equally enjoyable...So yes "few things in life are more thrilling than planespotting"

Hey there my friend from YYZ!

I cannot imagine how thrilling it would be to watch planes land at KHI. So lucky. It's terrible that safety and security has evolved so much to make it more challenging to do so unless you are a ticketed passenger.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 9):
Plane spotting at Toronto's Pearson as well as Sydney's Kingsford Smith are still enjoyable events. Sydney has the best spotting so close to the fence!!! Unfortunately some airports especially in the US are cracking up....However, I have seen some awesome pics out of Chicago's O'Hare!!

aHH, I need to go to SYD! YYZ i can also imagine is incredible, especially in the afternoon!

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 9):
But is usually best enjoyed alone........however, would be nice to spot with you someday  

True. I am also an introvert at heart!

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 9):
Glad you were able to sample all those offerings...or did you request to have it set up to take some photos?

Haha, no, I ate them all. I eat constantly.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 9):
Believe me I feel that way even though I have yet to fly them. However for now, Malaysia Airlines is still my number one.

Really!? Wowowow. I've never tried MH!

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 9):
There are far worse carriers than Air China....

I'm sure there are. Of the 40+ airlines I have flown, however, I've yet to find one I truly "dislike."

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 9):
You know you've been spotting for a long time when you see aircraft arrive and then depart some two to three hours later...and you know it's been a full day usually seven to eight hours when you see an aircraft arrive in day and then leave at night like EK's A380s at YYZ lol

SO TRUE!!!!

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 9):
Thanks for sharing it, and that too in style from the loft

Thank you for reading! Always a pleasure to see you here. Need to see a TR from you soon, Mr. !

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 9):
What would you do on a fully loaded EY 777-300ER flight of over 14 hours with the seat in front of you reclined completely lol

And now to the flight

I would probably struggle, big time.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 9):
Was Madonna's "Like a Virgin" playing at full volume

I wish!!

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 9):
Knowing this is Richard Branson's airline and not knowing what was to follow next, I would have slunk deeper into my seat and put my head down lol

Hah.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 9):
I thought they had inflight menus on the seat back videos, and one had to order meals from there?

Not on this segment. At least in F...



next flights: jfk-icn, icn-hkg-bkk-cdg, cdg-phl-msp
User currently offlineIrishAyes From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 2188 posts, RR: 15
Reply 14, posted (10 months 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 9119 times:

Quoting AirAfreak (Reply 10):
Hello IrishEyes!!

WOW! First, I have to say this is one of the first few domestic trip reports I've read here which I really enjoyed!!!

Thanks so much mate! Always a pleasure

Quoting AirAfreak (Reply 10):
I am a virgin to Virgin America/Atlantic, etc... however, I may cheat on Delta and do something quick to experience the LOFT and the service onboard. I am a foodie and a lounge addict, so I was really impressed with the offerings at VX Loft! And that bloody mary looked quite scrumptious!

You should! It's right up your alley!

Quoting AirAfreak (Reply 10):
Really a pleasure to read, so thank you for taking the time to post this one! I actually perused the Virgin America website after reading your trip report! And living in Los Angeles, I usually fly from Terminal 5 (T-6, when flying to Tokyo) and I never see these wonderful aircraft spotting photo ops, ever!!!

Thanks again, bud, if you live in LAX, then you should take the opportunity.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 11):

Hi there Rohan, nice insight to the first class cabin on Virgin America. How I wish the European carriers would do something similar on their short haul fleets. Great that you got a cheap upgrade too.

Hi Justin - thanks for the comments  
Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 11):
The spotting pictures at LAX bring back many memories for me. As I've mentioned in previous reports, I visited LAX many times as a child and could happily spend hours watching the many different airlines / types coming and going!

Indeed, you've done some great job covering this airport with a much nicer camera!

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 11):
Nice that you caught VS' Birthday Girl too - now the oldest member of the entire Virgin family!

Wow! Thanks for the trivia  



next flights: jfk-icn, icn-hkg-bkk-cdg, cdg-phl-msp
User currently offlineinfinit From Singapore, joined Jul 2008, 567 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (10 months 2 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 8481 times:

Thanks for the trip report. Lovely pictures and Virgin America really does seem to have a superior product in both Economy and First. SQ has now started codesharing with VX but they still don't codeshare with fellow StarA partner UA. I wonder if VX's hard and soft products was a factor in considering to codeshare with them.

Love the commentary and plane-spotting pictures at LAX :P


User currently offlineirishayes From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 2188 posts, RR: 15
Reply 16, posted (10 months 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 7819 times:

Quoting infinit (Reply 15):
Thanks for the trip report. Lovely pictures and Virgin America really does seem to have a superior product in both Economy and First.

Thank you, Infinit! I appreciate the kind words. Indeed, Virgin America has one of the best products out there!

Quoting infinit (Reply 15):
SQ has now started codesharing with VX but they still don't codeshare with fellow StarA partner UA.

