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A better airline? Virgin America

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  • A better airline? Virgin America

    Anyone here have any thoughts on Virgin America that should be starting service next week on the mainland? Some highlights of their service.

    - 1st US airline with mood lighting
    - 3000 MP3s on board every flight
    - Every seat has a 110V outlet, first class also has a USB and RJ-45 jack
    - You can order your food from the screen at your seat

    And so far, the prices look pretty cheap, ie. LAX-SFO is $44 OW. A little more that the interisland fare war prices but then again, the flight's longer. I wonder if they will ever plan to do a CONUS-Hawaii route?

  • #2
    Re: A better airline? Virgin America

    Originally posted by joshuatree View Post
    Anyone here have any thoughts on Virgin America that should be starting service next week on the mainland? Some highlights of their service.

    - 1st US airline with mood lighting
    - 3000 MP3s on board every flight
    - Every seat has a 110V outlet, first class also has a USB and RJ-45 jack
    - You can order your food from the screen at your seat

    And so far, the prices look pretty cheap, ie. LAX-SFO is $44 OW. A little more that the interisland fare war prices but then again, the flight's longer. I wonder if they will ever plan to do a CONUS-Hawaii route?
    Virgin America is sort of a logical extension for Branson's airline, which already flies the trans-Atlantic route as Virgin Atlantic and Australia-New Zealand/South Pacific routes as Virgin Blue, although in order to operate in the US, he can only have a minority stake in Virgin America due to our laws about American companies being owned by foreign corporations.

    I wonder how they managed to buy gate space at SFO and LAX, though. Their main competitor, JetBlue, flies into Oakland and Long Beach, which are smaller airports, in order to reduce expenses. Until their passenger hostage debacle earlier this year, JetBlue was considered the darling of the cheap fare air carriers. Right now, their cheapest fare (midweek) between OAK and Long Beach is $69. I wonder if they will get into a fare war with Virgin? JetBlue also has nice new airplanes (Airbus/Embraer). They have some nice amenities too, including free snacks and drinks and all seats are leather and are wider than normal.

    Miulang
    "Americans believe in three freedoms. Freedom of speech; freedom of religion; and the freedom to deny the other two to folks they don`t like.” --Mark Twain

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    • #3
      Re: A better airline? Virgin America

      Originally posted by Miulang View Post
      I wonder how they managed to buy gate space at SFO and LAX, though.
      I think they got some space at SFO because they decided to have the company headquarters at Burlingame which is just miles from SFO. So I'm sure the powers that be made sure the deal went through. As for LAX, I last recall small RJs and props that used some of the terminals were being evicted to the remote terminal (one has to be bused to that terminal across the tarmac, I've used it just once), so this action freed up some gates.

      It will be an interesting battle because Southwest has decided to re-enter the SFO market. Frontier airlines left. All in all, a healthy and very competitive market.

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      • #4
        Re: A better airline? Virgin America

        SWA flies into Oakland, not SFO, though, and their cheapest fare (fully refundable) is $124 OW between LAX and OAK. I do like Virgin America's website though, it's pretty neat.

        On JetBlue's website (the only airline website I've seen this information thus far), it notes that as of 12:01 tomorrow morning (8/4) TSA puts into place new security rules regarding small electronic devices like CD and DVD players, videogames and videocams. These will now have to be unpacked and inspected separately like they already do for laptops. Guess they think some terrorist is going to try to plant a bomb in a digicam.

        One new option for transpacific flying is Alaska Airlines, though. Beginning in October, Alaska will have direct flights from some West Coast cities to Lihue and Honolulu (the West Coast gateway cities are LAX and SEA), and I'm betting they'll be flying to Maui shortly thereafter.

        Miulang
        Last edited by Miulang; August 3, 2007, 06:51 PM.
        "Americans believe in three freedoms. Freedom of speech; freedom of religion; and the freedom to deny the other two to folks they don`t like.” --Mark Twain

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        • #5
          Re: A better airline? Virgin America

          Originally posted by Miulang View Post
          SWA flies into Oakland, not SFO, though, and their cheapest fare (fully refundable) is $124 OW between LAX and OAK. I do like Virgin America's website though, it's pretty neat.
          Yes but Southwest actually plans to fly back into SFO starting this fall. I see a slug fest amongst the LCCs about to occur.