The absence of a codeshare agreement between UA and SQ is very interesting, considering that there IS one between SQ and US. I'm sure someone can provide more insight into that topic.

Quoting infinit (Reply 15):
Love the commentary and plane-spotting pictures at LAX :P

Many thanks for stopping by!  



next flights: jfk-icn, icn-hkg-bkk-cdg, cdg-phl-msp
User currently offlineinfinit From Singapore, joined Jul 2008, 567 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (10 months 1 week 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 7494 times:

Quoting irishayes (Reply 16):
The absence of a codeshare agreement between UA and SQ is very interesting, considering that there IS one between SQ and US. I'm sure someone can provide more insight into that topic.

If UA and SQ were people, I picture name-calling and nasty, bitchy cat-fights  


User currently offlineadamspotter From Netherlands, joined Feb 2011, 1161 posts, RR: 3
Reply 18, posted (10 months 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 6395 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hi Rohan,

Very nice report on one of my favorite airlines in the US. Glad to see you were able to upgrade to F and enjoy 2 flights on the Virgin. Congrats on losing your Virgin virginity  
I have a few flights logged on Virgin myself in Y, I also flew them once in F from SEA-SFO. Your experience reflects mine as well. Great crew and the food was delicious.
The omelet on your flight here looks absolutely delicious, well done VX! Such a shame to see them bleed money and see those light loads. I sure hope they survive and stay in competition against the legacy carriers, they are many steps ahead  
The loft looks like a great place to relax at, looks like you got a nice spotting session done  
Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
AA operates a morning departure to LHR on a 767-300 from ORD. Here she is, in all of her ugly splendor.

Nothing wrong with that beautiful new livery  
Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
I was very impressed by the moving map functionality offered onboard VX.

You were? I think the map is quite poor!

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
sea-salted caramel popcorn

Those are to die for!!

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
My favorite airline, to date. Some day, I will fly that MD-11

You better be quick  
Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
I cannot believe I still have not flown the A380...

No worries, me neither..

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
I have a feeling I would not want to be caught dead on that plane...

Why is that?

Thanks for sharing this great experience, really enjoyed it!

cheers,

Brendan


User currently offlineabrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5090 posts, RR: 55
Reply 19, posted (10 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 5367 times:

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
Cliff, a pleasant fellow around my age heading to LA to meet his girlfriend. We both had a few mutual friends (small world it is!) and were also excited for the journey ahead as Virgin Virgins, both going all-out flying F that day.

= I was going to say something that I feel is better left off the forum  .

Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
The food arrived with absolutely stunning presentation. On-par with restaurant caliber.
Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
The food arrived with absolutely stunning presentation. On-par with restaurant caliber. The omelet tray was served piping hot with a generous dollop of pesto, TWO potato patties, several delectable-looking sausage links and a roasted cherry tomato. Just looking at the photo as I write this makes my mouth water.

Bonus items on the tray included a Muesli dish, which featured fresh fruits, coconut, macadamia nut and vanilla yogurt mixed with rolled oats. Slightly pompous and obviously an effort to fill the sweet-tooth gap as a complement to the savory main item.

Finally, a warm moist sweet bread with cinnamon and raisins. Just heavenly. I was delighted that Virgin also provided their famous airplane salt and pepper shaker signature item on the tray.
Quoting IrishAyes (Thread starter):
The omelet was delectable: the pesto added the perfect kick to the combination of spinach, feta and mushroom as they oozed out of the entree. The potatoes were cooked to perfection: crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, and the sausages contained that perfect sweet-and-savory zing with a hint of mango alongside a slightly salty stick of meat.

= I am a litte worried about these many adjectives for VX and that "TWO" potato patties can turn you on so much  .

Thanks for an excellent report on VX. I have had only 1 experience on them, and it was very very good.

Saludos,
Alex



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineCF-CPI From Canada, joined Nov 2000, 1058 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (10 months 21 hours ago) and read 5150 times:

Your trip report is a welcome appetizer to my upcoming transcon travel on Virgin America. I have flown them before, but they were simple SFO-LAX and return, back in 2011. At the time, their bubbly was something called 'Karma', which sounds like a gimmick - and was actually quite good 'straight up' -but your mimosas look grand. The food on the SFO-LAX runs in F was a simple affair - cheese and crackers with grapes, but pleasant enough considering the short flight. And let's face it, would any competitors offer the equivalent, even up front?

Based on your meal service, I am looking forward to the full spread, and pleased to know that I'll have a printed menu to take with me as a souvenir.

On my flights I was amused by the 'new age' music and the millennial feeling produced by orange and blue mood lighting, but Virgin America is one airline which presents a personality and a bit of a show, which is so rare these days. I would not decorate my condo as they have, but the break from routine and blue leather with white walls (take that, UA and DL) is fun.

Virgin America F fares can be very high, but if you shop around and fly at off times, you can find some deals. My flights are nested during the slow days near Thanksgiving and F class came a a price that is less than main cabin select at the peak times. I am just hoping they don't serve turkey! Thanks again for your magnificent report, and happy flying.


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