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          • #6
            Re: A better airline? Virgin America

            Originally posted by joshuatree View Post
            Yes but Southwest actually plans to fly back into SFO starting this fall. I see a slug fest amongst the LCCs about to occur.
            Well if Virgin boards its passengers in an orderly manner by rows, instead of in cattle herding fashion, I definitely would pick Virgin over SWA!

            Alaska tried using the SWA method of boarding, and got so many complaints that they went back to calling passengers by rows. With SWA, the people who check in earliest also get to board earliest (they board you in 3 groups), and then it's first come first served to any vacant seat (they don't assign seats).

            Miulang
            "Americans believe in three freedoms. Freedom of speech; freedom of religion; and the freedom to deny the other two to folks they don`t like.” --Mark Twain

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            • #7
              Re: A better airline? Virgin America

              assigned seating...the only way to board in my book. That way there's no long lines at all.

              Now if they only had assigned exiting.
              Life is what you make of it...so please read the instructions carefully.

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              • #8
                Re: A better airline? Virgin America

                JetBlue now flies to/from SFO to JFK. They began a few months ago.

                I dont' think the "average" traveler knows which type of aircraft they are on, and probably goes more on price vs. amenities (mp3's on board , video at your seat etc. ). Just my guess. I still have not flown a 737 or 757 across the Pacific yet and would avoid doing so (that is just MY preference) so I would choose an airline that still flies the 767 or larger to the mainland from Hawaii. We all have our preferences, so I'm sure some would choose Virgin America or Jetblue for its offerings, but as I mentioned, the avg travelers doesn't really pay attention to those things.
                n'importe

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                • #9
                  Re: A better airline? Virgin America

                  Amenities like MP3s and video at your seat would make all the difference on narrow body planes like 737s and 757s making transpacific flights. I rode on an Aloha 737 for transpacific once. It was ok but the lack of amenities in such a small cabin really made the flight seemed dragged out.

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                  • #10
                    Re: A better airline? Virgin America

                    Someone decided to document the inaugural flight. Some cool pics of the IFE system. Didn't know there was a water bar at the back of the plane. Interesting, cabin's almost train-like.

                    http://share.shutterfly.com/action/w...8QbNHDNy5bqIDg

                    Wonder if this will up the inflight services for domestic flights?

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                    • #11
                      Re: A better airline? Virgin America

                      If you're a "seat junkie", I just found a really cool website that shows all the different seat configurations of all the planes flown by all the major airlines. It's called "Seat Guru".

                      Miulang
                      "Americans believe in three freedoms. Freedom of speech; freedom of religion; and the freedom to deny the other two to folks they don`t like.” --Mark Twain

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                      • #12
                        Re: A better airline? Virgin America

                        Jet Blue has 26? is it tv channels, so does this Virgin company's planes have that, too, or more? I like the idea of the little personal screen, too cool. Southwest has none of that, or I doubt they do and yet I've flown them more than any other airline. I do recall years ago, sorry the year isn't even vaguely still with me, that of the major five or so airlines when the industry was deep in the "red" financially speaking, Southwest was the only airline that actually made a profit that year. That spoke volumes but man! we've got more choices, now.
                        Stop being lost in thought where our problems thrive.~

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                        • #13
                          Re: A better airline? Virgin America

                          The new competition is stirring things up and a possible fare war may start o the mainland:

                          U.S. airlines likely to slash fares in response to Virgin America

                          Virgin America is offering round trip fares of $278 between New York and the West Coast. First-class round trips start at $778. Some airlines, including JetBlue Airways Corp., have already been forced to match Virgin America's economy fares, while other airlines are offering even cheaper fares.
                          Competition is good for the consumer.

                          Plan early, plan wisely. Enjoy the ride.
                          I'm still here. Are you?

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